Gossamer Tapestry

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Madera Canyon

The conference has really kept me hopping. I've had no time to blog at all. I haven't been reading or commenting on blogs that I regularly read, either. For much of Sunday and Monday I was without internet access. I'm writing this post from Rio Rico, AZ and having awonderful time. Wish you were all here!

Sandy and Me

Sunday was a transition day. I had to pick up fellow entomologist john at the airport in mid afternoon. Fortunately, I was able to have a very pleasant noon time having lunch with Sandy. He's only the fourth blogger that I've met in person, and was a really great guy. We had good food and better conversation at Rosa's.

After I picked john up, we headed off towards Kitt Peak to do some collecting. This was a bit of a bust, because I didn't know that the road up the mountain closed at 4 PM. We got there at about 3:30. We did a bit of collecting just outside the gate and then headed down to Madera Canyon, where we had rented a cabin. This turned out to be a better situation than I had expected. Madera Canyon is well known as a birding hotspot. It also has great insects. Our plan was to check in, go down the moountain for dinner, and return to blacklight. By the time we got checked in, we realized that it would be dark when we returned. We were too hungry to set up the blacklight before eating, so as a compromise we left the back porch light on. Wow. When we returned, the back door was covered with amazing moths and beetles, including a half dozen Chrysina.

Chrysina lecontei

Chrysina are are amazing green scarab beetles. (Bug Girl: "Ooh! Shiny!") There are three species in Arizona, and we namaged to get all 3 black lighting. There were beautiful scarabs, huge fierce looking longhorn beetles and colorful underwing moths. We put the sheet and black light up, and things got even better. It was the finesst blacklighting experience I have had to date.

Chrysina beyeri. Not the best photo, but it shows off the apple green elytra and blue legs.

The aptly named Chrysina gloriosa. The stripes are metallic chrome colored.

On Monday, we spent the day higking up Mt. Wrightson. We did not get anywhere near the summit, mainly because the collecting was so good. I saw my first ever Arizona hairstreak (sorry, no photo), a bunch of beetles and some cool grasshoppers. My favorite was the blue winged grasshopper.

Blue-winged grasshopper (Trimerotropis cyanipennis)

A peek at the blue wings

It was an amazing day of insects and plants surrounded by gorgeous views. We even saw a feb birds (Painted Redstart, anyone?) Folks on the trail were intrigued by our butterfly nets, and very friendly. Later, when we got to the conference, two colleagues were snickering at us. they were in Madera the same day we were. They ran into some hikers who said they had seen two other entomologists, one from Denver and one from Chicago. Our colleagues knew that we were just up the hill from them.

More adventures to come (heck, more adventures still happening).

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At 18:51, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words, Doug. Had a great time visiting with you!

And thanks, as well, for the photo of Madera Canyon. It reminds me just how much I want to do some camping there when I'm back in October.

At 22:49, Blogger Ur-spo said...

I liked the photo of Sandy over the bugs, but they were good too.
Do I dare say it; Sandy is cute as a bug's ear?

At 05:06, Blogger Lemuel said...

Sandy might even be able to get me interested in bugs! ;)

At 10:01, Blogger Jim Lemire said...

Madera Canyon is a beutiful place, isn't it? My family and I stayed in a nice little cabin there once and had a great time hiking around. Enjoy! (must be hot this time of year though...)

At 06:23, Blogger cedrorum said...

The gloriosa is very cool, any bug with chrome on it has to be cool. Beetles rock!

At 07:47, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

We love to bird in Madera Canyon. Great job on the Green Scarabs.

The next time we are there, I will pay more attention to the insects.


At 21:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh, Shiny!

(I had to do it again--I loved those beetles when I lived in West Texas.)

At 08:57, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Sandy- It's hard to believe that it's already been a week and a half since out lunch. I hope you are having fun in Palm Springs. Safe travels to Australia.

Spo and Lem- He's a charming and intelligent man. His partner is a lucky guy (I say this as someone who also feels lucky in the partner department).

Jim- It was hot but lots of fun. The hiking and insect photography/collecting were extremely enjoyable this year.

cedrorum- Beetles do rock. This one is as spectacular as anything you will find in the rainforest.

Troy- Madera was as as good as I remember it from previous trips. You won't see those scarabs during the day. Even if you don't have a black light, they will show up at various lights on buildings (the Lodge, for example) where you can check them out.

Bug Girl- Glad I could count on you for that! I did think of you when I saw them.

At 13:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't that Plusiotus gloriosa?

At 21:45, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Hi Anon- Plusiotus is the old name for the genus Chrysina.


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