Bioblitz Species Hunt

by Carl Strang

Yesterday I introduced last weekend’s bioblitz at Connor Prairie in Indiana. My focus as a bioblitz participant is on singing insects, of course, but those are few early in June, even as far south as Indianapolis. Not to worry, though. There were teams focusing on many groups of organisms, but others had no specialists to address them, so I enjoyed filling in where I could. Odonata were one such group.

Twelve-spotted skimmer

Twelve-spotted skimmer

Powdered dancer

Powdered dancer

After much pondering, I concluded this was a female cobra clubtail. Indiana has a similar species, the handsome clubtail, but certain details ruled it out.

After much pondering, I concluded this was a female cobra clubtail. Indiana has a similar species, the handsome clubtail, but certain details ruled it out.

For instance, the C-shaped line at the top of the side of the thorax is connected, and apparently too thick for a handsome clubtail.

For instance, the C-shaped line at the top of the side of the thorax is connected, and apparently too thick for a handsome clubtail.

I also saw three bumblebee species.

Bombus fervidus was an easy ID.

Bombus fervidus was an easy ID.

There was a butterfly team, but I took advantage of photo ops that presented themselves.

Variegated fritillary

Variegated fritillary

Nevertheless, my main interest was singing insects. I found 4 species, and botany team leader Scott Namestnik added a 5th.

Green-striped grasshoppers were common, as were spring field crickets.

Green-striped grasshoppers were common, as were spring field crickets.

I saw a single sulfur-winged grasshopper. Scott ran across a pocket of Roesel’s katydid nymphs. Connor Prairie is about even with the Crawfordsville area where I found Roesel’s a couple years ago. So far, none have turned up farther south in Indiana.

The final species is worth a blog post all its own (to be continued).

More Mayslake Odonata

by Carl Strang

Some time has passed since I last updated dragonfly and damselfly appearances at Mayslake Forest Preserve, and a few more species have added themselves to the roster. I have seen several four-spotted skimmers.

4-spotted skimmer 2b

This species seems to be abundant in some years, scarce in others. According to reports I’m hearing, Mayslake is joined by many other northeast Illinois locations in having a good emergence year for 4-spots. The following meadowhawk was the first mature red male I have seen this year. He kept his face hidden, so I did not get his identity, but in nearly the same spot I saw a ruby meadowhawk a few days later.

Meadowhawk b

The meadowhawk sought flying insects, when as you can see there were a lot of red aphids for the picking, on the same perch. I also encountered a couple new spreadwing damselfly species. This emerald spreadwing, with its metallic green body, is not done justice by this photo.

Emerald spreadwing b

New not only to Mayslake’s list, but also to me (a “lifer” in birder parlance) was this lyre-tipped spreadwing.

Lyre-tipped spreadwing 3b

So far I have seen two of these in different parts of the preserve. I’ll finish this update with a photo of a female 12-spotted skimmer.

12-spot female b

I’ll be surprised if more species do not show up before the end of the season.

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