Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Photos from James

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bugstock article

Bugstock article posted in Times of Acadiana:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pleasing fungus beetle - 8/3/07

Add another species to the Bugstock list: Megalodacne heros: "Pleasing fungus beetle":

I found this while Travis and I were searching the bottom area near the front pasture in the dark; looking for dung to feed my beetles. I spotted the end of it poking out from under a bracket fungi. We also drove up to Big L but did not find very much. We did find a Phileurus truncatus as we were leaving.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Bugstock summary

Bugstock summary

All those who attended Bugstock, 2007 owe a huge thanks to our host, Steven Barney, his entire family, and Travis Huval! After a lot of work on a house whose construction is still underway and an equal amount of work on trail-making, these folks got “The Farm” in Washington, LA ready for this first time event.

The idea - originally Steven’s - was to gather people from Louisiana with an interest in insects and other arthropods for a couple of days and nights during which time we could socialize and observe and collect critters. The 130 acres we had access to presented a terrific mix of hardwood forest, open fields, and aquatic habitats (and one cannot discount the house itself, for under what other structure would we have found ant lions?).

Some attendees (totaling around 20) arrived on Friday and had to leave on Saturday, some came Saturday and left on Sunday, and still others made a 3-day weekend out of it. Both the house on the Barney property and in-town lodging were used, but sleeping was a minor concern, really... we were after bugs!

Both day and night collecting were very productive, and regardless of any given person’s area of interest, I think it’s safe to say everyone was pretty pleased with what was found. In terms of overall diversity, here is a sampling of what we found: 36 spider species, 48 beetle species, 22 butterfly species, 11 odonate species, 24 fly and mosquito species, 24 hymenopterans, and 15 species of true bugs. This is certainly only a fraction of what is out there; neither was this an attempt to catalogue every arthropod nor did our group have the expertise to do so. Even with this in mind let me reiterate, as one who has poked around plenty for bugs in Louisiana, that this was a good couple of days!

Numerically, there were some insects that were collected in good numbers on account of varying desires: water scorpions, fiery searchers, carrion beetles, predaceous diving beetles, water scavenger beetles, spotted pelidnota beetles, giant water bugs, and whirligig beetles were among these. There was also a Saturday night trip about 40 miles north that landed us about 80-90 ox beetles (!) as well a trio each of unicorn beetles and stag beetles (a small number of at least 2 of these 3 species were collected at The Farm as well). That was a late night!

Speaking of nights, the three light rigs set up each night were quite productive. In fact, a lot of the aforementioned haul was from beetles, in particular, flying to said lights. We used a combination of UV and mercury vapor lights at each station. This is probably a good time to note that no one tracked all the microleps on our sheets, but we had plenty. There were also an unavoidable number small dung beetles, rice beetles, and (on Saturday) mayflies. We also saw a lot of nice moths, though nothing in extraordinary numbers. We had 5 saturniid species and a few pretty tiger moths and sphinx moths as well. During our relatively brief sleep on Friday and Saturday evenings, the frog and cricket choruses were exceptional in their volume.

Several insects were conspicuous during daylight and depending on where you were hanging out: paper wasps, tiger beetles, male velvet ants, and immature golden silk spiders were some of these. Finally, there were the neat surprises, and here I would have to include: purse web spiders (one established web that we assumed was of an adult female, one wandering adult male who was “introduced” to the web just cited), a live mourning cloak female and a dead one (not sexed), an as-yet unidentified cobweb weaver found under bark, a trio of thread-legged bugs, and several neat flies and wasps.

We were not without neat vertebrate sightings, too. A young cottonmouth made a Saturday appearance. The water snake activity along the edge of the pond was impressive, if for no other reason than they were so numerous in such a small body of water and their lack of shyness allowed for good viewing. Plenty of frogs around the pond, too.

To sum it up, this was a wonderful weekend of relaxed, productive “bugging.” We ate well, listened to a real quality bagpipe player in Michael Barney, and enjoyed great company. The subtropics in summer may be a tad hot, but there is a lot to be found!


Bugstock, 2007 was a success! Steven Barney and his “crew” did a lot of prep work in order to host about 20 Louisiana entomophiles at “The Farm” during the weekend of June 16th and 17th. The 125-acre tract in Washington, LA has good field, forest, and aquatic habitats, and we took advantage of this by collecting during the day (by hand and with nets) and night (with 3 lights used both Fri. and Sat.).

It would be hard to list all the neat stuff we saw - and there would be plenty of debate about what ought to be on the “neat” list - but the diversity of arthropods was quite good. We ate well and a lot of fun socializing, too. Let’s do it again!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Prophetic collecting forcast..

