Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Caribbean Shopping List

I’m posting something because Heather recently complained about my lack of activity. Hey, it’s hard to do a bug blog in Chicago in the middle of a very cold winter. But all of that will change next week: Leon and I are accompanying UrSpo and his partner on a cruise to the Caribbean. Since we are going to be playing in the land of the duty-free, I thought I’d best prepare a list before we head out. The following shopping list is sure to inspire derision from UrSpo:

1. Orphulella typha. This grasshopper is found only on the island of St. Martin. My book is now 20 years old, so things might have changes since then, but the author reports that males have not yet been observed. A challenge! I couldn’t find any online photos. Another challenge!

Sphingonotus savignyi - an African relative of a species I hope to see

2. Sphingonotis haitensis. A banded-winged grasshopper with lovely pale-blue wings. There are several Caribbean species of Sphingonotus. My best bet is to try to see S. haitensis at the end of the trip while we are on Pureto Rico. Again, no photos, but I did find a picture of an African relative.

Cicindela trifasciata. Photo: Fr. Alejandro Sanchez

3. Tiger Beetles (of course). There are three species that I have a chance to see. Cicindela trifasciata is the most likely. It’s also found in the US, though I have never seen it. There are two Caribbean endemics. C. suturalis is found on a bunch of the islands. It’s probably my best shot at seeing a regional endemic tiger beetle. C. boops, in addition to having a charming name, is a cool species that I might see on either Puerto Rico or St. Martin. The literature describes it as the least common of the three.

Strangalia insularis - photo by Larry Bezark

4. Strangalia insularis. The item on my list that I most want to see. It’s a cerambycid beetle that is endemic to the island of Dominica. It’s a flower longhorn, which means that I stand a chance of being able to see it during the daytime.

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At 11:11, Anonymous Mark H said...

I have to admit it, this is the first time in my life I have read about someone going to the Caribbean and Beetle searching in the same paragraph. One of the highlights will be looking for Strangalia Insularis. So which is it? Duty Free Shopping or Cicindela trifasciata's cousin? Have a fabulous time! Maybe you can get a real nice SNOW SHOVEL duty free down there?

At 14:10, Blogger Ur-spo said...

In contrast, my shopping list consists of cheap drinks, bottle of rum, and cuban cigars.

At 18:22, Blogger rodger said...

There you go with the insect porn again. Shameless!

Maybe the Orphulella typha males are just really good drag queens?

Why doesn't your list include any large spiders for Spo? It just isn't a vacation if he doesn't scream like a girl at least once!

At 18:32, Blogger valown said...

If I was you I would keep my eye on Spo.

At 21:54, Blogger Ur-spo said...

Rodger dear can go suck a lemon.

At 06:40, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Mark- You just haven't been hanging out with the right folks.

Spo- Cuban cicagrs??? I absolutely would not have expected that of you. What would Freud say? Oh, yeah, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Rodger- I'm feeling inspired now.

valown- I've seen what rum can do to Spo. It isn't pretty.

At 11:12, Blogger T.R. said...

Now this is some good stuff!

At 07:51, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I try to get with it the farther I fall behind! I was the one pulling at your shirttails and then I didn't even comment!! WAH!!

I CANNOT imagine Spo with a lit cuban hanging from his fingers. I HOPE you got a picture for me!!!


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