Archivos de diario de noviembre 2023

10 de noviembre de 2023

Summary of Observations of Araneus pratensis, openfield orbweaver, at Barnes Tallgrass Prairie Remnants, Racine Co., WI. in 2023

Araneus pratensis, a small, colorful orbweaver, has historically been found on segments of the original tallgrass prairie in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties which was known as Barnes Prairie, as related to me by neighbors when I was a child. Neighbors, relatives and friends of my family, living in Racine and Walworth Counties, whom I interviewed in the late 1950s as a child, called this spider the “little, colorful web spider” or a “red and orange striped small web making spider”. Two of the women I interviewed told me that they were common along the (unmown) roadsides, between unplowed fields, and in the wildflower fields (original tallgrass prairie remnants).
Due to development of these lands to housing, highways, industry and commercial business over the last 50 years, only a few areas of native tallgrass prairie remained as of 2023. My surveys were at several of these now-degraded native tallgrass prairie remnants in Racine County.

Araneus pratensis were typically found in drier areas of the prairie where shorter grasses and forbs were predominant. Gray dogwood and prickly ash were often seen in these areas. Areas of goldenrod, white gentian, common milkweed, aster and taller grasses also held populations of these small arachnids.

A Total of 45 Spiders were seen and photographed in late summer and early fall, 2023. Photos were taken during the day, from early morning to late afternoon.

Date, No. of Spiders
Aug. 30, 2023, 1
Sept. 7, 2023, 1
Sept. 9, 2023, 5
Sept 16, 2023, 18
Sept. 18, 2023, 9
Sept. 20, 2023, 5
Oct. 2, 2023, 3
Oct. 18, 2023, 1
Oct. 24, 2023, 2

Web anchor plants
Plants that webs, with spiders on them, were attached to, included short grasses, goldenrod leaves and grasses, webs connected to common milkweed leaves and between a gray dogwood leaf and grass. Several spiders were found on common milkweed pods, not on their webs.

Web hub/center height and comments
Heights varied, with the shortest being about 7” from the ground. Many were between 9 and 14 inches from the ground. Highest hubs were seen between 28 and 32 inches from the ground.
Two webs with A. pratensis were located adjacent to the webs of Argiope trifasciata. One of these was connected to the same blade of grass that the banded argiope web was anchored to.

On October 16, a number of winged ants were seen in webs. Also seen were unidentified small flies.

Publicado el noviembre 10, 2023 03:29 TARDE por bkis bkis | 33 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de noviembre de 2023

Bumblebee Species found on several Barnes Tallgrass Prairie Remnants, Racine Co., WI in 2023

In numerous surveys conducted at Barnes Prairie, Racine Co from early June through mid- September 2023, seven species of bumblebees were observed: Bombus affinis, B. bimaculatus, B. borealis, B. fervidus, B. griseocollis, B. impatiens and B. rufocinctus. A summary of sightings for each of these bumblebees, including forage plants, follows.

Bombus affinis, rusty-patched bumblebee
Dates seen: July 28, 2023; August 1, 2023
Forage plants: wild bergamot, purple coneflower, Culver’s root

Bombus bimaculatus, two spotted bumblebee
Dates seen: May 30, 2023: June 5, 2023; June 10, 2023; July 11, 2023; August 10, 2023
Forage plants: Virginia waterleaf, Carolina rose, thistle, wild bergamot, purple coneflower

Bombus borealis, northern amber bumblebee
Date seen: August 1, 2023
Forage plant: wild bergamot

Bombus fervidus, golden northern bumblebee
Dates seen: June 6, 2023; July 3, 2023; July 17, 2023; July 20, 2023; July 28, 2023
Forage plants: hoary puccoon, purple clover, teasel, wild bergamot, thistle

Bombus griseocollis, brown-belted bumblebee
Dates seen: June 30, 2023; July 28, 2023; Aug. 1, 2023; Aug. 6, 2023; Aug. 12, 2023
Forage plants: lance-leaved coreopsis, common milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, thistle, prairie blazing star, goldenrod

Bombus impatiens, common eastern bumblebee
Dates seen: June 1, 2023; June 30, 2023; August 6, 2023; August 12, 2023; Aug 21, 2023; September 16, 2023
Forage plants: purple clover, common milkweed, wild bergamot, goldenrod, aster

Bombus rufocinctus, red-belted bumblebee
Dates seen: June 1, 2023; August 1, 2023; August 9, 2023; August 16, 2023
Forage plants: Virginia waterleaf, purple coneflower, gray-headed coneflower, black-eyed Susan, Culver’s root

Publicado el noviembre 13, 2023 03:11 TARDE por bkis bkis | 14 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

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

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

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