June 11, 2018 First day ASIW

Today was the first full day of Art and Science in the Woods. The theme this year is “Explore!” Definitely something our group will be doing. I am most appreciative for all the help from Allison, Olivia, Elijah, and Mary. Students have a morning “major” class where we meet every morning throughout the week (and all day on Friday). They have “minor” classes each afternoon. This means, I see the same students every morning and get a different set every afternoon. Students taking the Illinois Insects class rang in age from 10 to 17. It is great fun to watch their enthusiasm and interest as they explore the prairie and woods of the Sun Foundation and vicinity.


Old growth pasture (this is where we encountered many species during our morning walk). We used a sweep net and beating sheet to observe many species. This is what the area looks like.

Old pasture with many woody plants present

We observed many dragonflies as we walked along the trails. Here is one example.

Two libellulid dragonflies resting in grass

Of course, we also got to experience the “hill.” This part of the trail is a bit steep and muddy.

Steep and muddy trail near the top of the hill.

We also examined many ant nests (we visited the large ant mounds I mentioned yesterday) and saw others (including this nest of Monomorium minimum along the gravel road near our tent). Those black dots are ants and are about 1 mm in length.

Monomorium minimum ant nest along gravel road

Insect taxa encountered

As we explored the fields and woods, we put together a list of insects we encountered. We were able to identify most to family level. I have organized these below (by order).

Order Coleoptera

  • Family Cantharidae (soldier beetles)
  • Family Cerambycidae (long horn beetles)
    • Tetraopes tetraopthalamus [milkweed beetle]
  • Family Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles)
  • Family Coccinellidae (lady beetles)
  • Family Curculionidae (weevils)
  • Family Lampyridae (fireflies)

Order Diptera

  • Family Bombyliidae (bee flies)
  • Family Culicidae (mosquitoes)
  • Family Muscidae (house flies)

Order Hemiptera

  • Family Cercopidae (spittle bugs)
  • Family Cicadellidae (leaf hoppers)
  • Family Coreidae (leaf-footed bugs)
  • Family Membracidae (tree hoppers)
  • Family Reduviidae (assassin bugs)
  • Family Scutelleridae (shield-backed bugs)

Order Hymenoptera

  • Family Apidae (bumble bees and honey bees)
  • Family Formicidae (ants)
    • Formica pallidefulva
    • Formica exsectoides
    • Monomorium minimum
  • Family Vespidae (potter wasps and others)

Order Lepidoptera

  • Family Lycaenidae [bllues]
  • Family Nymphalide
    • Asterocampa celtis [hackberry emperor butterfly]
    • Checkerspot butterfly
    • Speyeria cybele [great spangled fritillary]
  • Family Papilionidae (swallowtails)
  • Family Pieridae (sulphurs and whites)
  • Family Satyridae (wood nymphs)

Order Mantodea

  • Family Mantidae
    • Tenodera sinensis [Chinese mantis nymphs]

Order Mecoptera

  • Family Panorpidae (scorpion-flies)

Order Neuroptera

  • Family Chrysopidae (green lacewings(

Order Odonata

  • Family Coenagrionidae (damselflies)
  • Family Libellulidae (skimmer dragonflies)

Order Orthoptera

  • Family Acrididae (band-wing grasshoppers)
  • Family Gryllidae
    • Phyllopalpus pulchellus [handsome trig]
  • Family Rhaphidophoridae (cave crickets)
  • Family Tridactylidae (pygmy mole crickets)

Order Phasmatodea

  • Family Diapheromeridae
    • Diapheromera femorata (common walkingstick)

Other Arthorpods

  • Spiders (mostly wolf spiders and relatives)
    • Geolycosa wrighti was the large brown spider we found in the afternoon)

We covered a lot of ground today. If anyone is interested, I walked over 7 miles today. Coupled with the 6.6 miles I walked yesterday, I have walked over 13 miles at the Sun Foundation in 2018.

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