October 7, 2015 at 6:47 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: black-legged meadow katydid, Ilex verticillata, Lythrum salicaria, Orchelimum nigripes, Phalaris arundinacea, purple loosestrife, reed canary grass, Spicer Lake, winterberry
by Carl Strang
Spicer Lake is a St. Joseph County (Indiana) park and nature preserve close to the triple border of two Indiana counties and Michigan. It is not far from Springfield Fen, so after thanking Scott last week I headed up there to prospect for singing insects. Those proved to be relatively common species, but it was a beautiful site well worth visiting.
One feature is an extensive flooded swamp fringing Spicer Lake. The photo shows native species, but reed canary grass and purple loosestrife sadly are well established.
Winterberry hollies provided delightful spots of color.
The most common singing insect along the boardwalk was the black-legged meadow katydid.
I especially liked the translucent backlit wings of this singing male.
That visit closed the book on my out-of-state singing insect excursions for the year.
September 25, 2013 at 6:19 am (ecology, restoration, singing insects)
Tags: black-legged meadow katydid, Bluff Creek, Carolina ground cricket, common cattail, common reed, Conocephalus attenuatus, Conocephalus brevipennis, delicate meadow katydid, dusky-faced meadow katydid, Eunemobius carolinus, Eunemobius melodius, fen, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Lake Maxinkuckee, long-tailed meadow katydid, Lythrum salicaria, melodious ground cricket, Miller Woods, Neocurtilla hexadactyla, nimble meadow katydid, northern mole cricket, Orchelimum campestre, Orchelimum delicatum, Orchelimum nigripes, Orchelimum volantum, Phalaris arundinacea, Phragmites communis, purple loosestrife, reed canary grass, Richard Young Forest Preserve, short-winged meadow katydid, swale, Typha latifolia, Waterfall Glen
by Carl Strang
A continuing theme in my regional survey of singing insects is the paucity of wetland species. The only one that is present in good numbers in many wetlands is the black-legged meadow katydid. Other species common in wetlands are habitat generalists such as the Carolina ground cricket and short-winged meadow katydid, which don’t truly count as wetland insects. One clear cause of this problem is the loss of high quality habitat to four invasive plant species (purple loosestrife, reed canary grass, common reed, and cattails). All four are capable of completely taking over a wetland, and examples of this can be found for all four. Small numbers of the singing insects mentioned above can be found in such places, but not the other wetland insect species.
This female long-tailed meadow katydid was a rare wetland species holdout in a small pocket of surviving diverse wetland plants surrounded by cattails, reed canary grass and common reed at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County, Illinois.
On the other hand, there are some good wetlands out there. Many are small, and this along with their isolation may limit them.
This beautiful little fen at Richard Young Forest Preserve in Kendall County is completely surrounded by woodland.
Many of the interdune swales at Miller Woods in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore have been taken over by the common reed. This one was an exception, but I found only black-legs there.
This fen-like wetland at Bluff Creek in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest looks very good. I will want to check it earlier in the season next year.
Still, I have not given up hope. I found a third good population of mole crickets this year, in a swale at Miller Woods.
Mole cricket tunnels look like miniature mole tunnels. They occur around wetland edges, and occasionally have holes to let out the males’ deep chirping calls, and to provide access for attracted females.
I also found melodious ground crickets at two new sites in Berrien County, Michigan. Though I did not find dusky-faced or delicate meadow katydids at the Indiana Dunes’ Great Marsh this year, I felt curiously encouraged by this.
Both species were there last year, but with the water level higher in 2013, the vegetation was arranged differently and I did not find them in the same place.
Maybe the populations of many wetland species took a hit in last year’s drought, and were thinly dispersed in the expanded wet areas of 2013. This is, after all, the first year in which I have surveyed many of these sites. If they need a couple years to recover from the drought, maybe I will find the missing species in the future. Still, how to account for the lack of nimble meadow katydids? This species I have yet to find, anywhere. In the heart of the singing insect season I took my sea kayak into an area where they historically were known.
The channels at the south end of Lake Maxinkuckee in Marshall County, Indiana, have become heavily invaded by purple loosestrife.
Even the patches of emergent water-dwelling knotweeds, a habitat specifically mentioned in some sources as good for nimble meadow katydids, had none as far as I could tell.
So the bottom line is a disappointing season for wetland species, with a few positive points and hope in the possibility that populations are at a low point from which they will recover.
July 17, 2009 at 6:10 am (botany)
Tags: Asclepias syriaca, chickory, Cichorium intybus, common milkweed, common mullein, common sow thistle, Daucus carota, Deptford pink, Dianthus armerius, Epipactis helleborine, helleborine orchid, life history strategy, Lythrum salicaria, Mayslake, Melilotus alba, oregano, Origanum vulgare, Phytolacca americana, pokeweed, purple loosestrife, Queen Anne's lace, Sonchus asper, Sonchus uliginosus, spiny sow thistle, Verbascum thapsus, weed, white sweet clover
by Carl Strang
It’s time to update the list of newly flowering weeds at Mayslake Forest Preserve, following the broad definition of non-natives, undesirables, and species which gain high reproductive rates and dispersal by trading off competitive ability and lifespan.
I’ll begin with a surprise. I was crossing a wooded area and looked down to see an orchid. But it turned out to be our only non-native orchid, the helleborine.
Thanks to the dense, competitive meadows and prairies I have, so far, found only one common mullein plant on the preserve.
Chickory can tolerate some shade, and so has done better.
Thanks to the former residents of the friary, Mayslake has to be the oregano capital of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
Not only is there a huge patch of this herb in the old friary garden, outliers have spread as far as the meadow west of the off-leash dog area. Last winter I wrote about the interesting dispersal mechanism for Queen Anne’s lace . Here it is in bloom.
So far there have been two sow thistle species flowering at Mayslake, the common sow thistle
and spiny sow thistle.
Vying for the honor of most beautiful tiny flower is the Deptford pink, relative of carnations.
The white sweet clover now is blooming abundantly, starting well after its yellow-flowered relative.
Common milkweed, weedy in its life history strategy but a native species, has been a bumblebee and butterfly magnet.
Another native, famed food of pop music’s “Poke Salad Annie,” is the pokeweed.
Once it’s this big, though, it’s poisonous. I’ll finish with a real undesirable, which I have been finding scattered around the preserve’s northern meadows.
Purple loosestrife can become a serious problem in wetlands.