On May 19th, we made a trip to the Audubon Louisiana
Nature Center (Zack plus 5 in the morning, only 2 could stay through the afternoon).
The site was flooded badly during Katrina; buildings are decrepit; remediation
has been done on the grounds (which total 85 acres of mixed bottomland hardwood
and swamp) such that the blackberry and tallow are not the sole plants on site,
thank goodness. That said, it was nice to have a little blackberry around...and
by that I mean the picking was extraordinary. We brought home plenty.
As for bugs, we collected a large number of pill
bugs and several greenhouse millipedes for our “rotten log” exhibit in the Insectarium’s
Louisiana Swamp gallery. We also brought in about a dozen large slugs for a
display in our Main Hall focusing on non-arthropod invertebrates. A few patent-leather
beetles and giant water bugs (Belostoma sp.) rounded out the stuff we took to
Diversity was pretty good considering what took
place on site in the late summer of 2005. A partial list is below. We found
2 juvenile wheel bugs with prey (images attached). In one instance, a ladybug
is the meal. In the other, an ironic twist as the insect being sucked on is
itself a predatory stink bug (subfamily Asopinae).
Spiders – 12 families (either web only or spider itself), including
the well-camouflaged trash-line orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) and a feather-legged
spider (Uloborus glomosus).
Dragonflies – 6 species, including the gorgeous Carolina saddlebags
Lepidoptera – lots of giant swallowtails, a gulf fritillary, a viceroy,
a grape leaf skeletonizer, and a noctuid of some sort rounded out the adults.
Larvae consisted of a few salt marsh tigers and fall web worms and one pink-striped
Hymenoptera – not much ant diversity (result of flooding?), bumble bees,
carpenter bees, honey bees, leafcutter bees, and a lot of wasps of many species
(vespids, and sphecids mostly). Someone found a sawfly larva, too.
Beetles – Here again, the lack of numbers and diversity may be partially
a post-flood result. Patent-leather beetles (more larvae than adults); many
click beetle larvae (and one adult of a smaller species); a couple of larger
bombardier beetles (Brachinus sp., I think); ladybugs; a couple of un-IDed ground
beetles; a hardwood stump borer; a nice lepturine longhorn beetle (wasp mimic,
visiting lizard’s tail).
Others of note – a two-striped walkingstick, adult spittlebugs, a pale-bordered
field cockroach (which were occasionally easy to find on grounds), lots of stink
bugs of one species a well as at least two others, some katydids, a couple of
different assassin bugs, a nice, large Tabanus atratus, only one deer fly (thank
goodness), a mercifully light load of mosquitoes, and a pair of different carne
flies (one was quite long and thin, even by this family’s standards – did not
get a close look at it).