30 March 2009

more miscellaneous Broussard musings

Aha! Spring is in the air! Breeding Tropidia sp. flies:

[above] Tiger moth sp. caterpillars (Family Arctiidae)

24 March 2009

Broussard brief, 23 March 2009

Anticipating rain for the rest of the week, Ellen and I decided to run mercury vapor last night, if only for a brief couple of hours. Not much to speak of at the sheet, except for the omnipresent Phyllophaga scarab beetles and a few of the other usual suspects. A walk down to the coulee produced several Hogna sp. wolf spiders (1st image below), numerous Acronicta oblinita (smeared dagger moth) caterpillars Ellen found (thanks to Linda "Bug Lady" Auld for the i.d.), a few Neoconocephalus triops (broad-tipped conehead, last image on right) & a remarkable site of a male Ischnura ramburii (Rambur's forktail) & a Zelus longipes (milkweed assassin bug) sharing the same perch!


21 March 2009

News From the Audubon Krewe

From Zack..... -j

OK, guys, I finally visited the Bugmuda Triangle with intent to post, but I have not logged on in forever and have no idea how to proceed. Instructions would be appreciated.

Meanwhile, here is the skinny, if someone wants to post it for me:

Audubon insect hunting update, week of March 16 – This Monday I went to Des Allemends with 4 others folks and picked up an eyed click beetle, 2 ox beetle larvae, and about 10 patent-leather beetles all in a very small amount of wood and in a very short amount of time! Then, in the rain, we got about two dozen whirligig beetles, 20 water scorpions, and 10 Belostoma (our smaller giant water bugs). Not bad work for a quick afternoon – this all took place between 2p.m. and 4:30. A note about aquatics...I usually keep them overnight in damp sphagnum moss, as they can drown in water if sloshed while driving (especially the hemipterans). But with whirligigs, on account of multiple overnight die-offs amounting to well over half the specimens, I will henceforth be keeping them in water. I do not know why the wet-plant-only approach does not work on them, but it doesn’t.

So our terrific friend and host on these Des Allemends jaunts, Gordon, began driving under street lights on Monday night and in 3 outings has collecting for us roughly 50 predacious diving beetles and 75-100 water scavenger beetles! We were very much in need of the latter – they do not survive for as long as adults as do the “PDBs” – and it is very encouraging to learn that we can come by so many so early in the year.

Last night Jayme and I set up 2 light rigs at Audubon’s Species Survival Center near Algiers. This was for the National Science Teachers Association conference. WE had 30 teachers, and we not only checked out lights but also had 2 big bins of old wood for them to root through. The evening was a success in spite of relatively low activity at the lights. Highlights as I see them include both good numbers of so-so bugs (#s being good for the guests), a few things for the Insectarium, and some rarities that are exciting on a personal level. The aforementioned includes: a small sesiid moth in the genus Synanthedon (not too colorful, but pretty neat), one Dicaelus puprpuratus, 2 small pleasing fungus beetles, several rice beetles, a few carpenter moths, a few of the aquatics beetles mentioned in the previous paragraph (PDBs & WSBs), and a few patent-leather beetles.

Oh, and while I was collecting the rotten wood, I got a queen yellow jacket who had been overwintering under bark. Third time in my life this has happened, ALL from the same exact humongous wood pile at Survival Center. And I got a spider, a cobweb weaver, just like one I found at The Farm that got me jazzed – do not know what it is! Lives under bark. Will send a pic of the older one when I can

See what I can do when I have a ½ day off?! This almost counts as a post, right?

- Zack

13 March 2009

Broussard Acrididae

I've been trying to learn the Acridid (short-horned) grasshoppers near our home here in Broussard. Being that we are surrounded by cane & hayfields, this presents an optimum opportunity. Ellen & I spent the Sunday before last teaching ourselves a method in coastal-prairie Orthopteran capture techniques. Trial & error, folks..............

Three species were captured, photographed & re-released. Thanks to JoVonn Hill of Mississippi State University for the identification of two of these.
First image: male & female Mischievous bird grasshopper, Schistocerca damnifica (Family Cyrtacanthacridinae, migratory bird locusts)

male & female Winter brown grasshopper, Amblytropidia mysteca (Family Gomphocerinae, slant-faced grasshoppers):

Northern green-striped grasshopper, Chortophaga viridifasciata (Family Oedipoinae, band-winged grasshoppers):

12 March 2009

09 is fine....

Collectively, Ellen & I have run mercury vapor lights beginninng 27 Feb.....below will be a summarization to date......unless others have more to contribute. Spring's here y'all.........git ready!!!!
Key to images (L to R): 1) Bolbocerasoma sp., 2) Phyllophaga sp., 3) Tipula sp., 4) Nezara viridula, 5) Ophion sp., 6) Apantensis phalerata, 7) Cisseps fulvicollis, 8) Prionoxystus robininae - male, 9) P. robininae - female, 10) Plutella xylostella, 11) Chauliodes rastricornis - female & 12) Chauliodes rastricornis - male.

03 March 2009

Kickoff 2009

No, unfortunately we're not talking about the 2009 New Orleans Saints season yet..........

BUT, the other night was rather warm, so Ellen and I decided to run a couple of lights to see what might be lurking about...... One mercury vapor light & one blacklight was all we needed, as we were pleasantly surprised with a nice selection of bugs given the date.

I went inside for like 7 seconds, and when I came back out, Ellen had trapped this nice harnessed tiger moth, Apantesis phalerata. (above)

After photographing it, I needed to run back inside to make sure I had fresh batteries. When I came back out...........Ellen......again.............had something bad-ass!

carpenterworm moth, Prionoxystus robiniae
After the inital moth excitement, something 'big' came in......................"Is that a dobsonfly?" asked James. Upon closer examination, no.........this was a female fishfly, Chauliodes rastricornis!!!!! We got some awesome shots of her......including one in which you can see the ocelli perfectly!

A third moth, Leucania scirpicola put in an appearance (thanks to Vernon Brou, Jr. for the i.d.!), and just posed nicely............

Not bad for February, eh? -j