01 de enero de 2024

Population Dynamics of Mantis religiosa, European Mantis and Danaus plexippus, Monarch Butterfly Species on a Barnes Tallgrass Prairie Remnant, Racine Co., WI, 1994-2023

Monarch caterpillars were a familiar sight on the abundant common milkweed at a Barnes Prairie remnant in Racine County, WI for many years. On August 14, 1982, 11 caterpillars were spotted in the field. Seven of these were within an 8 square foot area, and three were on the same common milkweed plant. 1988 was a dry year, with little rain in the summer and many of the common milkweed plants were wilting. On a sunny August 20, 1988 afternoon, we counted 6 caterpillars on common milkweed. Most were near the stems, and two were under the leaves. 1990 was a good year for caterpillars, with 12 found on August 19, 1990, a cool, cloudy day.

In late July 1994, two European mantises were found on vegetation on this Barnes Prairie remnant. Plants, insects, and spiders had been surveyed weekly or biweekly from June through September 1975-1993, and no mantises were recorded in those surveys. However, they may have been present and not seen or recorded during those years.

Plants and flowers that mantises were on in 1994 changed during the summer. On July 21, a mantis was found on black-eyed Susan. In mid-August 1994, wings of butterflies, including monarch, eastern-tailed blue, cabbage white, skippers and red admiral were found under the purple coneflower that a mantis was on.

In early August 1995, Virginia ctenucha and monarch butterfly wings, along with other unidentified wings and insect parts, were found under a common milkweed plant that a European mantis was on.

During a late August 1996 monarch butterfly count, 3 butterflies and 8 caterpillars were seen. A late August 2012 monarch count turned up 2 butterflies and 4 caterpillars. By 2019, monarch butterflies were seldom seen on this prairie remnant. No caterpillars were spotted in June through August, however; a caterpillar was found on the abundant common milkweed in early September 2019. European praying mantises were routinely found in the field that summer, especially on the invasive common buckthorn near flowering plants. A monarch wing, along with unidentified small wings, possibly fly or bee wings, and dragonfly wings, were found under a common buckthorn next to flowering false sunflower in early September 2019.

Beginning in August 2020, European mantises were removed, when found, from the tallgrass prairie remnant. A total of 8 mantises were removed that year. Control of these insects continued through 2023.

Populations of monarch caterpillars found on common milkweed, 2019-2023. Surveys were conducted once weekly, June through September.

Date, No. of Caterpillars seen, Comments

9/7/2019, 1, late instar
8/2020, 1, late instar
9/15/2020, 1, late instar
7/26/2021, 1, early instar
9/1/2021, 1, late instar
8/23/2022, 1, late instar
9/4/2022, 1, late instar
6/20/2023, 1, late instar
8/30/2023, 3, late instar
9/12/2023, 3, late instar

In addition to European mantises, one Chinese mantis was found in 2021, and removed.

Other factors that may have affected monarch butterfly populations during these years have not been considered. However, there has been an increase in monarch caterpillars at this prairie remnant after the European mantises and the Chinese mantis were removed. Future surveys may provide more information.

Publicado el enero 1, 2024 04:23 TARDE por bkis bkis | 11 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de diciembre de 2023

Changes in Populations of Carolina grasshopper, Dissosteira carolina, at a Barnes Prairie Remnant, Racine Co., WI from 1976- 2023

Carolina grasshoppers are large, broad-winged Caelifera with a high, sharp ridge on the pronotum. Here at Barnes Prairie, they are typically clay-colored, yellowish tan, light brown or grayish; brick red individuals are also sometimes seen. Their distinctive hind wings are black with a yellow border, which give a vague resemblance to a mourning cloak butterfly when in flight. They are strong, sometimes erratic, flyers. Prior to 1976, Carolina grasshoppers (then called Carolina locusts) were prevalent along roadsides, in old fields and by hedgerows, and in scattered remnant tallgrass prairies in southeastern Wisconsin. The populations of this common grasshopper appeared to be stable in my early surveys from 1976 through 2010. In 2012, populations began to decline; this has continued through 2023.

The following is a summary of sightings I made of this common grasshopper during my many trips to Barnes Prairie. In 1976, there were also numerous large orb weavers on the prairie: a few cross orb weavers (European cross orb weaver, European orb weaver), many yellow garden spiders (black and yellow argiope) and banded argiope. There was a significant decline in the populations of these spiders in 2011.

Below is a summary of my observations from various years, beginning in 1976 and ending in 2023. Month, Day and Comments have been left as they were written.

Year, No. of Carolina grasshoppers, Month, Day and Comments

1976, numerous, Sept. 4 along gravel at roadside, and in prairie.
Counted 5 in about eight feet.

1977, many, Aug. 27 hot and humid. Flying Carolina locusts from gravel
where I parked the car, and at almost every footstep I made
into this prairie remnant. Four were counted in European

orb weaver webs, one in a black and yellow argiope web.

1978, many, Sept. 2 A lot of Carolina locusts flying on roadside and
prairie. Several seen on road, also, were dead.

1980, numerous, Aug. 31 Flying grasshoppers numerous, some in orb weaver
webs. Saw one fly into a European cross orb weaver web.

1991, numerous, Sept. 1 cool, windy. Carolina locusts numerous, along with
a lot of other grasshoppers I could not ID.

1996, numerous, Aug. 24 hot. Out with daughter looking at spiders. Largest
prey seen in the numerous orb weaver webs (European
cross orb weaver and black and yellow argiope) were
grasshoppers. Six of 11 could be ID'd as Carolina locusts.
We flushed a lot of them while walking here; good news
for the spiders.

1998, many, Aug. 29 Many Carolina grasshoppers, flying alongside
gravel and in the prairie.

2006, numerous, Aug. 26 great weather for a survey, mid 70s. Numerous
Carolina locusts flying over gravel at roadside, and in
prairie; not counted but thought to be over 40 just at
roadside. Walked 300 feet before entering the prairie.
Numerous locusts in prairie remnant also, along with
monarchs (4) many small moths, not identified, buckeye
(3), and over a dozen cabbage whites.

2010, many, Aug. 28 Temp in 80s, fewer Carolina locusts seen than last
year. The dog is jumping up and occasionally catching
locusts at the gravel roadside. Estimate about 30
grasshoppers in about 200 feet by the gravel.

2012, many, Sept. 1 CL’s (Carolina locusts) flying into cars and hitting
me as I walked from gravel roadside into prairie remnant.
Many in the remnant also. Counted 18 in about 200 feet,
which was less than I’d seen in past years.

2015, few, Aug. 22, late afternoon. Not a lot of Carolina locusts, but
there are also some other grasshopper spp. here.

2017, 8, Late August. Few Carolina locusts, only counted eight. Only
one orb weaver, Eurasian cross, seen, but there are two
worn webs. Few species of other grasshoppers couldn’t get
IDs. Some bottle flies present, two pearl crescents, one
eastern tailed blue, three monarchs and three European
mantises. Many cabbage whites in nearby field.

2018, few, Aug. 24, afternoon, light rain has stopped. A few Carolina
locusts scattered along one mile stretch of grassy degraded

2019, 6, Aug. 18 cloudy, afternoon, light rain earlier. CL’s (Carolina

locusts) scattered. Five counted flying or resting on grasses,

ground. Another being dismembered by a European mantis,
on buckthorn.

2021, 1, Sept. 1 One Carolina locust at weedy section of the prairie.

2022, 2, During four late July surveys, no CL’s seen. One CL (Carolina

grasshopper) on August 17, one on Aug. 24.

2023, 3, August 18, 26. Two Carolina locusts on the 18th, one on the
26th. During surveys in earlier August, none seen.

Carolina grasshoppers were not the only insects to decline in numbers over these years. Reductions in the numbers of many other insects have also occurred. Native orb-weaving spider populations here have also greatly declined.

Possible causes for the decrease in numbers of Carolina locusts:
Increase in the numbers of European mantis on this prairie remnant. The first mantis was seen here was in 2012. Three were found in August 2017. Eight were found in Late August of 2023, along an 800-foot stretch of the prairie. In 2017, adults and children were seen releasing mantises onto this prairie.

The climate has been changing here; we now have late, cold springs, drier summers, warmer and wetter falls and winters. Some winters have little snow.

Increase in the number of invasive shrubs, especially honeysuckle and buckthorn.

Changes in herbaceous vegetation; patches of invasive thistles and reed canary grass have greatly increased, and many prairie insects and spiders are not found in these areas.

The number of bald-faced hornets has not increased in this area, however; there are German yellowjacket hornets, flesh flies, tachinid flies and other predatory insects in the area. Population dynamics of these insects have not been recorded during the surveys.

Glyphosates have been used on nearby properties since the late 1970s. They are not used on the prairie, but may have drifted onto this area.

So far as I have been able to find out, there is no known use nearby of neonicotinoids.

Other unknown factors may also be at play here.

Publicado el diciembre 29, 2023 11:43 TARDE por bkis bkis | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de diciembre de 2023

Phidippus clarus, Brilliant Jumping Spider, Caught by a Larger Brilliant Jumper when it Jumped to a Lower Leaf at Barnes Tallgrass Prairie Remnant, Racine Co., WI. July 17, 2023

In the early morning of July 17, 2023, I was photographing brilliant jumpers at a Barnes tallgrass prairie remnant. I had seen 15 Phidippus clarus and gotten good pictures of 9 when I spotted a small brilliant jumper on a shrub leaf, about 28 inches from the ground. I froze when I saw this spider, and it froze when it saw me. After backing up and getting my vintage Olympus camera ready, I carefully approached my subject. This little jumper was wary, and kept moving, even while I was still. As I focused on this small spider, I noticed a larger brilliant jumper on a leaf which was about 6 inches below and a couple of inches behind the leaf my subject spider was on. The larger spider was moving back and forth, seemingly following the movements of the silhouette of the little jumper above.

Just as I thought I had a shot, the small Phidippus clarus jumped off the leaf, right onto the leaf below. I got a fuzzy picture of the large jumper catching him, then took about 30 pics of the larger spider with the small spider prey. It took less than half a minute from my missed shot of the small spider jumping, to the time the larger spider caught and carried it off.

I’ve attached a few of the better pictures. I wonder…if I hadn’t been there at this opportune moment, and startled the small spider, would it have stayed on the leaf above, or at least seen the larger P. clarus on the leaf below?

Publicado el diciembre 11, 2023 02:11 MAÑANA por bkis bkis | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de diciembre de 2023

Observations of Pelegrina galathea , Peppered Jumping Spiders, on Barnes Tallgrass Prairie Remnants, Racine Co., WI 2017-2023

Pelegrina galathea, peppered jumping spiders, are often found from June through September on forbs and low shrubs at Barnes tallgrass prairie remnants in Racine County, WI. They share these remnants with Phidippus clarus, brilliant jumpers, which are often abundant from June through August. Phidippus princeps, grayish jumpers, are commonly seen from August through early October. Also present from July through September are Thomasidae, crab spiders and Dictyna sp. a small mesh weaver. Argiope aurantia, black and yellow garden spiders which were abundant in past years, now are rarely seen. There are a few Argiope trifasciata, banded garden spiders, on webs in the grassy areas. Lycosidae, wolf spiders, are commonly seen running over the grass.

Peppered jumpers were most often found where there were semi-open areas of flowering forbs, and at the edge of the hedge row, where one was seen on black cherry. They were found on plants from 22 to 40 inches above the ground.

The following is a summary of sightings by date, numbers of peppered jumping spiders seen and plants they were found on.

Date, No. of spiders seen, Plants they were found on, height above ground

Sept. 1, 2017, 1, Sweet black-eyed Susan flower

July 30, 2018, 1, common milkweed leaf, abt. 30” above ground
Aug. 18, 2018, 1, goldenrod stem, abt. 32” above ground
Sept. 8, 2018, 1, black cherry, P. serotina, branch abt. 40” above ground
Sept. 9, 2018, 1, Sweet black-eyed Susan flower, abt. 36” above ground

Sept. 16, 2019, 1, gray headed coneflower, flower 38” above ground

Sept. 2, 2020, 1, sweet black-eyed Susan flower, abt. 34” above ground

Aug. 10, 2021, 1, goldenrod leaf, abt. 30” above ground
Sept. 10, 2021, 1, Sweet black-eyed Susan petal, abt. 30” above ground
Sept. 13, 2021, 1, black eyed Susan flower, abt. 34” above ground
Sept. 15, 2021, 1, underside of coneflower head, abt. 34” above ground
Sept 15, 2021, 1, under Black-eyed Susan flower, abt. 30” above ground

July 28, 2022, 1, not logged
July 31, 2022, 1, goldenrod stem, abt. 24” above ground
Aug.16, 2022, 1, black-eyed Susan flower abt. 37” above ground
Aug. 22, 2022, 1, goldenrod leaf, abt. 27” above ground, with prey

June 7, 2023, 1, low growing shrub leaf abt. 25” above ground
July 1, 2023, 1, teasel, abt. 22” above ground

July 6, 2023, 1, aster leaf, abt. 29” above ground
July 8, 2023, 1, common buckthorn stem, abt. 24” above ground
July 11, 2023, 1, aster leaf
Aug 1, 2023, 1, goldenrod leaf, about 29” above ground
Aug 1, 2023, 1, goldenrod stem, running down
Aug. 31, 2023, 1, not logged

Sept. 1, 2023, 1, not logged

No predation of these spiders was observed. Peppered jumper prey consisted of small, unidentified flies; a leafhopper; ants; Allograpta obliqua, oblique streaktail; and unidentified Toxomerus, hover flies.

Publicado el diciembre 8, 2023 10:04 TARDE por bkis bkis | 11 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de diciembre de 2023

Observations of Melanoplus scudderi, Scudder’s Short-winged Grasshoppers, on a Tallgrass Prairie Remnant in Racine Co., WI, 2017-2023

Scudder’s short-winged grasshoppers were found at Barnes Prairie, Racine Co. WI during surveys conducted from 2017-2023. Habitat consisted of a degraded tallgrass prairie with more than 40 native forbs and grasses, invasive herbaceous plants and scattered, non-native shrubs. Woody plants in a nearby narrow hedgerow consisted of bur oak, red or black oak, black walnut, sugar maple, hazelnut, non-native honeysuckle, prickly ash, brambles, and Virginia creeper. Most of the herbaceous plants in the hedgerow were Virginia waterleaf, Solomon’s seal, Starry false Solomon’s seal, Solomon’s plume, Virginia bluebells, Canadian honewort and violets.

The following is a summary of sightings by date, numbers of grasshoppers seen, plants the grasshoppers were found on and comments. All grasshoppers were found on the tallgrass prairie; none were seen in the hedgerow.

Date, No. of Grasshoppers Seen, Plants Grasshoppers Were On, Comments

Sept. 1, 2017, 2, Common milkweed, m/f mating

Sept. 8, 2018, 1, Common milkweed leaf

Oct. 3, 2019, 1, Grasses,

Sept 19, 2020, 1, Bur oak leaf on the ground

Sept. 15, 2022, 1, Common milkweed leaf

Oct. 5, 2022, 1, Unidentified shrub leaf

Sept. 7, 2023, 1, Goldenrod leaf

Sept. 12, 2023, 2, Goldenrod flowers, appeared to be
eating pollen

Sept. 16, 2023, 1, Grasses

Oct. 15, 2023, 1, Oak leaf on the ground

Predation by European Mantis
On September 12, 2023, a European mantis on a goldenrod leaf was seen with Scudder’s short-winged grasshopper prey.

Publicado el diciembre 6, 2023 02:33 TARDE por bkis bkis | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de diciembre de 2023

Observations of Chinese mantis, Tenodera sinensis , and prey at Chiwaukee Prairie, Kenosha Co., WI on Aug 29, 2020

During a migratory monarch butterfly count at Chiwaukee Prairie on Aug 29, 2020, our party encountered three Tenodera sinensis. Two were found on shrubs, and one was on prairie blazing star. All three mantids were observed for about an hour.

Chinese mantis 1, on a shrub (common buckthorn) adjacent to prairie blazing star and goldenrod, caught a monarch, a bumblebee and a syrphid fly. These insects, foraging on the blazing star and goldenrod flowers, were caught when they were about the same height from the ground as the mantis. Found in the area under the mantis were unidentified clear insect wings, parts of monarch wings and blue butterfly wings resembling those of an eastern tailed blue.

Chinese mantis 2 was also on a shrub; species of this shrub was not logged. The shrub was near false sunflower and prairie blazing star flowers. It was eating a grasshopper. Caught in the shrub branches and on the ground under the mantis were monarch wings, yellow sulphur butterfly wings, tiger swallowtail wings, small tan wings which might have been from a skipper, clear wings, and unidentified parts of insects.

Chinese mantis 3 was found on prairie blazing star and was observed catching a honeybee that landed on these flowers. After finishing its meal, the mantid caught a syrphid fly that came to these flowers. Monarch wings were found on the grasses adjacent to the blazing star.

Publicado el diciembre 1, 2023 02:59 TARDE por bkis bkis | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de noviembre de 2023

Decline in populations of Virginia ctenucha moths, Ctenucha virginica, at Barnes Tallgrass Prairie remnants, Racine Co. WI. From 1979 to 2023

Virginia ctenucha, a day-flying tiger moth, was commonly seen at Barnes Prairie remnants from 1978 until 2004. In recent years, their populations appear to be declining. Although there has not been a reduction in acreage of the area surveyed, some of the adjacent farmland has been developed into housing and commercial use, which increased in 2000.

Surveys were conducted biweekly from mid-June through mid-August between 1978 and 2015. Surveys were conducted as described in Comments between 2016 and 2023. The table below shows the Date with the most moths observed on a single day in the summer, from 1978 through 2019. Observations made on multiple days are combined in the Moths Counted column for the years 2020-2023.

Year, Moths Counted, Date, Comments

1978, 15, June 18, Most on common yarrow, also on daisy

1979, 17, June 16, Mid 80s F SW strong wind, partly cloudy.
On common yarrow, fleabane, daisy; count
made in early afternoon.

1984, 19, June 17, On common yarrow and fleabane.

1987, 8, July 19, Hot day, 90s F, flowers wilting.

1990, 12, Mid July, On common yarrow, common milkweed,
thistle, gray-headed coneflower and grasses.

1994, 13, Mid July, On common yarrow, common milkweed,

1996, 14, 2nd wk in July, On common yarrow, common milkweed,
ox-eye daisy, grasses.

2000, 9, June 11, Noon, 80 F, on yarrow, thistle.

2004, 11, June 16, Afternoon. 3 on one common yarrow. Other
Nectar plants included daisy fleabane,
thistle, common yarrow. Two were found on
grass leaves. One on teasel leaf.

2008, 3, Mid June, No other information.

2012, 6, June 8, Common yarrow and grass.

2015, 4, August 11, 3 on Queen Anne’s lace, one on thistle.

2016, 3, August 6, No other information available.

2017, 1, August 7, Goldenrod.

2018, 6, June 19, No other information available.

2019, 0, Summer, None seen in late May, June and July,
weekly surveys.

2020, 3, Summer, June 8 (daisy fleabane), June 19 (grass),
July 2 (thistle)

2021, 2, Summer, June 27, one on common teasel leaf. July 8,
no other information available for this date.

2022, 0, Summer, None seen in late May, June and July,
weekly surveys.

2023, 0, Summer, None seen, weekly surveys late May
through August.

Although moth populations have fluctuated between years, there has been a noticeable decline since 2004. Possible causes may be an increase in number of European mantids and/or other predators, earlier mowing of nearby hayfields and meadows, use of pesticides, increase in the number of persons walking in the prairie areas, collecting butterflies and possibly moths, wilting of flowers during dry summers, and/or lower survival rate of overwintering caterpillars due to reduced snow cover. There has been an increase in the use of “bug zappers” in nearby neighborhoods since 2000, but I’m not clear as to whether these moths are attracted to them in early evening or night.

Publicado el noviembre 30, 2023 03:59 TARDE por bkis bkis | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de noviembre de 2023

Summary of sightings of Phidippus princeps, grayish jumping spiders, at Barnes Tallgrass Prairie Remnants, Racine Co., WI in 2023

Phidippus princeps, grayish jumping spiders, are commonly seen on two Barnes tallgrass prairie remnants in Racine County, WI. Remnant 1 is a fine quality native prairie, with over 80 species of native plants. Remnant 2 is an old field with a native, degraded prairie border. Invasive grasses, native grasses, about 40 species of scattered native forbs, several species of native shrubs, and non-native shrubs, mainly common buckthorn, are found here. Over 30 spiders were seen and photographed from Aug. 30 through to November 2, 2023 at these remnants.

Spiders were found on following plants:
Monarda fistulosa: leaves, stems, seed heads
Common buckthorn: leaves, stems
Common milkweed: leaves, stems
Gray dogwood: leaves, stems
Goldenrod sp.: stem

Spiders were seen with the following prey:
Unidentified small flies
Unidentified ants
Ants, species Subgenus Cautolasius Lasius neoniger Complex
Ants, Formica pallidefulva

Observation of Phidippus princeps catching prey
Date and time: September 9, 2023, 1:34 PM
Location: On common milkweed leaf
Comments: Many Cautolasius and Lasius ants were seen flying on this day.
This small spider was near the axil of a common milkweed leaf, with its abdomen near the stem. An ant landed approximately two inches away from the spider, about an inch from the tip of this leaf, as the ant moved closer to the spider, the spider slowly moved towards it, jumped out and caught it.

Publicado el noviembre 19, 2023 11:15 TARDE por bkis bkis | 29 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de noviembre de 2023

Interactions between Megarhyssa macrurus ssp. macrurus, long-tailed giant ichneumonid wasp and Tremex columba, pigeon horntail, and on a sugar maple tree on July 8, 2023, at a Barnes Prairie hedge row, Racine County, WI

Walking along a hedgerow adjacent to Barnes Prairie on a humid, 82F degree late afternoon on July 8, 2023, I heard a “clacking” sound. In the hedgerow, I saw a long-tailed giant ichneumonid wasp on the trunk of a sugar maple tree, which appeared to be making this noise. The possible reason for her agitation seemed to be a second long-tailed giant ichneumonid wasp, which had come into view on the tree trunk. When it appeared, the first ichneumonid wasp ran towards it. The second ichneumonid wasp flew, but from my vantage point, I could see it landing on the back of the tree trunk.

The maple tree that these ichneumonid wasps were on had a trunk diameter of approximately 24 inches, 6 feet above the ground. There were several dead branches on the tree, however; about three-quarters of the branches were leafy.

I turned my attention back to the first ichneumonid wasp. She was walking, then “freezing” and I became aware of a pigeon horntail, seemingly oblivious to the ichneumonid wasp, which was about a foot from her. The pigeon horntail was walking around in a small area below the dead branches, stopping periodically. The ichneumonid wasp began to slowly arc back and forth around the pigeon horntail. From time to time, the second ichneumonid wasp appeared on this side of the tree. The first ichneumonid wasp either ran towards it or flew at it. The second wasp flew or ran around the trunk of the tree, out of view.

For about a minute, the first ichneumonid continued to walk back and forth at the sides of the pigeon horntail, at a distance of about 3 inches to over 12 inches, “freezing” when the pigeon horntail moved. The pigeon horntail found the spot she was looking for and began laying eggs in the tree. After a short time, she flew off. The ichneumonid flew away a few seconds later.

Was the ichneumonid wasp’s interest in the pigeon horntail to mark or remember this area, which with an eye to revisit it at a future date? I made my rounds by this tree several times after July 8, but didn’t see any giant ichneumonid wasps or pigeon horntails on these trips.

I had photographed a giant ichneumonid wasp on this same tree trunk, about 6 feet from the ground, on June 29, 2023, in an area a few inches away from where the pigeon horntail had laid her eggs on July 8. I watched as the ichneumonid landed, and head and antennae down, walked along the bark of the tree, possibly detecting the smell/movement of pigeon tremex larva. After about a minute and a half, she began laying eggs into the tree trunk. Her efforts took about 5 minutes (about 5:06 to 5:10 PM), then she flew away.

I have numerous photos of these two wasps, not included in this journal entry. Contact me if interested in seeing them.

Publicado el noviembre 17, 2023 11:49 TARDE por bkis bkis | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de noviembre de 2023

Proximity of longhorn bees, Melissodes bimaculatus to cuckoo bees, Triepeolus sp. (some of which were identified as Triepeolus lunatus) during summer 2023 on a tallgrass prairie remnant, Racine Co., WI.

Larva of cuckoo bees, Triepeolus lunatus, are cleptoparasitic on Melissodes bimaculatus. In 2023, I made numerous trips to Barnes prairie and observed both species, which were found in close proximity to each other. Some of my observations are summarized below.

During late spring and summer, a number of Melissodes sp. (many identified as M. bimaculatus, two spotted longhorn bees), were observed on a section of Barnes Prairie in Racine County, WI, which was about 2,500 square feet in area. The site was located on a slight slope, with grasses and over 40 species of native and non-native forbs. A hedgerow to the south held the remains of a decaying woodpile.

During the day, bees were seen foraging on the following flowers:
June: Carolina rose, woodland poppy, purple clover, wild geranium
July: Wild bergamot, motherwort, bidens, lance-leaf coreopsis, thistle, common milkweed
August: Purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, brown-eyed Susan, vervain, chicory, sunflowers

Counts were taken early morning, after sunrise, or early evening, before sunset, of male longhorn bees resting on grass leaves, aster leaves and stems, and goldenrod leaves and stems within an 18 square foot area. The plants that the bees rested on changed every few days, but stayed within this area for the entire time they were observed.

Date, No of longhorn bees counted
July 6, 2023, 14
July 7, 2023, 4
July 10, 2023, 14
July 11, 2023, 14
July 12, 2023, 11
July 13, 2023, 9
July 15, 2023, 9
July 16, 2023, 9
July 19, 2023, 6
July 20, 2023, 14
July 22, 2023, 8
July 27, 2023, 9

In addition to these bees, solitary longhorn bees were also found in early evening on grass or aster plants about one foot from an area where there were several resting cuckoo bees, Triepeolus sp. (several identified as T. lunatus).

Date, Number of longhorn bees found near cuckoo bees
July 27, 1
Aug. 6, 1

An apparent Melissodes bimaculatus, longhorn bee, nest location was found by the hedgerow, near a rotting woodpile. One bee was seen entering a hole in the ground on July 18. On July 27, late afternoon, a longhorn bee was seen going into this hole. Stems of a gray dogwood shrub were approximately two feet from the hole. This presumed nest was approximately 15 feet from the area where cuckoo bees were seen resting in early morning and late afternoon, and about 50 feet from the resting male longhorn bees.

Resting cuckoo bees, Triepeolus sp. (Triepeolus lunatus), were counted and photographed in early morning, after sunrise, or late afternoon, before sunset. Bees were resting on stems of native and non- native grasses, on annual non native plants, and on aster leaves and stems. The bees relocated to different plants of the same species every few days, but stayed within a several square foot area for the entire time they were observed. These resting bees were located approximately 35 feet from the resting longhorn bees.

Date, No of cuckoo bees counted
July 7, 2023, 1
July 18, 2023, 4
July 19,2023, 4
July 20, 2023, 4
July 22, 2023, 2
July 27, 2023, 3
Aug. 6, 2023, 3

In addition to these sightings, there were two instances in the early evening where resting cuckoo bees were found on aster stems or leaves, located approximately two feet from the groups of resting longhorn bees.

Date, No of cuckoo bees near longhorn bees
July 19, 2023, 1
July 27, 2023, 1

During the day, cuckoo bees were seen foraging on several flower species:
July: Lance-leaf coreopsis, black-eyed Susan, alsike or hybrid clover.

No cuckoo bees were seen entering the hole the longhorn bees had entered by the hedgerow. The hybrid clover cuckoo bees frequented was located several feet from the presumed longhorn bee nest.

Publicado el noviembre 15, 2023 04:25 TARDE por bkis bkis | 26 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario