November 19, 2008

RMP with Benton Basham of Tennessee and Weslaco, TX. Ben is a top birder and butterflier who has been extremely helpful to me. Photo by Jan Dauphin.

My dear friends of almost fifty years, Floyd and June Preston, and major field contributors to our knowledge of the U.S. butterfly fauna. Photo by Ben Basham.

A rare and pristine Gold-spotted Aguna, encountered at the NABA Butterfly Park. Photo by Ben Basham.

A fabulous fig sphinx moth (Pachylia ficus) found as a pupa in Weslaco, photo by Ben Basham.

Pitcher plants photographed at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station by Susan S. Borkin.

Susan Borkin photographed on the bog boardwalk at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station.

Bob Pyle on the Bog boardwalk at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station. Photo by Susan Borkin.
Swamp metalmark larva photographed at Riveredge Nature Center, Ozaukee County WI by Susan S. Borkin.

Swamp metalmark adult photographed at Riveredge Nature Center, Ozaukee County WI by Susan S. Borkin.

Ann and Scott Swengel looking for karner blue eggs. Photo by Bob Pyle.

Bob Pyle looking for karner blue eggs. Photo by Ann and Scott Swengel.

Karner blue egg.

Bob Pyle and Ann Swengel at the Bauer Brockway Barrens. Photo by Scott Swengel.



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, 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.


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.


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).