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Insects of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden

(excluding butterflies, moths, and dragonflies and damselflies)
Text and photos by Christine Hanrahan

Blister beetle (Epicauta fabricii) on purple vetchWe generally pay little heed to insects, other than those that have captured the popular imagination, such as bees, dragonflies, and butterflies. Yet there is a whole world of wonder to be found among the other insect orders. Howard Ensign Evans, an eminent entomologist, called his book on insects “Life on a little known planet,” and that is as good a summation as any of how we view, or don’t view, the insects around us, many of which are beneficial pollinators.

Conservative estimates put the number of known insects worldwide at somewhere around a remarkable 900,000 species. Scientists believe there are probably millions of unnamed and undiscovered insects globally.

At the Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG), we have inventoried over 270 species of insects, a mere fraction of the multitude on our 5-hectare site and a minute percentage of the insects worldwide. But they are "our" insects and we are thrilled to have them grace the garden.

We hope that this brochure will encourage you to learn more about the insects around us. Please let us know if you see any that are not on this list.

At the FWG, we don't encourage collection of anything including insects. Leave them there to get on with their lives, and give others a chance to enjoy them.

Insect watching

If you are interested in bugs, beetles and all the other types of insects in general, you don't really have to travel far to see them. Often no further than your back yard or your local greenspace.

This beautiful little bright green treehopper was on the stem of wild parsnipInsect watching, as with any aspect of nature activity, requires patience. It also pays to study up on these fascinating creatures beforehand, so that by understanding something about their ecology and life cycle, their occurrence in your area, and their status (common or rare) and seasonality, you have a better idea of when, where, and how to look.

Many insects are seasonal
Cicadas are synonymous with summer heat. Springtails or snow fleas, on the other hand, are best seen on warm winter days when they dot the snow like tiny black specks of pepper. But a surprising number of insects are present from spring through summer and even into fall. The ubiquitous bumblebee (of which there are many species), various wasps, the colourful and diverse flower or hover flies, the familiar lady beetle (a generic term for a variety of similar species), and some crickets, are all examples of insects found through several seasons.

There are many ways to watch insects
Some people prefer to use an insect net to "sweep" the vegetation and see what they catch. Others like to find a suitable looking habitat and patiently watch and wait.

  • With a good pair of binoculars, you can get excellent close up views of many insects.
  • Small plastic bottles with lids can be used to gently capture an insect for a closer look and to help in identification.
  • A hand lens is useful when you have an insect in hand, but in general most insects won't wait around for you to get nose to nose with them.
  • Digital cameras are another good way to "look" at insects. Taking macro photographs and viewing them at home on your computer screen where you can enlarge the image will reveal details you do not see with the naked eye and can help in identification.


Common pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), maleOn our inventory list, many insects have not been identified to species or even to genus. Although some insects are relatively easy to identify, most are more difficult and cannot be classified based on sight records alone. In many cases, we have written either "several species" or "3+" or "5+ species" for a particular family. This reflects the difficulty of identification. We know we have seen different species within a family, but that is as far as we’ve got thus far.

Many insects do not have common names. Only butterflies, dragonflies, and to a lesser extent moths have been given easily recognizable common names. Most other insects are known only by their scientific name. This is also why in many cases we have written the name of the family, for example, Caddisflies, followed by the number of species.

Accurate identification often means many hours looking through a microscope with technical manuals to hand. However, with experience, determination and a lot of field time, you should be able to place an insect at least into class, often into family, and sometimes into genus.

Hover fly, Possibly Criorhina sp., a bumblebee mimicMimicry
One of the most fascinating aspects of insects is their mimicry. It is also one of the things that makes identification a real challenge. Many insects mimic bees and wasps to such an astonishing extent that, it is only with experience of these insects in the field, that you can with some certainty, determine what they are. Robber flies and some hover flies, for example, are superb bumblebee mimics. Other hover flies are dead ringers for wasps. However, flies have two wings, while bees and wasps have four, although you can’t always see the four wings!

Photo at right: Hover fly, possibly Criorhina sp., a bumblebee mimic, by Christine Hanrahan.


Note: This list excludes butterflies, moths, and dragonflies and damselflies.

