The stunning saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea)

saddleback caterpillar late instar Acharia stimulea spines

I love finding caterpillars in our yard. It’s like an Easter egg hunt that lasts for months. And when you find a saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) you have hit the jackpot. I’ve only seen this bright green caterpillar twice. Both times it was still on the underside of a leaf, …

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Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus)

A Polyphemus month resting on a white wall

It is not every day that you come across one of the largest moths in North America. It happens to us perhaps once or twice a year. This year it was time for us to meet the caterpillar of the Polyphemus moth! We were on one of our riverside walks …

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Magnolia green jumping spider (Lyssomanes viridis)

Magnolia green jumper spider juvenile face portrait

The Magnolia green jumping spider (Lyssomanes viridis) is a small green jumping spider that can be identified by the four pairs of black dots on either side of its midline. *This article may contain affiliate links. We receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.* Do you need …

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American amber jelly fungus (Exidia crenata)

amber jelly mushroom

American amber jelly fungus (Exidia crenata) is a wood-rotting fungus that can be found year-round on hardwood branches and sticks after rains. It is common in North America and fairly easy to find. It is also known as amber jelly roll. This jelly mushroom used to be called Exidia recisa, …

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Chocolate tube slime mold (Stemonitis splendens)

chocolate tube slime on wood

Chocolate tube slime (Stemonitis splendens) is a species of mold that is typically found on fallen trees and decaying wood. We found the ones in these photos on a fallen log in our yard, but this mold can also be found growing on damp wood in houses. Chocolate tube slime …

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American Strawberry Bush Plant (Euonymus americanus)

American strawberry capsule with seeds

The American strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus) is a perennial deciduous shrub that grows in full/partial shade in deciduous woodlands, swamps, and sandy thickets in the southeastern US. Its native range goes from Florida to Texas and from New York south along the Ohio valley. These beautiful native shrubs are also …

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Oconee bell flower (Shortia galacifolia)

Oconee Bells flower

Today we braved the rain and went for a stroll inThe Botanical Gardens at Asheville, North Carolina. It was a chilly late February day, but we were richly rewarded with the first Oconee Bell flowers of the season! Normally flowering from mid-March to April, we had just come off a …

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