I think Michael saw into the future:

Friday, June 8, 2007

collecting forcast

I'm going to make the prediction that any bug collecting done during the upcoming "bugstock" weekend, will be rewarded with unusually large numbers of insects!
=As everyone knows, we've been spending all of our free time trying to get the farm ready for the big event. I was out there last weekend, and I managed to collect about 20 chiggers! Needless to say, I brought all of them home with me, and incubated them. (I KNOW!! 20 CHIGGERS!!!) And that was without even trying!! Imagine what I would have made off with if I had made any sort of attempt!! I'm sure this is a good sign!=


Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Big L" Run - 6/1/07

Michael, Travis, Emma and I traveled up to "Big L" again last Friday. We had started out just planning on setting up a light at the farm, but... you know how the farm is 1/2 way there.. (we were almost there anyway), plus I have a soft spot for "Big L" that got pushed on by the guys.

We setup at the farm then went for food (of course we couldn't just visit ONE drive through). We were all in the car with the flashlights and containers anyway; so we left from there. We had to gas-up on the way so we stopped by Pseudo-Sammy's. There were so many back-swimmers and other things flying around that there was a fog or cloud around the pumps. We sat at a safe distance for a moment, while I searched for charged batteries for my camera, and watched people attempting to fuel their vehicles: wiggling, swatting and cursing the air. We took some photos of the swarm (will post soon), then drove to real-Sammy's (I wasn't going to get out of the car in the middle of THAT storm). Sammy's was a little less infested.

Once there we hit: Lupé's, Chevron, "that one place where James found that huge Ox beetle" and the gas station that is over by Lee's. We found four Ox beetles (S. aloeus), mostly males, and some nice, big moths (after my run-in with "out of focus moth" I didn't try to take any pictures of them). We did not go to "tiger truck stop" but the furthest station had quite a few water beetles. Surprisingly, Lupé's didn't offer anything except for four or five Strategus that were the victims of hit-and-run accidents and an attendant that was wondering what we were doing; she must be new.

Back at the farm the sheet was nearly covered but there was nothing that we kept. The rig was so full of insects that we turned the lights off (Travis figured out a quick way to turn all the lights off at once) and left it there. I found out later that the quickest way to take down a rig is to run it over with a lawn mower (it was like the magic trick where you pull the table cloth out from under the stuff on the table: gone in a flash)


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Farm Visit

We recently had a great visit to the Farm. We met Steven’s parents who were hard at work clearing undergrowth around the cabin. Enjoyed socializing with their two fine dogs. The pond hosted numerous Odonata, including the uncommon Arigomphus maxwelli (Bayou Clubtail).
Value of having a bug on your shirt: When we left, we stopped at a eating place near Washington, and while we were selecting our food, I heard a quiet voice behind me, "Gayle?", I looked around and there was Steven whom we had not previously met. He had spotted the Dragonfly (picture) on Jeanell’s shirt, and guessed who we were.
To see our photos of creatures from the Farm, open BugGuide and enter Barney Farm in the search window.
Gayle & Jeanell

St. Landry Par. LA, Barney Farm, near Washington LA 19 May 2007
9:30 AM-12:30 PM, Clear, Temp 75-85.

Efferia aestuans male (images on BugGuide)
Promachus bastardi
Atomosia pusilla

Only Salticids - couple of Anasaitis canosa
Other spiders: Pair of Neoscona, probably arabesca (images on BugGuide)

Ischnura hastata- 4
Ischnura posita- 2
Argia tibialis- 10 (at Bayou Cortableau)
Arigomphus maxwelli- 4 (images on BugGuide)
Erythemis simplicicollis- 8
Pachydiplax longipennis- 20+
Pantala hymenaea- 1 (early LA flight date, previous 11 Jun.)
Perithemis tenera- 15+
Plathemis lydia- 40+
Tramea lacerata- 15+

No Crane flies!!

Several Tabanids, 2 or 3 probably new to our collection (images on BugGuide)

Long-horned Beetles: (images on BugGuide, see comments at dorsal view of each)
Strangalia luteicornis female
Strangalia famelica male (08 June 2007: After considerable discussion on BugGuide, make that S. solitaria)

Caterpillar, Geometrid, Nematocampa, probably resistaria (image on BugGuide)

Several Ribbon Snakes, some busily chasing frogs, also a very musical Bullfrog. Based on the volume of his reveberating song, not worried about any predator short of an Anaconda.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Contrary to what everyone is saying about our last "Big L" run, there was at least ONE great find! Quickly overlooked by both Steven, and Travis, I found this little "gem" on the ground right as I exited the vehicle. Here's the photographic evidence to backup my story. Look for yourself!!

By: Michael

Monday, May 21, 2007

Where are the photos? Yabb.

Hey ! Where are the Photographs of the all the progress you have made at the Farm ? Like: "Fish with Gun _ _ _ _ _ _ " , "Bloody Foot _ _ _ _ _ _ " and so on.

