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 likely upside to this winter’s unpleasant cold snaps: Thomas Kuhar of Virginia Tech reports that 95% of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Halyomorpha halys) have been unable to survive the icy temperatures. Kevin Ambrose has the report.
Brood II of the 17-year cicada is expected to emerge in Virginia this spring.
From last summer, Joe Palca’s two-parter (one, two) about Scott O’Neill’s 20-year efforts to find a biological means to control and eventually eliminate dengue fever. I like the focus of Palca’s series: it’s not just about the newest published scientific results, it’s about the process of doing science.
“You know, I was incredibly persistent in not wanting to give this idea up,” O’Neill said. “I thought the idea was a good idea, and I don’t think you get too many ideas in your life, actually. At least I don’t. I’m not smart enough. So I thought this idea was a really good idea.”