Quarantine Quiz #3

Here’s another quiz for your enjoyment. I hope you’re all staying safe and finding ways to remain productive and sane. My access to natural areas with few to no other people is something I’m valuing more than ever right now. I recognize how fortunate I am in that respect, but I’ve also been enjoying some photography in my yard lately – documenting the coming of spring. As readers of this blog have surely gleaned by now, there’s an awful lot of nature that can be found in small areas right in or around your home. I hope all of you have opportunities to explore your own backyard (literally or figuratively) in the coming weeks.

In the meantime – good luck with this week’s quiz! (Spoiler – I’m not even close to running out of great moth names…)

1) Choose the most accurate description of what is happening in this photo.

A. This green darner dragonfly just killed a big aquatic insect (a bog deltote) and carried it to this leaf, where it will shortly consume it, starting (as always) with the head.

B. This green darner dragonfly just killed a big aquatic insect (a gray furcula), injected it with a venom that both paralyzed and liquefied it, and then sucked out its innards.

C. This green darner dragonfly just molted and the second ‘creature’ is actually the empty exoskeleton of its aquatic larval form. Somehow, that dragonfly, wings and all, broke out of that shell, unfolded itself, and will soon fly off as a newly emerged adult.

E. The pink-flowered smartweed in the background is responding to variable water levels that prevent the establishment of perennial vegetation and is flourishing as an annual plant in the absence of competition from long-lived grasses and sedges.

F. What happened to D?


2) Which of the below creatures are moths and which are butterflies?

A. A and B are butterflies. C is a moth.

B. A is a butterfly. B and C are moths.

C. A and C are butterflies. B is a moth.

D. These are all butterflies.

E. All these letters are confusing. You should have numbered the animals instead of lettering them, you doofus…


3) Which of the following is NOT an actual name of a moth species?

A. Canadian Giant

B. Cinnamon Sunrise

C. Western Carpet

D. Swag-lined Wave


4) What is the flowering plant shown below?

A. Ragwort (its genus, Packera, was chosen because it packs so many blossoms into a tight space.)

B. Dodder (this is a parasitic plant that wound itself around its host.)

C. Spirogyra (named for its spiral-shaped flowering heads, which lengthen over its several weeks of blooming time each year.)

D. Plants can’t be parasites.

E. Wait, is it ‘spirogyra’ or ‘spyrogira’? You know how sometimes you write a word that you’ve known for a long time but it suddenly looks like its spelled wrong? Good grief. And don’t even get me started on ‘micorrhizae’, which I have to look up EVERY TIME.


5) One of the following is the common name of a moth, one is a mushroom, and one is a seashell. Label them correctly.

A. Artist’s Conk

B. Sparse Dove

C. Elegant Prominent


6) What would be the best name for this invertebrate, given the kind of invertebrate it is?

A. Aunt Bee (Ant Bea?)

B. Leafhopper Ericson

C. Bug McGraw

D. Weevil Knievel

E. Tick Springfield

F. Dennis Hopper

G. Insert a better name here_____________________________


7) Which of these is NOT the actual name of a moth species?

A. Dotted Sallow

B. Red Twin-spot

C. Speckled Bun

D. Ursula Wainscot


8) What’s the deal with the spiky balls on this wild rose plant?

A. They are insect-formed galls.

B. They are fruits.

C. They are a fungal infection. Once they mature, they will dry, split open, and release millions of spores into the air.

D. They are really weird leaves.

E. A blockage formed in the xylem of the plant, increasing pressure in the stem, and that pressure caused these ‘bubbles’ to form in the thorny stem.

F. WINONA SPIDER!!! How did I miss Winona Spider??!


9) What do you call an insect that jumps over cups?

A. Huh??

B. A glasshopper

C. Oh… It’s a joke.

D Good one.


Answers below:







  1. Technically, both C and E are correct. A and B are obviously wrong because the names of the ‘aquatic insects’ in those answers are actually the names of moths (that’s absolutely true.)
  2. C and E are both correct. The easiest way to tell moths from butterflies is usually to look at the antennae. Butterflies have long skinny antennae with little knobs at the tips. Moths tend to have ‘fuzzy’ antennae, though sometimes they are skinny enough that it’s hard to tell. However, moths don’t have little knobs at the tips of their antennae. (I had this wrong in an earlier version, by the way, but C is the best answer.)
  3. B.
  4. B. Dodder is a really cool parasitic plant, though there are a number of different species of dodder, and some are also crop pests. You may have seen this plant and not realized what it is because it often looks like a mass of orange plastic twine tangled up in the vegetation. Hubbard Fellow Mary Parr wrote a post about it last year.
  5. Elegant Prominent is the moth, Artist’s Conk is the mushroom, and Sparse Dove is the seashell.
  6. Since the pictured invertebrate is a weevil, D is probably the right answer here, but if you come up with a funnier invertebrate name pun, you can count it instead. (Share good ones in the comment section please!)
  7. C.
  8. A. Read more about them here.
  9. Hardee har har

Be safe, friends.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

14 thoughts on “Quarantine Quiz #3

  1. I think you have the answer to #2 wrong….it should be C and E…..C of C is a skipper not a moth as you say in B. Whatever, the quiz is a fun distraction in the time of Corona.

      • Just to further muddy the waters taxonomically skippers are not true butterflies either. Thanks for the fun quiz and great pics.

  2. thank you for taking the time and effort to put this together. Very entertaining and accidentally educational in places.

  3. Good one, Chris! Glad you’re having fun. -Stephanie in southwestern Wisconsin

    On Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 7:37 AM The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: ” Here’s another quiz for your enjoyment. I hope > you’re all staying safe and finding ways to remain productive and sane. My > access to natural areas with few to no other people is something I’m > valuing more than ever right now. I recognize how fortunate ” >


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