Umm! I'm pretty sure that the Moth was in focus. Possibly it may have been an "operator error" that caused such a strange phenomena. Or, perhaps a "mechanical error" within the camera. I'll go with the later explanation. Just don't blame the Moth. NOT NICE.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Big L" - Fri.- May 18

Well, Michael, Travis, Emma and I journeyed up to "Big L" Fri. evening. We all had a fun trip but didn't find much. Michael found something that he will post about and all I got was a photo I like to call "out of focus moth".


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Last Weekend... (5/13/07)

    Last Sunday Travis and I smoothed out the rough edges on the bridge that crosses over to Michael's hill. Basically, we flattened the top of a log with: a chain-saw, a hammer and two adzes. Boy was that easy! I wish we could do that once a week. Anyway, the bridge is quite a bit easier to cross now.
    We also finished the short trail to the portable restroom. It will be a nice, meandering hike through the woods. Oh, while cutting the beginning of this trail (two Sundays ago) I discovered two phasmids (D.femorata). The first was by accident while chopping through short brush. The second was by joke when I told Travis to shake the small tree he was standing next to. After that we went around shaking trees but didn't find any more.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Residual Austin images

Emma, Travis, Katherine and I took a trip over to Ft. Polk yesterday. Not very
many insects out but here are a few pics from the trip:

BL in BR - May 10

Last night we did a little blacklighting at the Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge, after having a nice dinner at Casa Maria. It was a nice night with very little wind, unlike the last time I was there in 2004 when the wind brought down my light rig.

Emma had a great time with the whole night and I enjoyed finding some juvenile lubbers in the weeds. We had two lights going at two different spots. Here are some pics:

- Steven
Given the number of people, the varied collecting techniques, the perfect weather conditions, and the diurnal/nocturnal combination of collecting time, I am surprised at how little we got volume-wise. Variety was good, though, and included:

wolf spider
long-jawed orb weavers
orb weavers
jumping spiders of at least 3 species
leaf beetles
scarab beetles
hydrophilids of at least 2 species
dytiscids of at least 3 species
water boatmen
whirligig beetles
dragonflies and damselflies of at least 9 species
giant water bugs
water scorpions
leaf-footed bugs
lubber grasshoppers
mud daubers of at least 2 species
crane flies
horse flies
moths of at least 6 families
mole crickets
various homopterans
eastern subterranean termites
fire ants
crawfish (duh!)
and things with backbones

- Zack

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bugstock fever

OK, since I can in fact post - no small feat for us Neandertals - I want to plug Bugstock in this way: for those reading who are not aware, south Louisiana has a terrific diversity of arthropods which, in the summer and fall, are hard to miss! As such, Steven Barney has taken it upon himself to plan and organize a gathering for insect and spider enthusiasts from the state (though I suppose anyone can come!) and host it on some family property. This should be a really fun day and night of collecting, meeting folks with similar interests, talking, and learning. This is a first-time event, so nothing's too fancy - the best way to make it great is to register to come and show up!

- Zack

Southeast LA report

I am new enough to "blogging" that I hope this post finds its way to the right site! Several things from the New Orleans area:
1) A late March black lighting trip to Des Allemends yielded a few neat beetles and moths. Of note: fiery searchers (6 or so) and large hydrophilids and dytiscids (12 in all, of thereabouts), hundreds of medium-sized dynastine scarabs (Dyscinetus morator), good number of fishflies, and a lot smaller moths that were nicely patterned.
2) Audubon Louisiana Nature Center was done wrong by Katrina - blackberry and tallow are far too prevalent, and nearly all the mature trees were killed. There are still good bugs out there, but there is no more understory for lack of big trees, and what was once passable ground is now impenetrable.
3) Spring sprung here a while back - my benchmarks for the closing of cooler temperatures are: crane fly mas emergence, thistle bloom, Eastern subterranena termite swarming (saw almost none this year), and reports of buck moth eggs hatching. This is followed by larger buck moth caterpillars, a few calls about honey bee swarms (which is better than mite infestations causing bee mortality to the point that one gets NO such calls), and Mexican primrose blooms along roadsides. Finally - and this has begun - the Formosan termites start swarming...and then you know it'll be hot enough for all manner of arthropods to start moving about.
4) Bugstock is coming!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wed 25th..

     On Wed. we went to Wild Basin for more hiking and more wondering why we decided to go on such a long hike when we get to the difficult and less-shady spot near the end of the loop. Here are some more photos:


Thanks, Travs...!!
    but don't call me wart....

Sunday, April 29, 2007

nice spider wart

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mon 23rd - Enchanted Rock

On Monday we drove two hours out to Enchanted Rock. This would more easily expressed as a series of pictures.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Austin, 21-22

We drove over to Austin on Sat:

On Sunday we went to the "Austin Nature and Science Center" and went on a hike:


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Hello folks,

We are heading to Austin for a week starting this Sat. I will try to post from there to keep you updated on any insects I meet.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

BugStock 2007

This year's BugStock will be held in Washington, St. Landry Parish, June 16th. Please e-mail Steven Barney at for more information.

More details to come!