* Non-native species
♦ = species found only during BioBlitz 1997

♦Entomomobyidae sp.Springtail
♦Isotomidae sp.Springtail
♦Sminthuridae, 2 spp.Springtails

Ephemeroptera, 3 spp.Mayflies

For photos, see our
Mantids gallery
*Mantis religiosaEuropean mantis

*Forficula auriculariaEuropean earwig

For photos, see our
Grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids gallery
AcrididaeSpur-throated grasshoppers
Chortophaga viridifasciataNorthern green-striped grasshopper
Melanoplus bivittatus Two-striped grasshopper
Melanoplus femurrubrumRed-legged grasshopper
Melanoplus punctulatusPine-tree Spur-throated Grasshopper
GryllidaeHouse and field crickets
Gryllus pennsylvanicusField cricket
Oecanthus sp.Tree cricket
RhaphidophoridaeCamel crickets
Ceuthophilus sp.Camel cricket
TettigoniidaeShield-backed grasshoppers and their relatives
*Metreoptera roeseliiRoesel's katydid
Pterophylla sp.Katydid
Scudderia sp.?Bush katydid

For photos, see our
Bugs gallery
AlydidaeFlat-headed bugs
Alydus sp.Flat-headed bug
Aphid sp.Aphid
*Aphis neriiOleander aphid
Uroleucon helianthicolaAphid
BelostomatidaeGiant water bugs
Belostomatidae sp.Giant water bug
Clastoptera proteusDogwood spittlebug
Lepyronia coleoptrataSpittlebug
*Philaneus spumariusMeadow spittlebug
Tibicen canicularisDog-day cicada
Cicadellidae Leafhoppers
Amblysellus curtisiiLeafhopper
*Aphrodes sp. Leafhopper
Cicadellidae sp.Leafhopper
Coelidia sp. Leafhopper
Colladonus clitellariusSaddled Leafhopper
Diplocolenus sp.Leafhopper
Draeculacephala zeaeLeafhopper
*Fieberiella florii Privet Leafhopper
Graphocephala coccineaLeafhopper
Gyponana octolineataLeafhopper
Idiocerus sp.Leafhopper
Neokalla heiroglyphicaLeafhopper
Prescottia lobataLeafhopper
CoreidaeLeaf-footed bugs
Leptoglossus occidentalisWestern conifer seed bug
CynidaeBurrowing bugs
Sehirus cinctusBurrowing bug
Derbidae Planthoppers
Cedusa sp. Planthopper
Flatidae Planthoppers
Metcalfa pruinosa Planthopper
Issidae Planthoppers
Acanalonia sp. Planthopper
LygaeidaeSeed bugs
Lygaeus kalmiiSmall milkweed bug
Oncopeltus fasciatusLarge milkweed bug
Acutalis brunneaTreehopper
Campylenchia latipesTreehopper
Ceresa sp.Treehopper
Ceresa altaBuffalo treehopper
Cyrtolobus sp.Treehopper
Enchenopa binotataTreehopper
Entylia carinataTreehopper
Publilia sp. Treehopper
Smilia camelus Camel treehopper
Telamona sp.Treehopper
Telamona concavaTreehopper
MiridaePlant bugs
Lopidea mediaPlant Bug
Lygus lineolarisTarnished Plant Bug
*Megaloceroea recticornisPlant Bug
Miris dolabratusMeadow plant bug
Neurocolpus nubilusPlant bug
Poecilocapsus lineatusFour-lined plant bug
Taedia sp.Plant Bug
NepidaeWater scorpions
Ranatra sp.Water scorpion
Notonecta sp.Backswimmer
PentatomidaeStink bugs
Acrosternum sp.Green stink bug
Banasa dimidiataStink bug
Cosmopepla bimaculataTwo-spotted stink bug
Euschistus servusBrown stink bug
Pentatomidae sp.Stink Bug
Picromerus bidensPredatory Stink Bug
PhymatidaeAmbush bugs
Phymatidae sp.Ambush bug
ReduviidaeAssassin bugs and thread-legged bugs
Sinea sp.Assassin bug
Zelus sp.Assassin bug
RhopalidaeScentless plant bugs
Arhyssus sp.Scentless plant bug
Boisea trivittataBox elder bug
Harmostes reflexulusScentless plant bug
SaldidaeShore bugs
Salda sp.Shore bug
TingidaeLace bugs
Dictyla echiiLace bug

