Week from Hell
You haven't heard much from me this week. There's a reason. Last Friday (6/27) began an interesting time in my life. I drove up to Lake County to partcipate in their BioBlitz. Al large part of my activities involved black lighting.
Not much was coming to the sheet in terms of species diversity. We did get a couple of fishflies and a few geometrid moths.
Note all the mosquitoes on the sheet with the moth. This was representative. The mosquitoes were absolutely fierce. Although none are pictured here, there were considerable numbers of Asian tiger mosquitoes in with the swarms of more familiar species. They are huge and very aggressive. It's like being attacked by a swarm of B25s. The tent where we were doing our identification was full of mosquitoes.
Saturday, I had to leave the BioBlitz to go further into Lake County for a butterfly course that I was teaching at Illinois Beach Stae Park. For some reason, even though the weather was nice there were very few butterflies out. We did manage to get the course in before being chased off site by a severe thunderstorm. I was actually relieved at the storm's arrival. I had a great class- the students were really good- and I was running out of things to say to them. We were looking at other insects (due mostly to the lack of butterflies) and I did get to see a speecies of tiger beetle (Cicindela formosa) that I've only seen once before, and never in Illinois. I got a decent photo.
Sunday was butterfly monitoring at the Fen. While I was there, I tried unsuccessfully for a nice photo of Typocerus sp., an interesting longhorn beetle that has become more abundant on site as our prairies have improved. I had no luck at all with that, and was unable to get my complete monitoring route done before a fast-moving thunderstorm moved in and soaked me to the skin. At least I got a nice picture of the hill prairie in full bloom.
Hill prairie at the height of flowering
The less said about my work week the better. On Thursday, we went out to Grundy County seeking the leadplant flower moth (Schinia lucens). This is a very rare species that we want to do restoration work on. The host plant, leadplant, is an attractive shrub with purple flowers. It's been a very successful component of many prairie restorations, so there are many places the moth could possibly go.
Vincent and Brad in Schinia lucens habitat
Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
We did not get any moths. I did manage to get a nice photo of milkweed longhorn beetles. I also got the worst case of chiggers I've ever had in my entire life. I'll spare you a photo of my thoroughly bitten legs.
Milkweed Longhorn Beetles (Tetraopes tetropthalmus)
I've spent the week being bitten, wet, and frustrated. I'm now off to the Fen for more butterfly monitoring. Let's see what further disasters can befall me.