Animal Lovers' Blog

Beetles In The Bush

This summer I’ve spent quite a few nights hanging out along the Mississippi River—lamp on my head, vials in my pocket, and an ultraviolet (UV) light setup on the sandy banks. UV light collecting for insects (also called “blacklighting”) is a popular method among us beetlers, but for a number of reasons it’s been a while since I’ve done a lot of heavy blacklighting myself. That all changed this year when I decided I needed to get a better handle on the Missouri distribution of two species of tiger beetles, Ellipsoptera cuprascens and E. macra, found only in sandy habitats along the shores of the state’s two big rivers—the Missouri and Mississippi—and, fortuitously, attracted to blacklights at night. Blacklighting alongside these big rivers is a relatively new experience for me, as my previous experiences have been mostly in forests—either here in the Midwest or out in the desert southwest. Along the big rivers…

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