Archivos de Diario para mayo 2021

05 de mayo de 2021

Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz

Did you know there are over 400 native lady beetle species in North America or that 35 of these species (at least) are found in Vermont?

Lady beetles are fascinating—they are cannibalistic, sometimes migratory, and certain species’ larvae can only be found in ant nests. Additionally, lady beetles are an important biological control, munching down aphids, plant mites, scales, and other small, herbivorous insects. Native lady beetles are particularly important to our ecosystems, fine-tuning their life cycles to synchronize with that of preferred prey species. Without our native lady beetles, the species they prey on may have population explosions, causing serious damage to host plants.

Unfortunately, native lady beetles are in decline across North America, likely due to land use change and the introduction of non-native lady beetle species. In Vermont, our native species seem to be following national trends. However, Vermont’s modern lady beetle fauna is poorly understood. Currently, twelve of our 35 native species have not been seen in over 40 years. Where did these species go? What do we need to do to help native lady beetles thrive?

In an effort to find answers to our questions about Vermont’s lady beetle fauna, the Vermont Atlas of Life team started the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas. As you might imagine, searching the entire state for tiny lady beetles is a monumental task. Therefore, we invite (and heartily encourage) you, our community naturalists, to join us in our search. Your participation greatly increases the probability of finding our long-lost beetles! Already, volunteer naturalists have rediscovered four of Vermont’s lost lady beetle species and recorded three new species. In our pilot year (2020) alone, community naturalists doubled the total number of research-grade lady beetle observations in iNaturalist.

Bigeminate Sigil Lady Beetle (Hyperaspis bigeminata) © Spencer Hardy

How many lady beetle species can you find?

Join us in June for the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz!

We are holding a week-long Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz June 5 – 12, 2021 to concentrate our efforts on finding as many lady beetles as possible across the entire state. To participate, simply go outside and search everywhere for lady beetles (you never know where these little ones will show up), snap a few photos of every beetle you find, and upload your observations to iNaturalist. That’s it – so easy, and so much fun!

Lady beetles are swift, so it’s helpful to have an insect net and a clear glass container handy to hold the beetles in while taking photos. For more information on search methods, how to photograph beetles, and how to upload your observations to iNaturalist, see “Step 2: Collecting Data on a Site Survey” of the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas Participant Manual. Also, you’ll want to join the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas on iNaturalist and the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz (follow the links, sign into iNaturalist, and click Join in the upper-right hand corner) to receive updates and stay involved!

Lady beetles begin to emerge from their overwintering locations (usually in leaf litter) between March and May, breed and lay their eggs soon after emerging, and remain active through the fall. This means that you can search for lady beetles from now until it gets cold again, contributing more important observations outside of the week-long BioBlitz.

Additionally, you can:

  • Upload incidental encounters of lady beetles to the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas on iNaturalist
  • Actively search sites for lady beetles and upload your encounters to the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas on iNaturalist
  • Adopt a Lady Beetle Survey Priority Block

Maybe you’ll find one of Vermont’s lost lady beetles, or even a new species never before recorded in the state. Visit the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas website to find out more ways to get involved and help conserve these fascinating beetles.

Spurleg Lady Beetles © Nathaniel Sharp

Anotado en miércoles, 05 de mayo de 2021 a las 10:03 PM por jpupko jpupko | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de mayo de 2021

April 2021 Photo-observation of the Month

An underwater image of a North American Medicinal Leech feeding on Wood Frog eggs. © Erin Talmage

Congratulations to Erin Talmage for winning the April 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Erin’s image of a North American Medicinal Leech feeding on Wood Frog eggs in the
Birds of Vermont Museum’s pond garnered the most faves this month.

As surreal as this scene looks, predation of wood frog eggs by leeches is actually a relatively common occurrence! Because the egg masses of wood frogs and other frog species in the northeast lack the protective, gelatinous outer layer of spotted and jefferson salamander egg masses, they are more vulnerable to predation by a host of aquatic predators from leeches, to newts, to aquatic insects. While vernal pools are an attractive egg-laying site for many of Vermont’s amphibians due to their lack of fish predators, they are by no means a completely safe nursery for frog and salamander eggs, as evidenced by Erin’s amazing photograph. Wood Frogs combat this inevitable predation by laying an overwhelming number of eggs consisting of 800 to 2,000 embryos per egg mass, certainly more than any leech could eat in one sitting!

With nearly 12,805 observations submitted by 1,174 observers in April, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

Anotado en martes, 04 de mayo de 2021 a las 01:33 PM por nsharp nsharp | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de mayo de 2021

Join the West Virginia White Watch (April 1-June 6)

Spring is changing. The snow is melting earlier, wildflowers are blooming sooner, and trees are leafing out faster. How are West Virginia White butterflies faring? Join the West Virginia White Watch (April 1 - June 6)!

Help us monitor them here in Vermont. During spring, find a patch of rich, hardwood forest, count all the butterflies you find, and report them to eButterfly. Even if you don’t find any butterflies, zeros are important to report too! Can you break the early or late record for a West Virginia White sighting? Who will have the highest count? Can we find them in places they’ve never been recorded? We can’t wait to find out!

Steps for Monitoring West Virginia Whites

  1. Find a patch(es) of rich, hardwood forest.
  2. Beginning in April, visit your patch(es) and count all the West Virginia White butterflies you find. Photograph some as vouchers too. You count can be a walked transect or loop or an area. Record your start time and end time. Measure the approximate distance you walked or area you thoroughly searched. The more you visit your patches the better, but even once is helpful!
  3. Back home, log into our site called eButterfly and report your findings. Even if you don’t find any butterflies, zeros are important to report too! Please put your checklists in eButterfly where the location, your effort, and your counts can all be added to the data.

So far the checklists submitted with West Virginia White counts are all from Bennington County. There are some counts completed in the Champlain Islands with zeros reported. Reporting zeros is important too when you were hunting for them in what seemed like the right habitat.

See the data on eButterfly so far at: https://www.e-butterfly.org/ebapp/en/observations/explore?limit=100&page=1&location=Vermont%2C%20USA&province_id=58&start_date=2021-04-01&end_date=2021-05-14&species=Pieris%20virginiensis&view=observations&subview=list&sw_lat=42.72684993530946&sw_lng=-73.43790497922724&ne_lat=45.01665799286757&ne_lng=-71.46503895202369&center_lat=44.5588028&center_lng=-72.57784149999999&political=administrative_area_level_1&hasphoto=false

It looks like the weather is going to be perfect over the next few days so I hope many of you can get out and survey some forests!

Anotado en viernes, 14 de mayo de 2021 a las 02:02 PM por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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