♦Thysanoptera, 2 spp.Thrips
AeolothripidaeBanded thrips
♦Aeolothripidae, 2 spp.Banded thrips
Aelothrips fasciatusBanded wing thrips

♦Trichoptera, 3+ spp.Caddisflies
LeptoceridaeLonghorned caddisflies
Triaenodes marginatusCaddisfly
HydropsychidaeNet-spinning caddisflies
Macrostemum zebratumCaddisfly

For photos, see our
Nerve-winged insects gallery
ChrysopidaeGreen lacewings
Chrysoperla sp.Common green lacewing
Climaciella brunneaBrown mantidfly

For photos, see our
Beetles gallery
BuprestidaeMetallic wood-boring beetles
Agrilus cyanescensMetallic wood-boring beetle
CantharidaeSoldier beetles
Cantharis sp.Soldier beetle
Chauliognathus pensylvanicusPennsylvania leatherwing
*Rhagonycha fulvaCommon red soldier Beetle
CarabidaeGround beetles
Carabidae sp.Ground beetle
Bembidion castorGround beetle
Brachinus sp.Bombardier beetle
Calleida punctataGround beetle
Cicindela sexguttataSix-spotted tiger beetle
Lebia soleaGround beetle
CerambycidaeLong-horned beetles
Megacyllene robiniaeLocust borer
Neandra brunneaPole borer beetle
Tetraopes tetrophthalmusRed milkweed beetle
Typocerus velutinusFlower longhorn
ChrysomelidaeLeaf beetles
Acalymma vittatumStriped cucumber beetle
Baliosus sp.Leaf-mining leaf beetle
Calligrapha californicaCalifornia calligrapher
Calligrapha philadelphicaDogwood calligrapher
Charidotella sexpunctata bicolorGolden tortoise beetle
Chrysocus auratusDogbane beetle
Deloyala guttataTortoise beetle
Diabrotica barberiNorthern corn rootworm
Disonycha sp.Leaf beetle
Donacia sp.Long-horned leaf beetle
*Galerucella calmariensisLoosestrife leaf beetle
Lema daturaphilaThree-lined potato beetle
Microrhopala excavataLeaf beetle
Plagiodera versicolora Willow leaf beetle
Plagiometriona clavata Clavate tortoise beetle
Trirhabda canadensisGoldenrod leaf beetle
Zygogramma suturalisRagweed leaf beetle
CleridaeCheckered beetles
Trichodes nutalliCheckered beetle
CoccinellidaeLady beetles
Anatis labiculataFifteen-spotted lady beetle
Brachiacantha ursinaLady beetle
Chilocorus sp.Twice-stabbed lady beetle
Coleomegilla maculataSpotted lady beetle
*Coccinella septempunctataSeven-spotted lady beetle
*Harmonia axyridisAsian lady beetle
*Hippodamia variegataVariegated lady beetle
*Propylaea quatuordecimpunctataFourteen-spotted lady beetle
Psyllobora vigintimaculataTwenty-spotted ladybeetle
Scymus sp.Lady beetle
*Cleonis pigerLarge thistle weevil
Hylurgopinus rufipesNative elm bark beetle
*Otiorhynchus raucusBroad-nosed weevil
♦ *Phyllobius oblongusEuropean snout weevil
*Polydrusus impressifronsGreen leaf weevil
Rhyssomatus lineaticollisMilkweed stem weevil
ElateridaeClick beetles
Elateridae sp.Click beetle
EndomychidaeHandsome fungus beetles
Endomychus sp.Handsome fungus beetle
HydrophilidaeWater scavenger beetles
Helophorus sp.Water scavenger beetle
Lucidota atraBlack firefly
Photinus sp.Firefly
LucanidaeStag beetles
Dorcus parallelusAntelope beetle
LycidaeNet-winged beetles
Calopteron reticulatumNet-winged beetle
MelandryidaeFalse Darkling Beetles
Dircaea liturataFalse Darkling Beetle
MeloidaeBlister beetles
Epicauta fabriciiBlister beetle
Epicautus pensylvanicaBlack blister beetle
Lytta sayiGreen blister beetle
Nemognatha sp.Blister beetle
MelyridaeSoft-winged Flower Beetles
Anthocomus sp.Soft-winged Flower Beetle*
MordellidaeTumbling flower beetles
Mordellistena sp.Tumbling flower beetle
MycetophagidaeHairy Fungus Beetles
Mycetophagus sp.Hairy Fungus Beetle
NitidulidaeSap-feeding beetles
Glischrochilus sp.Sap-feeding beetle
PhalicridaeShining flower beetles
Phalacridae sp.Shining flower beetle
PyrochroidaeFire-coloured beetles
Pedilus elegansFire-coloured beetle
ScarabaeidaeScarab beetles
Amphimallon majaleEuropean chafer
Dichelonyx sp.Scarab beetle
Macrodactylus subspinosusRose chafer
Osmoderma scabraFlower scarab
Pelidnota punctataSpotted pelidnota
Phyllophaga sp.June beetle
*Popillia japonicaJapanese beetle
SilphidaeCarrion beetles
Nicrophorus tomentosusBurying beetle
StaphylinidaeRove beetles
♦Aleocharinae sp.Obscure rove beetle
Carpelimus sp.Spiny-legged rove beetle
TenebrionidaeDarkling beetles
Bolitotherus cornutusForked fungus beetle

