Archivos de diario de agosto 2023

04 de agosto de 2023

July 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

The 2nd Maria Miner Bee ever documented in Vermont visits one of its floral favorites, the blooms of the Interior Sandbar Willow. ©

Congratulations to @beeboy for winning the July 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His exciting record of a rare bee species received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

Not only does this iNaturalist observation showcase a stunning specialist bee on its favorite pollen-provider, it also marks an exciting second record of this species that has recently been discovered in Vermont. As the coordinator of the Vermont Wild Bee Survey, Spencer has searched the state far and wide for bees just like this individual. Specialist bees, like the Maria Miner Bee, are picky when it comes to which pollen they will provide for their offspring. Some of these pollen-specialists prefer the pollen of plants that are rare or unevenly distributed across the state. If a plant is rare you can expect any species that depend on that plant to be even rarer, which is what brought Spencer to a grove of Interior Sandbar Willow trees on the shores of Lake Champlain. The jury’s still out on whether this species is truly rare or simply overlooked, and iNaturalist records such as this one can help fill in our knowledge of pollinators like the Maria Miner Bee in Vermont. Want to help the Vermont Center for Ecostudies track down rare bees? Check out our Most Wanted list and the list of specialist bees by host plant offered on the Vermont Wild Bee Survey website.

With 34,697 observations submitted by 2,210 observers in July, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

Publicado el agosto 4, 2023 11:07 TARDE por nsharp nsharp | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de agosto de 2023

Join the 7th Annual Vermont Monarch Blitz (July 28 - August 13)

The annual Vermont Monarch Monitoring Blitz is back for a 7th edition! From July 28 to August 13, 2023, join the blitz to help us get a snapshot of Monarch populations in Vermont before migration.

Mission Monarch is a community science program to gather data on Monarch and Milkweed distribution and abundance each year during the breeding season. Participants find milkweed, look for Monarchs (eggs, larvae, and adults) and share their observations with us on the Mission Monarch website. It allows us to get an annual snapshot of how Monarchs are faring in Vermont and beyond.

Participation is simple! Just complete one or more missions during the Blitz between July 28 through August 13 and add your observations to Mission Monarch. Conducting a mission is easy and fun! From backyards to mountain meadows, all you need is a place where milkweed is growing. 

What is a mission?
Conducting a mission and participating in Mission Monarch is simple and fun! To conduct a mission, just follow the following steps:

  1. Find milkweed - Go outside and look for milkweed. It can be wild as well as cultivated milkweed. To learn how to recognize milkweed and know where to find it, click here.
  2. Search for monarchs - Carefully examine milkweed plants, looking for monarch eggs and caterpillars. They can be on or under leaves, in flowers or on fruits. It is important to look everywhere! Note the number milkweed stems you examined. It can be just one stem or a hundred; it’s up to you! Count the number of eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis and adults you find. Even if you find none, please report it.
  3. Write down your observations - Count and write down the number milkweed stems you examine. You may count only one stem or a hundred; it’s up to you! Write down the number of caterpillars you find. If several species of milkweed are growing at the location of your survey, count the stems and associated caterpillars separately. Even if you find no monarchs, please reporting it.
  4. Back home, go to Mission Monarch and submit your data.

Join and learn more about the mission at the Vermont Atlas of Life website.

Publicado el agosto 7, 2023 03:44 TARDE por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de agosto de 2023

Bumblebee Photographed in Backyard is a New Species for Vermont

It took a photo, a drawing, a naturalist’s boundless curiosity, and bee experts from across the nation for Vermont to claim a new bumblebee species for the state last week.

In 2008, artist and naturalist Susan Sawyer snapped a beautiful photo of a bumblebee in her yard. “I took this and many other photos of bees in my yard over the years,” said Susan. “In 2016, when I needed to draw a bumblebee, I used this one to work from.” She showed it to VCE staff at the time, and we knew it was a cuckoo bumblebee, but we weren’t sure which species. Then, we forgot about it. “The VCE team had ideas about what it was, but I don’t think they were 100% certain, with only this one photo; so, the drawing’s title was just Bombus sp., a Cuckoo Bumblebee,” she said.

A few weeks ago, Spencer Hardy, VAL wild bee expert, joined Susan and staff from Four Winds Nature Institute to teach them about native bees. She remembered the bee in question and showed him the drawing. He knew immediately it was a cuckoo bumblebee and might be an interesting record. Spencer asked her to post the original photo to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist so he could easily share it with other experts to get their opinion too.

Right away, Zach Portman, a bee taxonomist at the University of Minnesota, made the identification—Indiscriminate Cuckoo Bumblebee (Bombus insularis). Bumblebee expert Leif Richardson from the Xerces Society took a close look and agreed. World expert John Ascher, an Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore and Research Associate at Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, concurred.

The Indiscriminate Bumblebee is native to western mountains and northern areas of North America. It belongs to the subgenus Psithyrus, the cuckoo bumblebees, which are social parasites of other bumblebees. The queens enter the nest of a host species, kill the resident queen, and then live and lay eggs in the nest. The host workers are forced by aggression and pheromones to rear the offspring.

This species has declined in some areas and disappeared from a few parts of its historical range. NatureServe ranks the Indiscriminate Bumblebee as globally vulnerable (G3), with Maine ranking it critically imperiled (S1) and New York calling it possibly extirpated (SH). Some of its host species have faced significant declines as well. Potential threats include habitat loss, pesticides, pathogens from domesticated bees, competition from introduced bees, and climate change.

Want to help VAL track bumblebees and other pollinators? Join the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist, snap images of the bees in your neighborhood, and add your sightings to the project. Susan’s finding shows how much you can discover in your own yard, local parks, and nearby greenspaces!

Publicado el agosto 23, 2023 07:37 TARDE por kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario