Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lake Isabella and Rivernook Squirrels!

We ended up visiting Lake Isabella on Sunday afternoon. It was very successful. We got sooo many insects it was hard to photograph it all in one night. In fact there are still some little beetles running around unphotographed.

This is a Pepsis sp. The common name is Tarantula Hawk. These guys are amazing. They will sting a tarantula, which paralyzes it and then drag it to its burrow. Here it lays it's tiny eggs inside the tarantula and when it's larva hatch they eat the paralyzed tarantula alive! The insect world is amazing!

One of the neater finds is the Microcoryphian! Kind of looks like a silverfish but different order entirely. It is not an order that you run across on a normal collecting trip. It has contiguous eyes, is real rounded and has beautiful stripes. We found this little guy running around in the gravel near Lake Isabella.

I was really excited to see a bumble bee. In almost all of their ranges Bumble Bees can be difficult to find because their numbers have declined all over the world.  Reasons for the decline are numerous including competition with the non-native European Honey Bee. This Bumble Bee in particular is one of the prettiest ones I have seen with the red hairs on the tip of the abdomen. This one has a little bit of an unfortunate name Crotch's Bumble Bee (Bombus crotchii).

Finally we have a group of California Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) around our camp. They are actually colonial species which made a lot of sense since I have been smelling rodents the whole time we have been here. About 8 feet from our trailer we have a colony! It is fabulous to see them running around all day AND they love the Texas Pecans! They can be quite vocal as well as you can see below!

If you are unfamiliar with where we are here is a map.

Kendra and John
- posted from ipad during the international bug expedition 2012


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About Me

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John is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin. Kendra is a Professor at St. Edwards University in Austin. John has focused on dragonflies and damselflies in his career. He has two books Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-central United States and The Damselflies of Texas. He is currently working on the Dragonflies of Texas. John and Kendra are also currently both working on revising the Peterson Field Guide to Insects of North America. We have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world where we enjoy taking photos of pretty much anything that will allow us to capture its image. We are lucky enough to be able to teach students about the amazing biodiversity we see and to travel and photograph together.