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• Intro / Home
• Historical Neighbors
• Street and Backyard

• Park and Green Places

• Shore and Wetlands

• Salt and Freshwater

• Tiny Neighbors
• Unwelcome Neighbors
• Occasional and
  Unexpected Neighbors

• Wildlife Sighting Log
• Resources

• Hours and Tours


 Tiny Neighbors
Tiny intro | Image: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

New York City’s tiniest visible neighbors, mostly insects, often escape notice. Of the approximately one million insect and related arthropod species known worldwide, 100,000 are native to North America, where species of dragonflies and damselflies alone number some 450 (from the world’s approximately 5,000 known species). Because of such overwhelming numbers, not even skilled entomologists can pinpoint exactly how many species are to be found within the city. The small selection here includes only benign, or harmless, or, to indulge in anthropomorphism, "good" insects; cockroaches, lice, bedbugs, and other unpopular creatures are dealt with elsewhere. Some of these tiny neighbors are well known, such as the Honey Bee, Praying Mantis, "Ladybug," Widow Skimmer dragonfly, and earthworm; others, such as the preadatory ichneumon wasp Megarrhysa lunator, will be unfamiliar to many.

Although there are approximately 300,000 known beetle species worldwide, more than twice as many as the approximately 125,000 lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, illustrated books on the latter easily outnumber those devoted to beetles, and so lepidoptera predominate in this section. The reasons are simple – eye-catching wing colors and patterns, larger size, and the fluttery flight of many of these insects make them more likely to be noticed and studied, by both casual observers and enthusiasts. Zoological artists through the centuries have also been attracted to butterflies and moths, and have documented them in sumptuously illustrated entomologies of the first rank.

Check out the sighting log to record your interaction with some of the native New York City wildlife featured in Urban Neighbors. You may also browse the sighting log by animal, borough, park or natural area, and/or habitat to view a sighting you have submitted or to read others’ observations.





Eastern Tiger Swallowtail/


Ailanthus Silkmoth / NYPL


Cecropia Silkmoth / NYPL


Damselflies / NYPL


Earthworm / NYPL

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