Where’s Waldo?

Detail of Bucculatrix on hophornbeam bark (Centennial Woods)

Yesterday I spent a little bit of time taking photos of bark. While framing a shot of mature red oak bark I noticed a little pupa of a ribbed cocoon-maker moth, Bucculatrix (of an unknown species). I first encountered these little critters back in grad school when I noticed one on a sugar maple. Over the years I’ve spotted them in a few other places, but never really sought them out. I didn’t want this particular one in my photo so I reframed the shot, and wouldn’t you know it, right smack in the middle of the frame was another pupa!! Intrigued, I checked a nearby hophornbeam and almost immediately spotted more. I started looking and found them on every single tree I looked at that was more than 6″ in diameter. It was Baader Meinhof all over again.

It became a fun little game of “Where’s Waldo?” I thought I’d let you join in the fun from your armchair, develop a search image on your own and then you can head out into the woods and find your own Bucculatrix. So, we’ll start with some easy ones and then they’ll get harder. Good luck finding the microlepidopteran!

Click on the image below to hunt for Bucculatrix. Each photo has at least one of the pupa. Note: they get progressively harder.

Digging all this natural history content?

Become a monthly supporter on Patreon.

Be sure to check the archives for back issues.
And shoot me an email if you have an idea for a future blog post, newsletter issue, or podcast episode!

Subscribe to the Newsletter