Name Game

I am a photo of clue #9. I was discovered when photographer Dave Harp picked up a board at a former home near the Nanticoke River in Maryland. 

Here are the names of some plants and animals that are fun to say out loud. Match them with their description. Answers are below.


Fuzzy Foot

Hairy Beardtongue









1. This plant has tubular pinkish to pale-violet flowers that grow in clusters at the top of its hairy stem. A fuzzy stamen sticks out of the lower lip of the flower, which is how it got its name. It has 2– to 4-inch, lance-shaped leaves growing opposite of each other on a hairy stalk. Plant specialists have created many varieties of this wildflower that are found in nurseries. It not only attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, but is shade– and drought-tolerant. It grows well in rock gardens and cottage gardens.

2. This midsize, stocky bird roams grasslands and pastures. It is shaped like a sparrow and sings its own name. The male has a dark gray back and head with rusty shoulder patches, a bright eyebrow and breast, and a black v-shaped bib. The female is similar to the male, but paler and without the bib. It eats seeds year-round and adds insects to its diet in the breeding season. Come fall, they gather in flocks that can number in the thousands while migrating and that can grow to the millions once they reach their wintering grounds.

3. This is another word for tadpole, the larval stage of a toad or frog. In this stage, they are roundish with gills and a tail. After a while, their bodies lengthen, the tail shortens to a nub, and lungs and tiny feet have developed. Their diet also switches from algae and plants to insects and small crustaceans, and they are able to leave the water. They are then called toadlets or froglets until they become adults.

4. This is a member of the skipper family, which is usually classified as a butterfly, but is more of a cross between butterflies (active during the day) and moths (heavier bodies). This black and orange skipper has rounded,  triangular wings ranging from approximately 1 inch to 1.5 inches long. It is found in clearings or edge habitat, where it sips nectar from flowers such as common milkweed and blackberry flowers. Its caterpillars eat grasses, especially panic grasses and bluegrasses.

5. This hardy killifish, also known as a mud minnow, can tolerate pollution, low oxygen, and temperature and salinities. It can eat 2,000 mosquito larvae in one day and is used to control mosquitos in ditches and ponds. Hundreds of these fish can gather together in schools. Its name is the Native American word for “going in crowds.”

6. Is it a groundhog? Woodchuck? Marmot? This is yet another name for this large rodent that can swim and easily climbs trees to get food or escape predators. 

7. Even the Latin name for this species, which means “little dry navel,” is amusing. This small, pale orange to pale yellow mushroom has yellow/orange hairs at the bottom of its brown stalk. It starts out as a cap mushroom, but the outside of the cap gets larger as it ages and creates a depression in the center. In a wet season, this fungus can completely cover a tree stump.

8. This tree bears one of the largest edible fruits in North America. Usually found in wetter habitats, this understory tree can grow up to 25 feet high with dark shiny leaves up to a foot long. The applelike, yellow-brown fruit can grow up to 6 inches long and weigh a pound. People who are lucky enough to pick one before wildlife get to it say the creamy-textured fruit tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple and mango.

9. This lizard has a cone-shaped heads, thick neck and small feet. It moves like snakes and is often mistaken for one. It eat plants and small animals and has strong jaws that can crack the shells of beetles and snails. When an animal tries to eat it, its tails breaks off and continues to wiggle, which distracts the predator. Juvenile tails are bright blue.

10. This is the second larval stage of the blue crab. At this stage, the crab’s abdomen is getting longer, and the legs and other abdominal appendages are present. The eyes are large.

11. This grasshopper cousin looks like a green leaf, which makes it hard for predators to find it. This insect is nocturnal and often hangs out in trees — eating leaves and dead insects — which also makes it hard for us to see them. We can hear it and its kin, though. When it rubs its two forewings together, it makes a sound that resembles its name.


1. Hairy Beardtongue  2. Dickcissel  3. Polliwog  4. Hobomok  5. Mummichog  6. Whistlepig  7. Fuzzy Foot  8. Pawpaw  9. Skink  10. Megalops  11. Katydid

Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at

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