2019 Bioblitz

by Carl A. Strang

Each year the Indiana Academy of Science co-hosts a bioblitz somewhere in that state. This year’s site was The Center at Donaldson, which includes a retreat center and Ancilla College, plus surrounding properties. I always take the singing insects in this annual 24-hour count of species, but no one came to cover Lepidoptera or Odonata in 2019, so I appended them to my commitment. That is just as well, because these events are scheduled early enough in the season that few singing insects have reached the adult stage.

Some Roesel’s katydids matured in time for the bioblitz.

Two of the five singing insect species I found were common early species that were nearly finished, two were common mid-season species recently coming into song, and one of them provided an observation of significance. The eastern striped cricket is thinly scattered in northwest Indiana, possibly expanding into that region from the south or west. A single male singing in the evening provided a Marshall County record, a full county’s width farther east than I have observed them before.

I enjoyed re-acquainting myself with the beauty of dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and moths, and photographed many of them.

The widow skimmer was the most abundant dragonfly.

Most of the eastern or common pondhawks still were green. Males will change to blue over time.

The Halloween pennant pleases the eye.

There weren’t many damselflies. Here, a blue-fronted dancer.

Newly emerged eastern forktail females are orange.

A few monarchs graced the grounds.

There were many great spangled fritillaries, plus this meadow fritillary.

I encountered a few moths during the day, but most came to my ultraviolet light setup in the forest, or the Purdue team’s assorted bright lights in the open. Moths are underappreciated for their beauty, diversity, and ecological significance.

Large lace-border, Scopula limboundata

Reversed haploa, Haploa reversa

Painted lichen moth, Hypoprepia fucosa

Delicate cycnia, Cycnia tenera

Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia Isabella

Imperial moth, Eacles imperialis

Hermit sphinx, Lintneria eremitus

Snowy-shouldered acleris, Acleris nivisellana

Oblique-banded leafroller, Choristoneura rosaceana

Grape leaffolder, Desmia funeralis

Grape plume moth, Geina periscelidactylus

Large maple spanworm, Prochoerodes lineola

Lesser maple spanworm, Macaria pustularia

Small engrailed, Ectropis crepuscularia

Ovate dagger, Acronicta ovata

Pink-barred pseudostrotia, Pseudostrotia carneola

The Hebrew, Polygrammate hebraeicum

The brother, Raphia frater

Along the way I encountered a few other species to add to the species count.

Narrow-winged grasshoppers were common on the bioblitz base camp’s sandy hill.

A Pennsylvania wood cockroach came to the UV light.

The light also drew this striking summer fishfly.

 

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Moths, Maybe

by Carl Strang

The Indiana bioblitzes always seem to take place so early in the season that there is little singing insect action for me to document. I always learn something, but I feel that I want to make a larger contribution. I photographed some moths drawn to the Purdue team’s lights at Eagle Marsh, and I was reminded of my 1980’s investigation of forest moths in DuPage County, for instance the component community centering on enchanter’s nightshade. Perhaps I need to expand a bit, and make a more concerted effort with moths at future bioblitzes.

Here is what the woolly bear caterpillar becomes: an Isabella tiger moth. At least two of these were drawn to the lights at Eagle Marsh.

Here is what the woolly bear caterpillar becomes: an Isabella tiger moth. At least two of these were drawn to the lights at Eagle Marsh.

We got a glimpse of a yellow-collared scape moth during the day, and that night one came to us.

We got a glimpse of a yellow-collared scape moth during the day, and that night one came to us.

A third example, a bristly cutworm moth. Check out the beautiful green areas in the wings.

A third example, a bristly cutworm moth. Check out the beautiful green areas in the wings.

There have been butterfly teams, but so far no one has specialized on moths. They are a diverse, beautiful and ecologically significant group, deserving of attention in the bioblitzes. It will mean collecting, but I have done that before.

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