July 14, 2008

In the field with butterfly lovers, Severson Dells Nature Center, Rockford, Illinois. Photo by Sally Agnew.

A compliant Tawny Emperor poses for identification (it came on its own). Photo by Sally Agnew.

Regal Fritillary, one of hundreds in an Illinois milkweed meadow. Photo by Jim Wiker.

With Jim Wiker, the immensely helpful co-author of The Skippers of Illinois and reigning authority on the handsome and fascinating, root-boring moths in the genus Papeipema; and Don Miller, education director of the superb Severson Dells Nature Center, great naturalist, and generally good guy. These fellas showed Bob a fine time in the Midwest, assisted by plenty of mosquitoes, chiggers, and ticks. Photo by Sally Agnew.


The Xerces Society » News

Citizen scientists tracking Ohio bumblebees

Nolly Dakroury, The Columbus Dispatch

Luciana Musetti is fascinated by bumblebees.

“They play a vital role to our environment, and they are beautiful, too,” Musetti, an entomologist and curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection at Ohio State University’s Museum of Biological Diversity, said in an email.

When she can, she photographs them. That’s why she was excited to have stumbled upon bumblebeewatch.org, a website for citizen scientists devoted to tracking bumblebee populations in North America.

“The idea of the website is, if we can track where populations are now, we can start making conservation efforts,” said Rich Hatfield, one of the founders of the website.

Read more at Dispatch.com

State probe of Portland bee deaths finds lethal dose of banned chemical

Kelly House, The Oregonian

State investigators found lethal levels of a banned insecticide in the systems of bees found dead last month in downtown Portland.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture released results Friday of investigations into the June 26 bee deaths near Pettygrove Park, as well as two nearby bee die-offs in mid-June.

Investigators collected as many as 400 dead bees, although witnesses said the total death toll could have been far larger.

The Oregonian previously reported about the Pettygrove incident, in which Portland law student Corinne Fletcher stepped outside her doorstep to find countless bumblebees dead or dying on a walkway leading into the park.

Read more at OregonLive.com

World’s Biggest Bumblebee at Risk of Extinction

John R. Platt, Scientific American

I’ve seen some big bumblebees in my time, but nothing like South America’s Bombus dahlbomii. “It looks like a flying mouse,” says Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director for the The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “It’s huge, colorful and incredibly charismatic.”

B. dahlbomii is, in fact, the world’s largest bumblebee. Native to the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile, the queens of the species can reach an amazing four centimeters in length. That’s two to three times the size of one of the most recognizable North American species, the American bumblebee (B. pensylvanicus).

Read more at ScientificAmerican.com