Gossamer Tapestry

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Greetings from Colorado. I've been here since very early Saturday morning on an entomological trip. It's been a successful trip, aided by some truly gorgeous weather. My hosts for most of the trip have been John and Mike in Arvada, a suburb of Denver. John is a very accomplished entomologist, and has taught my over 80% of what I know about beetles. I stand in awe of his capabilities, so it's always a treat to go out in the field with him.

Glenwood Canyon and the Colorado River

We spent the weekend up in the high country. Spring is a bit late in the mountains this year. We were unable to do any collecting in the tundra regions- they're still covered with snow. Saturday we met up with Bill, an aquatic entomologist and went collecting on the west slope. Our most successful spots were in Glenwood Canyon. We found lots of nice chrysomelid (leaf-eating) beetles on the willows. John is a chrysomelid expert, so that family always figures heavily when he's around. Also, I managed to take a very nice series of samples from a population of purplish coppers for DNA analysis. My new intern will not lack for things to keep him busy when he starts next week.

Calligrapha multipunctata
A leaf-eating beetle that feeds on willow.

Saturday night we stayed in Breckenridge. Sunday morning we awoke to this:

Fresh snow- June 8, 2008

I offer this for all my readers in the east who spent Sunday sweltering. Obviously this did not make for good collecting. We crossed back over the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, and were treated to gorgeous vistas of peaks covered with a fresh skim of snow. Magnificent!

In Loveland Pass

Opting to avoid the interstate, we returned via Clear Creek Canyon. There were numerous opportunities to pull off the road and check out the bugs along the creek. We got into the usual kind of trouble.

The usual kind of trouble
Cicindela lengi- a new species for me

Monday we did a grueling hike up above the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. The collecting and insect photography on that trip were superb. I'll do a post on that later this week.

Labels: , , , ,


At 10:13, Blogger robin andrea said...

I love seeing your photos of the Rockies. I lived in Boulder for four years, when I attended the university there. Too bad at the time I wasn't interested in the wildlife, I missed all these great beetles.

How quickly do you adjust to the altitude?

At 10:45, Blogger Kevin Zelnio said...

lol at post title nomenclature. (you know your a taxonomist when...)

At 11:21, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Great beetles. Looking forward to seeing more and hearing about the adventure.


At 12:08, Blogger R.Powers said...

Gorgeous photos!
The snow is welcome even though it's a cool 87 here today.

At 18:51, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Robin- I spent 3 days of my visit in the hills and mountains above Boulder. It was splendid. I did not fully acclimatize to the altitude. There was a lot of huffing and puffing when I climbed hills.

Kevin- I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm gratified that some of my readers appreciate my geeky humor.

Troy- Thanks. More adventures and photos forthcoming.

FC- Thanks. The weather in CO has been on a temperature roller coaster. Two days after the snowfall, it hit 93 in Denver. The next morning, it got down to 40. It's been a fun trip.

At 19:57, Blogger cedrorum said...

What an awesome trip. I've been to Breckenridge a couple of times and my mom used to live in Boulder. There's noting quite like the Rockies. That leaf eating beetle looks like a pinto bean to me. I tried stealing your top picture for my computer screen but it isn't high res enough.

At 18:32, Blogger Kathie Brown said...

Looks like fun. Beautiful scenery and great bugs to boot! It was 106 here on tuesday. So fun to see the snow! Can't wait for the posts from rest of this trip! Thanks for the info about the dragonflies.

At 22:29, Blogger Amila Suwa said...

This sounds like an interesting trip. Thanks for dropping by in my blog.

BTW, here's my COTS submission.


I've linked to you and look forward to exploring your resourceful blog more.

At 23:55, Blogger Ur-spo said...

i know you well enough to know you are very happy.
The snow looks nice; very refreshing.

At 09:44, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Cedrorum- I liked Boulder a lot.

Kathie - You're welcome.

Gallicissa- Welcome to the Tapestry. That's a great post on the dragonfly. It will make a fine addition to COTS.

Spo- Thanks. It was 5 days of almost nonstop insect stuff.

At 11:00, Blogger Homer said...

I have a picture of myself at the Loveland Pass sign.

At 19:46, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Homer- You should post it on your blog. How long ago were you there?


Post a Comment

<< Home