Naturalists are never bored in a ripe patch of milkweed. All photographs here were taken in a single small area in Sterling on 2 July 2015.
Fly in the Muscidae insect family. Unable to identify to species. Help anyone?
Large numbers of bumblebees were encountered. They never complain when we disturb them; they just patiently move on to the next blossom and continue their work.
This species of paper wasp, Polistes metricus, nests in vegetation or shrubbery--hanging from the underside of a leaf for example-- as opposed to on structures.
This flower fly, Syrphus torvus, is a bee mimic and harmless, but its coloration is a protective measure meant to scare off potential predators.
We were surprised to find this Monarch caterpillar nearly grown to the stage when it will pupate, since few adult butterflies have been reported over the past few weeks.
Ubiquitous on milkweed at this time of year are red milkweed beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus). Eggs are laid on vegetation near the host plant, then the larvae drop to the ground and find their way to the milkweed roots and start feeding.
Eastern Tailed-blue, another diminutive butterfly deserving a closer look.
Unidentified small land snail. With regard to ecosystem function, shelled land snails (as opposed to slugs) are important in calcium cycling. They glean calcium from their food, concentrate it in their shells that are made mainly from calcium carbonate, and pass it up the food chain as they are consumed by predators. See Carnegie Museum of Natural History's wonderful site on snails and slugs.