The results of the City Nature Challenge CHWP BioBlitz are in!

The City Nature Challenge official identification period is now over, and we are excited to report our results from the April 30 Claremont Hills Wilderness Park BioBlitz. (Although if you have observations you haven’t posted yet from the BioBlitz, don’t worry, they will still be counted.)

@moonlightrunner and @diego4nature explaining the BioBlitz to Park Vistors.

Overall results

Eight observers made 197 observations of 95 different species during the BioBlitz. Eighty percent of the observations reached “Research Grade”. You can see all the results here.

Most observed species

Not surprisingly – since it’s at its showy peak right now – the most observed species was Southern Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus longiflorus).

Southern Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus longiflorus). Observation by @moonlightrunner.

New species observed

Most exciting to us was the addition of 14 new taxa to our Biota of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park project. They included:

Four plant species:

  • Southern California Clematis (Clematis pauciflora)
    This means we have two Clematis species in the Park
  • Pineapple-weed (Matricaria discoidea)
  • San Luis Blazingstar (Mentzelia micrantha)
  • Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
    We’re not so excited about this non-native invasive grass, but it’s good to know it’s there

San Luis Blazingstar (Mentzelia micrantha. Observation by @carolblaney.

Nine insect taxa (1 bug, 4 beetles, a wasp, and 3 flies):

  • Aoplonema – a plant bug
  • Judolia sexspilota – a flower longhorn beetle
  • Ornate Checkered Beetle (Trichodes ornatus)
  • Apsena – a darkling beetle
  • Dichelonyx– a May beetle or Junebug
  • Euodynerus – a potter wasp
  • White-headed Bee Fly (Bombylius albicapillus)
  • Chrysopilus – a snipe fly
  • Western Aphideater (Eupeodes fumipennis)

Western Aphideater (Eupeodes fumipennis). Observation by @carolblaney.

One bird species:

  • Hutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni)

Coolest observation

Vegetarian bugs go rogue and try to make a meal of blister beetles!

“Coolest” is, of course, subjective, but our pick is @carolblaney’s observation of a pair of mirid plant bugs (Aoplonema sp.) attacking two mating Red-eared Blister Beetles (Lytta auriculata). As she describes the encounter, “The Aoplonema pair advanced on the mating Lyttas. One mirid repeatedly probed the tarsal claws of the female, which she twisted away to avoid, as best she could while mating. The other probed the underside of the male Lytta, as shown in this photo:

What made this encounter strange is that the attacking bugs were mirids = plant bugs. Aren’t they supposed to eat plants? What were they doing going after blister beetles? A tip from identifier @kschnei pointed us to the answer.

It turns out that some mirids are predatory and eat other insects, and that Aoplonema are particularly attracted to blister beetles. These aptly named beetles secrete a compound, cantharidin, which causes severe blistering on the skin and is poisonous when ingested. Cantharidin is generally a defense against predators, and blister beetles coat their eggs with it to deter predators. Paradoxically, cantharidin is an attractant to Aoplonema. They use it to home in on blister beetles and then proceed to insect their mouth parts membranous regions between segments of the blister beetles’ hard exoskeletons to suck out their hemolymph. Yikes! It truly is a dog-eat-dog – or in this case a bug-eat-beetle – world out there!

The link to the observation with all the fascinating comments is:

Many thanks to:

Posted on Μάιος 19, 2022 1253 ΠΜ by nvhamlett nvhamlett


Enjoyed the narrative about the blister beetles. There is so much to learn out there!

Αναρτήθηκε από scottmarnoy περίπου 2 χρόνια πριν

Thank you all so much for your participation and I'd like to extend a big thank you to @nvhamlett and everyone else at Friends of Claremont Wills Wilderness Park who helped make this possible!

Αναρτήθηκε από diego4nature περίπου 2 χρόνια πριν

Great job to everyone!

Αναρτήθηκε από josefloribundus περίπου 2 χρόνια πριν

Very cool observation Carol! Thanks for sharing.

Αναρτήθηκε από drewready περίπου 2 χρόνια πριν

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