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Posts from the ‘In the Field’ Category

Spring 2015 Collecting

In the desert, there doesn’t seem to ever be a bad time to collect. This spring has been no exception for the taxonbytes lab members!

Most entomological collecting in the southwest seems to be planned in accordance with the amazing monsoon activity that the area is known for. Even though there is still much to be discovered in the fauna that emerges after our summer rains, there is also a large fauna which is not associated with rains; in fact there are many species which exhibit late spring-early summer emergences which seems to be oddly uncommon in collections.

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Announcing BIO 386 Entomology – Fall 2015

This Fall 2015, BIO 386 General Entomology will be offered with the course lab sections utilizing the Natural History Collections spaces at the Alameda Building. The course provides a thorough, interactive, hands-on introduction to the fascinating and immensely important diversity and biology of insects, covering topics from insect morphology to pollination to conservation, and much more.  Seats remain open for enrollment. Photos from prior courses are here. A student perspective:

 Fall2014Feeback

The video below provides an introduction to the course lab facility.

A New Home for the ASU Natural History Collections from Arizona State University on Vimeo.

Announcing the Sixth Annual Lepidoptera Course, 16–25 August, 2015

Held at the Southwestern Research Station (SWRS) in the Chiricahua Mountains in SE Arizona (a 2.5 hour drive from Tucson), the focus of the Lep Course 2015 (August 16-25, 2015) is to train graduate students, postdocs, faculty, state and federal employees, and citizen-scientists in the classification and identification of adult Lepidoptera and their larvae. Topics to be covered include the biology and systematics of major families of Lepidoptera, an introduction to adult and larval morphology with a focus on taxonomically important traits, extensive field work that concentrates on  both collecting and photographing adults and larvae, collecting and curatorial techniques, genitalic dissection, larval classification, use (and abuse) of DNA barcoding, and general topics in Lepidoptera systematics, ecology, and evolution.

With its extensive series of Sky Island mountain ranges, SE Arizona has the highest Lepidoptera diversity in the United States. With low desert scrub, oak and mixed oak-pine woodland, lush riparian, juniper, Douglas fir, and mountain meadow habitats – all within a 40 minute drive from the station – the SWRS is an ideal location from which to sample this diversity of both habitats and species.

If you want to interact with other Lepidoptera enthusiasts, see a spectacular Dysschema, identify the Organ of vom Rath, sort through trap samples with hundreds of species, learn about diversity of Lepidoptera, and enjoy the vistas of the SE Arizona, then this course will provide a unique experience.

Partial list of invited instructors (subject to change):

  • Richard Brown (Mississippi Entomological Museum)
  • Jennifer Bundy (RD4AG)
  • Chris Grinter (Illinois Natural History Survey)
  • Don Harvey (Smithsonian Institution)
  • Sangmi Lee (Arizona State University Hasbrouck Insect Collection)
  • Chris Schmidt (Canadian National Collection)
  • Bruce Walsh (University of Arizona)

For more information, see http://research.amnh.org/swrs/education/lepidoptera-course or www.lepcourse.org or contact Bruce Walsh at jbwalsh@u.arizona.edu. You can also see photos and comments from students in the 2011 course at their facebook site, “2011 Lep Course, SWRS SEAZ”.

Accessioning a Donation: Part 1

Today marked our first full day of work to transfer a very generous donation to the ASUHIC from David Ceizyk (and family). The Ceizyk donation contains large amounts of material originally from the Collection of Ira Nadborne, a long-time collector whose collection is rumored to number around 2,000,000 specimens. This post is the first of a series which will show not only the progress of processing this donation, but also walk through the steps of accessioning; that is, bringing new material into a research collection. View Part 2 here.

1. The Nadborne material

Ceizyk_donation1 Ceizyk_donation2

Pictured above is perhaps a fifth of the material contained in this large collection. Many of the specimens are pinned into various boxes (Schmidt boxes, Cornell drawers, European style museum boxes, and a vast array of homemade cardboard storage boxes). A large number of specimens are also unmounted, and stored between sheets of paper in the boxes seen on the left of the aisle.

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Course announcement: Sonoran Desert Field Botany, Spring 2015

PLB498-598-2015An announcement for the combined PLB 498/598 Sonoran Desert Field Botany course, offered in the Spring 2015 Semester by Elizabeth Makings (Vascular Plant Herbarium) at the Alameda space.

Download the course flyer with additional information.

Entomology 2014: 3rd collecting trip to Coon Bluff, Salt River

During the early night hours of Friday, September 19, we had our third collecting trip for this Fall period to the always interesting and productive Coon Bluff Campground, located along the Salt River of the Tonto National Forest. In addition to abundant and diverse moths, we collected a number of antlion species (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae) and large to minute beetles flying to the mercury and ultraviolet lights. Recent rains (10 days prior) must have flooded the usually loose and powdery soil which this year appeared solid and compacted. Not many darkling beetles were present, and scarabs were also less frequent than in previous years.

The proper way to record the locality information is “USA: AZ: Maricopa Co.; Tonto NF, Coon Bluff; 33.547349, -111.644989; general coll. & at Hg/UV lights; leg. N. Franz [replace with your name], IX-19-2014″. Photos of the trip are posted here.

Entomology 2014: 2nd collecting trip to First Water, Superstition Mountains

On Saturday, September 06, the Entomology 2014 group had its second (morning) collecting trip to the picturesque First Water Trailhead, Superstition Mountains. In spite of a generally wet summer in Central Arizona, First Water appeared dry and insect abundance was comparatively low. It was hot and sunny, with nowhere to escape from the conditions. Nevertheless we collected a range of aquatic and terrestrial insects, including Belostomatidae (giant water bugs) and Nepidae (water scorpions). See more photos here.

The proper way to record the locality information is: USA: AZ: Pinal Co.; First Water Trailhead (FR 78) at Hwy 88; 33.487098, -111.441984; general coll. & aquatic net; leg. N. Franz [replace with your name], IX-06-2014.

Entomology 2014: 1st collecting trip to Mesquite Wash

The Entomology 2014 collecting season has officially started with a first field trip during the night of Friday, August 29, to Mesquite Wash. We have had a wet summer and this was seemingly reflected in the high abundance of insect collecting on the ground, on plants, and at Hg & UV lights. There was no shortage of beetles, flies, moths, and many other insects. See more photos here.

The proper way to record the locality information is: USA: AZ: Maricopa Co.; Bee Line Highway (Rte. 87), Mesquite Wash; 33.731031, -111.514748; general coll. & Hg/UV lights; leg. N. Franz [replace with your name], VIII-29-2014.