For photos, see our
Flies gallery
AgromyzidaeLeaf-mining flies
Agromyzidae, several spp.Leaf-miners
Chromatomyia sp.Leaf/stem miner
AnthomiidaeRoot maggot flies
♦Anthomiidae, several spp.Anthromiid flies
AsilidaeRobber flies
Asilidae sp.Robber fly
Dioctria sp.Robber fly
Dioctria baumaueriRobber fly
Dioctria hyalipennisRobber fly
Laphria janusRobber fly
BombyliidaeBee flies
Bombylius sp.Bee fly
Bombylius major Bee fly
Exoprosopa decoraBee fly
Poecilanthrax tegminipennisBee fly
Sparnopolius confususBee fly
Villa cf. alternataBee fly
CalliphoridaeBlow flies
♦Calliphoridae, several spp.Blow flies
Lucilia sp.Greenbottle fly
CecidomyiidaeGall midges
Cecidomyiidae, several spp.Gall midges
Asphondylia monachaGall midge
Rhopalomyia solidaginisGoldenrod gall midge
Schizomyia impatiensJewelweed gall midge
CeratopognidaeBiting midges
Ceratopognidae sp.Biting midge
♦Chironimidae, several spp.Midges
Stenochironomus hilarisMidge
ChloropidaeGrass flies, eye flies, and frit flies
♦Chloropidae, 4 spp.Frit flies
ConopidaeThick-headed flies
Physocephala sp.Thick-headed fly
Zodion sp.Thick-headed fly
Zodion intermediumThick-headed fly
Anopheles sp. Mosquito
Coquillettidia pertubansMosquito
DolichopodidaeLong-legged flies
Argyra albicansLong-legged fly
Argyra rogustaLong-legged fly
Chrysotus obliquusLong-legged fly
Condylostylus sp.Long-legged fly
Dolichopus albicoxaLong-legged fly
Dolichopus canadensisLong-legged fly
EmpididaeDance flies
Platypalpus sp.Dance fly
Rhamphomyia longicaudaDance Fly
EphydridaeShore flies
Hydrellia sp.Shore fly
Notiphila sp.Shore fly
Parydra sp. Shore fly
Scatella sp.Shore fly
HeleomyzidaeHeleomyzid flies
Suillia sp.Heleomyzid fly
LonchopteridaeSpear-winged flies
Lonchoptera furcataPointed-wing fly
MicropezidaeStilt-legged flies
Compsobata sp.Stilt-legged fly
MuscidaeMuscid flies
*Coenosia tigrinaMuscoid fly
Lispi sociabilisMuscoid fly
Muscina assimilisMuscoid fly
Schaenomyza litorellaMuscoid fly
MycetophilidaeFungus gnats
Orfelia sp.Fungus gnat
PhoridaeScuttle flies
♦Phoridae sp.Hump-backed fly
PipunculidaeBig-headed flies
Pipunculus sp.Big-headed fly
PlatystomatidaePlatystomatid flies
