Summit Metro Parks We're Your Back Yard

Insects & Spiders

Insects & Spiders in the Metro Parks

No need to be afraid; these creatures are more helpful to us than harmful. Here are just a few of the insects and spiders you could find in Summit Metro Parks:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Papilio Glaucus

The eastern tiger swallowtail is a large yellow and black tiger-striped butterfly. Its wingspan ranges from 1/8 inch to 5 ½ inches. Females may have an all-black form with visible striping.

When & Where to See it

It can be seen nectaring on flowers in all of the Metro Parks, April through September. It can also be seen flying high in the forest because the caterpillars eat the leaves of deciduous trees.

Fun Fact

The eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar has big eyespots with blue or white pupils that are meant to look like a snake looking back at a predator.

Hummingbird Clearwing Sphinx Moth

Hemaris thysbe

This moth has transparent wings and a heavy, greenish to brown body. It has black hairs on each side of ruddy brown hairs on the end of the abdomen.

When & Where to See it

Find it in sunny areas in the Metro Parks during the day, June through August, on the same flowers hummingbirds use.

Fun Fact

This moth is often confused as a baby hummingbird because it acts just like a hummingbird when it is nectaring on flowers.

Common Green Darner Dragonfly

Anax junius

This dragonfly is a little over 2 to 3 inches long with a wingspan of just over 4 inches. It has a large green thorax and blue-sided abdomen. Its head has huge compound eyes, and four flat wings stay perpendicular to the body.

When & Where to See it

It can be seen May through August over any pond looking for a mate. It will lay eggs in the water and flies over fields looking for small insects to eat. In early September, large numbers can be seen migrating together.

Fun Fact

Its compound eyes have 10,000 to 30,000 individual lenses.

Large Milkweed Bug

Oncopeltus faciastus

The large milkweed bug is brightly patterned, with an orange and black body and wings. It is about ¾ inches in length.

When & Where to See it

Spring through fall, find these bugs in meadows, fields and gardens on milkweed plants and seeds.

Fun Fact

Don’t confuse it with the smaller, similar-looking small milkweed bug (1/2 inches) or red milkweed beetle (5/8 inches with longhorn-like antennae). These bugs also use the milkweed plant along with monarch caterpillars.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Argiope aurantia

This spider has distinctive black and yellow stripes and spots on its body with silver hairs on its head. Its legs are long and black with orange, yellow or red bands.

When & Where to See it

Find it sitting in an orb web during summer in fields, meadows and gardens. Its web has a silver zigzag running up and down through the middle. A marble-sized egg sack covered with tough, brown papery silk can be found in the same vicinity as the web during fall and winter.

Fun Fact

This species of spider has three claws instead of two on each foot to handle silk threads when spinning.