North Campus Insect Survey

April 22, 2011

Survey Fun     As mentioned in an earlier post New Fly for North Campus, we've been trapping insects on the North Campus for a while now. This week however, is a milestone for NHMLA as we held our first quarterly insect survey. Our aim was to go after the insects that our Malaise trap wasn't sampling, like large flying insects such as crane flies and bumble bees and ground dwelling insects like earwigs and beetles.  Since this was our first time and the site is still an active construction zone, we limited participation to NHMLA staff and partners. As the specimens get prepared and sorted, I'll keep you all up to date on the species we identify.  

Brent "the bug guy" Karner demonstrates proper use of a beating sheet to our USC partners.  

Brian Brown showing off his aspirator (aka pooter) skills. Look closely, I swear there's an insect there!  

A common insect, but nonetheless an impressive catch. Female carpenter bee in the genus Xylocopa   Special thanks to Cordell Corporation for allowing us to access the site.

(Posted by: Lila Higgins)


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New Fly for North Campus

April 5, 2011

Insect Trapping To better understand the insect diversity of the North Campus, we've started surveying the insect fauna on the construction site. A few months ago, Dr. Brian Brown, the Museum's Curator of Entomology, set up a Malaise trap. This type of trap is commonly used by entomologists to capture small flying insects, and so far we've collected hundreds! One of the coolest (at least in Brian's opinion, and now mine too) is the Boatman Fly.  

Dr. Brian Brown setting up a Malaise trap in his backyard (yes Entomologists take their work home with them too!)The Boatman Fly, Pogonortalis doclea, is a small (1/4 inch) fly originally from Australia. It was first recorded in California in 1963, and to date has not been recorded in any other state.  These flies are quite striking in appearance with their brightly colored eyes and highly patterned wings. Males of the species are often seen walking over leaves waving their wings in display, which look very much like a person rowing a boat, hence the name.

Boatman Fly, Pogonortalis doclea

(Posted by: Lila Higgins)

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