Reader Mark Sturtevant sent us three arthropods:
I have been taking pictures of insects with my trusty little pocket camera. This has been tremendous fun.
At first I thought these were large bumblebees, but I have since learned they are carpenter bees! This is the Eastern carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica, on hydrangea. If you want to attract swarms of pollinators all summer long, this is the plant for you!
A black swallowtail larva (Papilio polyxenes), feeding on queen Anne’s lace. Mature larvae of this species prefer to stay near the tops of their host plant to eat the flowers, making them fairly easy to spot.
OK, this is not an insect. This is the banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata). I used to play with various garden spider species for hours as a youngster, letting them crawl all over me. They were always very docile.
From Stephen Barnard, a Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni). He points out that you can see its tongue:
Finally, reader Elise sends an unknown skeleton from a tidepool in New Zealand, asking for identification:
This photo is of an intact skeleton I came across on the rocks at a beach northeast of Auckland that I couldn’t identify. My area is biomedical research in humans so I’m not very proficient in marine biology, and while admittedly I didn’t spend too much time trying to identify the skeleton a biologist friend didn’t know what it was either. If any other readers do I would be interested to know.