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 Still and cold …

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 Little Crum Creek flows on




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Sometimes, in spring,
chelonian patience rewards a soft gaze

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as when a passing cloud unveils
the hidden carapace of an ancient turtle

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that smartly recedes from any hint of a chase.

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But then in fall, over twenty yards from the water,
a recently hatched snapper

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paused perilously at noon
underfoot on the lawn
for any to see


before proceeding at dusk, toward the brush and the trees,
and a home in the creek.






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Feeding among clusters of pending white snakeroot blooms,

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an orange assassin bug (Pselliopus barberi) proves the point of its name.





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Unlike a pipevine swallowtail, the poisonous butterfly whose appearance it mimics,
and a dark form tiger swallowtail, which it also resembles, this spicebush swallowtail
displays two rows of orange spots on the underside of its wings

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 and opens its ivory-spotted, blue black back to the sun along Little Crum Creek.



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Occasionally mowing rouses a colorful escapade before the mower’s blades,
such as the black and orange blur of a banded tiger moth’s flight,*

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which often ends with a moth wedging itself head first
between blades of grass where it lands.

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And so, briefly, I detained this one for the simple reason
of sharing the lively colors of a coming season.

*Reportedly moths of the Apantesis genus can be difficult to distinguish. But I’m winging it here and identifying this one as the banded tiger moth (Apantesis vittata) because of the solid black border of the hindwing (differentiating it from the often spotted black border of the harnessed tiger moth, Apantesis phalerata).  As always, corrections welcome!




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Though blending into the shadows over Little Crum Creek,
this dark form of the eastern tiger swallowtail stands out from the easily
identified yellow and black variety of her kind. Said to mimic
the pipevine swallowtail, whose chemistry dissuades predators,
the dark form is always female.





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The male reddish-brown stag beetle, Lucanus capreolus,
wields formidable mandibles to battle over breeding females
and sharp enough armor to impress any passerby.



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