Rivellia sp.Platystomatid fly
PtychopteridaePhantom crane flies
Bittacomorpha clavipesPhantom crane fly
RhagionidaeSnipe flies
Rhagio lineolaSmall fleck-winged snipe fly
SarcophagidaeFlesh flies
Sarcophagidae, several spp.Flesh flies
ScathophagidaeScathophagid flies
Americina adustaDung fly
Scathophaga furcataDung fly
Scathophaga stercorariaGolden dung fly
SciomyzidaeMarsh flies
Tetanocera sp.Marsh fly
SepsidaeAntlike scavenger flies
Enicomira minorBlack scavenger fly
Sepsis sp.Black scavenger fly
StratiomyidaeSoldier flies
Allognosta obscuriventrisSoldier fly
Hedriodiscus sp.Soldier fly
SyrphidaeFlower flies or hover flies
Allograpta obliqua Hover fly
Chalcosyrphus curvariaHover fly
Epistrophe sp.Hover fly
Eristalis sp.Hover fly
Eristalis arbustorumHover fly
Eristalis dimidiata?Hover fly
Eristalis flavipesHover fly
Eristalis tenaxHover fly
Eristalis transversaHover fly
Eupeodes sp.Hover fly
Helophilus sp.Hover fly
Lejops lineatusHover fly
Lejops subgenus AnasimyiaHover fly
Melangyna lasiophthalmaHover fly
Paragus angustifronsHover fly
Parhelophilus laetusHover fly
Platycheirus quadratusHover fly
Somula decoraHover fly
Sphaerophoria sp. Hover fly
Spilomyia longicornisHover fly
Spilomyia sayiHover fly
Syrphus sp.Hover fly
*Syritta pipiensHover fly
Temnostoma alternansHover fly
Temnostoma balyrasHover fly
Temnostoma barberiHover fly
Toxomerus geminatusHover fly
Toxomerus marginatusSyrphid fly
TabanidaeHorse flies
Tabanus atratusHorse fly
TachinidaeParasitic flies
Cryptomeigenia simplexParasitic fly
Cylindromyia interruptaParasitic fly
Gymnosoma sp.Parasitic fly
Hemyda aurataParasitic fly
Panzeria sp.Parasitic fly
Parasetigena silvestrisParasitic fly
Winthemia quadripustulataParasitic fly
TephritidaeFruit flies
Drosophila sp.Pomace fly
Euaresta bellaFruit fly
Eurosta solidaginisGoldenrod gall fly
Eutreta noveboracensisFruit fly
Strauzia longipennisSunflower maggot
TherevidaeStiletto flies
Pandivirilia sp.Stiletto fly
TipulidaeCrane flies
Erioptera mesopthalmaCrane fly
UlidiidaePicture-winged flies
Callopistromyia annulipesPicture-winged fly
Chaetopsis sp.Picture-winged fly
For photos, see our
Bees and wasps gallery

