I think I have found my new little paradise. On the last weekend in September I was invited to take part in a biological survey of Rancho las Avispas and Rancho Esmeralda in northern Sonora, Mexico. This was a project of MABA (Madrean Archipelago Biological Alliance). MABA is an organization concerned with protection of biodiversity and habitats on both sides of the political border between the US and Mexico. The result of our weekend trip made it very obvious how arbitrarily this border cuts through naturally cohesive areas. I counted hundreds of insect species, but none of them couldn't be found north of the border as well.
|Just out of the cars and already searching for bugs and plants at Rancho las Avispas|
|Tom Van Devender and Ana Lilia Reina, leaders of the trip and great botanists|
|Polistes major castaneicolor|
|Machaerocera mexicana (Mexican Blue-wing Grasshopper) and Aztecacris gloriosus (Atascosa Gem Grasshopper)|
|Archilestris magnificus and Systropus arizonicus.|
I found and photographed nearly 80 species of beetles and I could identify most of them with the help of my flickr collection of Arizona Beetles.
|Calligrapha multiguttata and Pachybrachis bivittatus|
Close to 30 species of Hemiptera were found in the field and at the black light at night. The greatest surprise was the tiny Systelloderes in the family Enicocephalidae (Unique-headed Bugs). Rarely have I heard a more descriptive name.
Because John Palting couldn't make this trip, I also did my best documenting the moths at my mercury vapor light. Many species were old acquaintances from Arizona.
|Ectypia clio (Clio Tiger Moth - Hodges#8249)|
I was happy to finally get a good photograph of the beautiful Clio Tigermoth for my Tiger and Lichen Moth pages.
To be safe, I posted the moths to BugGuide where Maury Heiman, Dave Ferguson and Randy Hardy helped with the identifications. Now I have to find out whether I can leave my posts there - Mexico is not within BugGuide territory but most biologists think that at least Sonora should be included....
|Chip Hedgecock at Rancho Esmeralda|
|Eric Wallace, I, and John Ochoa checking out insect larvae on a bottle that we found submersed in the Arizona Creek|
If you would like to see my photo documentation of the observed insects, please click on the highlighted links in the text. They will open groups of images that are organized in flickr sets. As they become available I will also add links to the MABA data base for the Ranchos las Avispas and Esmeralda. Nowadays I'm an arthropod person, so I'll leave birds and herps to Bob, Steve Minter and Eric Wallace...