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Maine is home to almost 8,000 species of insects.  Some rare invertebrates, such as the Katahdin Arctic Butterfly and Roaring Brook Mayfly, are state or regional endemics – found nowhere else in the world but in Maine or a small area of the Northeast.  Read more...



Damselflies and dragonflies are very similar but dragonflies’ hind wings are slightly broader than the forewings; damselflies have both wings that are more or less similar size.  They prey on flying insects, catching them on the wing with their legs.


Presently, 158 species of damselflies and dragonflies have been documented in the state.  Twenty-five species are endangered or threatened.  For more information check out the Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey.

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Wolf spiders hunt at night and are often seen under lights. They run over the ground or on plants in search of prey and pounce upon their victims with vigor and power. They are large, usually brown and black, and may have longitudinal stripes. They frequently enter homes and backyards but pose no danger to people.


Maine has more than 300 species of spiders.  None of them are dangerous or deadly.  Fisher spiders are also known as fishing spiders or water spiders. They are amphibious and are typically found in moist areas, especially along the edges of streams and lakes. They have the ability to skate across the surface of the water and will even dive beneath the surface to feed on small fish, tadpoles and aquatic insects.

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With approximately one hundred and twenty butterfly species, Maine ranks on the lower end of the butterfly diversity spectrum for US states.  Several of Maine’s butterfly species are of regional, national, and global conservation concern. Of special note is the relatively high proportion (~20%) of Maine butterflies that are currently considered Historic or Extirpated (9 ), or state-listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern.  For more information click here.

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Water striders are rather peculiar-looking insects that are part predator and part scavenger.  Many people believe they resemble big mosquitoes or spiders walking on water.  They are also called water spiders, water skeeters, or pond skaters.  Taking advantage of the surface tension of water, they truly can ‘skate’ on it, darting this way and that way with impressive speed and quickness (upwards of 3 feet per second!).

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There are 396 species of moths in Maine.  Moths range from the beautiful Luna moth to the invasive browntail moth.  Right now, browntails are only found on the coast.  Luna moths grow 3 to 4 inches in length are are often seen hanging on the sides of building.  For pictures of Maine moths click here.

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