See also Bee and wasp mimics
AndrenidaeAndrenid bees
Andrena spp.Andrenid bee
Andrena cressoniiAndrenid bee
Andrena dunningiAndrenid bee
Andrena miserabilisAndrenid bee
Andrena nasoniiAndrenid bee
Andrena rufosignataAndrenid bee
Andrena vicinaAndrenid bee
*Andrena wilkellaAndrenid bee
Apidae Cuckoo, carpenter, digger, bumble, and honey bees
Anthophora terminalis
*Apis melliferaHoney bee
Bombus sp.Bumble bee
Bombus bimaculatusTwo-spotted Bumble Bee
Bombus fervidusYellow Bumble Bee
Bombus griseocollisBrown-belted Bumble Bee
Bombus impatiensCommon Eastern Bumble Bee
Bombus rufocinctusRed-belted Bumble Bee
Bombus ternariusTri-colored Bumble Bee
Ceratina sp.Small carpenter bee
Ceratina mikmaqiMikmaq ceratina
Holcopasites calliopsidisCuckoo bee
Melissodes druriellaDigger bee
Nomada sp.Cuckoo bee
ArgidaeArgid sawflies
Arge sp.Argid sawfly
Arge coccineaSawfly
*Arge ochropaImported rose sawfly
BraconidaeBraconid wasps
Braconidae, 5+ spp.Braconid wasps
Dusona sp.Braconid wasp
ChrysididaeCuckoo wasps and their relatives
Chrysis sp.Cuckoo wasp
ColletidaePlasterer bees and yellow-faced bees
Colletes inequalisPlasterer bee
Hylaeus sp.Plasterer bee
CrabronidaeDigger wasps and relatives
Bicyrtes sp. Sand wasp
Ectemnius sp.Digger wasp
Philanthus sp.Bee wolf
CynipidaeGall wasps
Diplolepis rosaeRose gall wasp
EulophidaeEulophid Wasps
Eulophus sp.Eulophid Wasp
Formicidae, 3 spp.Ants
HalictidaeSweat bees and their relatives
Agapostemon sp.Sweat bee
Augochlora puraSweat bee
Augochlorella aurataSweat bee
Augochloropsis metallicaSweat bee
Halictus confususSweat bee
Halictus ligatusSweat bee
Halictus rubicundusSweat bee
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp.Sweat bee
Sphecodes sp.Sweat bee
IchneumonidaeIchneumonid wasps
Diplazon laetatoriusIchneumonid wasp
Ichneumonidae, 5+ spp.Ichneumonid wasps
Megarhyssa macrurusMegarhyssa wasp
Melanichneumon sp.Ichneumonid wasp
Netelia sp.Ichneumonid wasp
Ophion sp.Parasitic wasp
Orgichneumon calcatoriusIchneumonid wasp
Trogus pennatorIchneumonid wasp
LeucospidaeChalcid wasps
Leucospis affinisChalcid wasp
MegachilidaeLeafcutter bees, mason bees and relatives
*Anthidium manicatumWool carder bee
Coelioxys moestaCuckoo leafcutter bee
Coelioxys porteraeCuckoo leafcutter bee
Coelioxys rufitarsisCuckoo leafcutter bee
Heriades carinatusLeafcutter bee
Hoplitis pilosifronsLeafcutter bee
Hoplitis productaLeafcutter bee
Megachile brevis Leafcutter bee
Megachile centuncularis Leafcutter bee
Megachile frigidaLeafcutter bee
Megachile gemulaLeafcutter bee
Megachile inermisLeafcutter bee
Megachile latimanusLeafcutter bee
Megachile relativaLeafcutter bee
*Megachile rotundataLeafcutter bee
Osmia lignariaBlue orchard bee
Osmia sp.Orchard bee
PelecinidaePelecinid wasps
Pelecinus polyturatorPelecinid wasp
SphecidaeThread-waisted wasps
Ammophila proceraSphecid wasp
Chalybion californicumBlue mud dauber
Eremnophila aureonotataSphecid wasp
Isodontia mexicanaSphecid wasp
Sceliphron caementariumMud dauber
Sphex ichneumoneusSphecid wasp
Sphex pensylvanicusGreat black wasp
TenthredinidaeCommon sawflies
*Allantus cinctusCurled rose sawfly
Amestastegia pallipesViolet sawfly
Caliroa obsoletaSawfly
Dolerus nitensGrass sawfly
Eutomostethus ephippiumLawn sawfly
Kaliofenusa ulmiElm leafminer sawfly
Monophadnoides geniculatusRaspberry sawfly
TiphiidaeTiphiid wasps
Myzinum quinquecinctumTiphiid wasp
VespidaeYellowjackets, hornets and their relatives
Ancistrocerus albophaleratus?Mason wasp
Ancistrocerus unifasciatus?Mason wasp
Dolichovespula arenariaAerial yellowjacket
Dolichovespula maculataBald-faced hornet
Eumenes fraternusPotter wasp
*Polistes dominulaPaper wasp
Polistes fuscatusPaper wasp
Vespula consobrinaBlackjacket
Vespula flavopilosaHybrid yellowjacket
*Vespula germanicaGerman Yellowjacket
Vespula maculifronsEastern yellowjacket


  • Waldbauer, Gilbert. 1998. The handy bug answer book. Visible Ink Press. 308 pp.


Green lacewing (Chrysoperla plorabunda)

This page was updated on 8 July 2017
© Fletcher Wildlife Garden
Text and photos: Christine Hanrahan
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