December 30, 2009
I took a walk in the woods this month in western New York and found many little critters on top of the snow. I would appreciate any help you might be able to give in identifying. The trails are on a 600-acre wetland preserve and most of the pictures were taken in mixed woods of pine, hemlock, cherry, maple, oak, etc. that surround a very slow-moving marshy pond.
All of the pictures can be found on my blog (which links to bigger versions on Flickr): http://winterwoman.net/2009/12/23/snow-critters/
There were some spiders, too… Can you help with them?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Wetland preserve, western New York State on Dec 22, 2009
While the creatures in your photographs are all similar in that they were discovered in the snow, taxonomically (and that is how we try to organize on our website) they are unrelated. We are going to split them up and post them independently of one another. We are most curious about the first image, which is obviously a Hymenopteran, but not an ant. We did a web search of “wingless wasp in snow” and were led to a BugGuide page on Gall Wasps. Interestingly, there was an individual found in Massachusetts also walking on the snow in January 2008. It was identified as being in the family Cynipidae, but the species was not identified. Gall Wasps are most difficult to identify to the species level. The posting contained this comment from Richard Vernier: “More accurately a so-called ‘agamous’ female. Just like palaearctic Biorrhiza pallida, this winter generation contains only females, who lay eggs inside winter buds of oak-trees, after having grown-up at the roots of the same host plant.” Encyclopedia.com has a link to a UTube video of a Gall Wasp walking on the snow in Japan. We also recommend the Snow Critters web page.
Wow. You’re my hero. thanks a billion. Now I’m going to have to write a blog post about the wonderful folks over at What’s that Bug!!!
Here’s my blog post: