Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Collecting in Winter

For the past several months I have been collecting beetles at Lula Lake Land Trust and at the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. I started near the end of spring and I plan to do a full year of collecting in each site. Winter is here and even though it is not really cold (by midwest standards) the temperature is hovering below zero Celsius for many days in a row.

I have to say I love doing field work during this time of the year. Yes, it is not super-productive but it is so much more pleasant: no ticks or chiggers, no 90% humidity and I am not covered with mosquitoes. And the traps have some very interesting beetles in them. Granted, the diversity is rather low and I have to sort through mountains of flies to actually see the beetles, but I will take it.

Here is a typical pan (out of eight) of my Flight intercept traps (FIT). This picture shows insects that fell in the pan between January 5 to February 5.

Collecting with Lindgren traps can be a bit more tricky. During the past month we had some very windy/wet conditions that resulted in having my propylene glycol being washed out of the trap. The water that remained in the collection cup did not play very well with the subfreezing conditions and resulted in this:

However, underneath all this ice, there were beetles, including several rove beetles.

If you are interested in seeing what we have been collecting, all of our specimens are included in our Symbiota database that recently surpassed 10,000 beetle specimens.