Neonics aren’t just bad for pollinators. As Shauna Stephenson reports, aquatic invertebrates are also adversely affected, which is bad news for fish.
When I’m puzzling out the ID of a hairstreak or swallowtail, I depend on Cech and Tudor’s essential Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer’s Guide (2005). The book has one significant flaw, however: to look up a species, the index doesn’t indicate the page where the main entry appears. No boldface or italics. The index for Monarch cites 24 different pages.
So, I fixed it, in part: Index to Cech and Tudor, Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer’s Guide, main entry, by common name.
They’re coming! It’s the summer of glacier ice worms (Mesenchytraeus spp.).
Martin R. Kalfatovic says so long to Brood X with some detailed materials from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
What to do when cicadas crash your outdoor wedding? Embrace the buzz:
And remember: At the very least, cicadas make for a memorable wedding. “It was actually quite fun to lean into the cicada theme,” [Lauren] Migaki said. “My little brother wore a cicada bolo tie; our favors were cicada-shaped chocolates with caramel pop rocks; and I donned a pair of gold cicada earrings for the reception in our backyard.”
“I loved hearing the noise of them in the trees above us,” she added, “feeling like we had hundreds of wedding guests.”
Brood X has peaked, the little red-eyed guys have done what they set out to do, and they are passing away.
“When animals die they have a pretty distinct BAD smell,” wrote Paula Shrewsbury, also a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, in an email. “As part of the decay process there are a number of interactions between enzymes and microbes that result in the ‘smell of death.’ Cicadas are no different than other animals; when they die they smell bad.”
Of course Ed Yong found a different angle on the arrival of Brood X: “Cicadas Have an Existential Problem.” And a clever analogy to illustrate what’s going on.
Home football game, nice weather, and the last weekend before school starts, so the listening wasn’t that great for Team Reston for this year’s Cricket Crawl.
Heard during my 1-minute sample: Common True Katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia) and Lesser Anglewing (Microcentrum retinerve).
Kevin Munroe, with assistance from P.J. Dunn, has launched a new online project, cataloging the 65 dragonfly/damselfly species to be found in Northern Virginia. ID guides, tips on where to look, flight time calendars, field guide recommendations, and more!
A roundup of conservation and natural history links:
- A team at Towson University has launched a microsite and apps (for Android and iOS) for tracking the spread of the highly invasive Wavy-leaf Basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius).
- Janet Fang summarizes a paper by Railsback and Johnson: simulations of coffee plantation activity indicate that 5% land coverage in trees maximizes coffee yields. The overstory of trees reduces the amount of space for coffee shrubs, but it invites birds, who forage on destructive borer beetles.
- Nancy L. Brill describes the survey that a team of entomologists made of invertebrate life in 50 ordinary Raleigh, N.C. homes. The typical house was host to 100 different species of arthropod.
Several families were found in more than 90 percent of homes: gall midges (Cecidomyiidae), ants (Formicidae) and carpet beetles (Dermestidae), along with cobweb spiders (Theridiidae), dark-winged fungus gnats (Sciaridae), cellar spiders (Pholcidae), scuttle flies (Phoridae) and book lice (Liposcelididae). Most houses also had dust mites (Pyroglyphidae).
Pics and interpretation at Arthropods of Our Homes.
- Tovar Cerulli argues that hunters and non-hunters have more in common than they might think.
When clashes occur, it is all too easy to fall back on reductive notions about liberal, elite environmentalists and conservative, redneck hunters—the “greens” versus “the hook-and-bullet crowd.” With partisans on both sides invoking stereotypes and the media portraying hunters and environmentalists as opponents, it is tempting to imagine stark lines between the two.
But such divisions are too simplistic.
- An American Bird Conservancy post makes the connection between coffee farming… and hummingbirds!
- The Birding Wire picked up my profile (for Friends of the Migratory Bird [Duck] Stamp) of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
- A leader in Nature highlights a paper by Joshua J. Tewksbury et al., which calls for a revival in the practice of natural history. (I have the Tewksbury paper bookmarked but haven’t read it yet.)
As natural history has been de-emphasized, molecular biology, genetics, experimental biology and ecological modelling have flourished. But here is the problem: many of those fields ultimately rely on data and specimens from natural history….
No biology student should get a diploma without at least a single course in identifying organisms and learning basic techniques for observing and recording data about them.
Brood II of the 17-year cicada is expected to emerge in Virginia this spring.