|Our bobcat hiding under the ironwood tree in Picture Rocks AZ. Taken at the only sunny moment of Sep. 7, 2016|
|Photo Tom Mc Donald|
|A photo from one of the trail cameras (via Jim Rorabaugh's FB page). Of course there were also many of swishing tails and windblown branches.|
Our Mexican hosts live in Magdalena, so I never met them. We were looking for biodiversity, but the diversity within the group was also impressive - ranging from biologists to mathematicians and Egyptologists - it guaranteed interesting conversations throughout. All weekend, Cathy and Marianne spoiled us with their cooking. Everyone was very welcoming and let me join in their activities and also do my own nightly insect surveys.
|Photo Tom McDonald|
|Cattle tank Photo Tom McDonald|
|mating Tiger Beetles and White-tail Skimmer|
I spent the day time hours mostly in the riparian forest and the swampy meadows around the house. I can't call it hiking, because there was so much to see and photograph that my progress was extremely slow.
|The perennial stream Photo Tom McDowel|
Even that proved difficult because I could have spent more than a weekend just trying to shoot just a few of those elusive Hymenopterans and Orthopterans that buzzed around seep-willow flowers and hopped through the lush grass. So I'm pretty certain that I saw a Mexican Blue-wing Grasshopper, but it got away.
|Neoconocephalus (Common Conehead), Schistocerca albo-lineata (White-lined Birdgrasshopper), Melanoplus differentialis (Differential Grasshopper), Leprus intermedius (Saussure's Blue-winged Grasshopper), Taeniopoda eques (Horse Lubber)|
Old acquaintances in the same genus were also around: Leptinotarsa lineolata on burrowbush (Hymenoclea monogyra). and Leptinotarsa haldemani on blooming buffalo bur Solanum rostratum
|Close to Calopteron reticulatum (Banded Net-wing)|
From under a piece of plywood on the back patio, Jim Rorabaugh pulled a Tailless Whipscorpion and a huge Scolopender.
On Saturday night, we visited the nearby village. There the entire population including the village dogs was on their way to a great outdoor fiesta with barbecue and life music. Maybe it was a wedding, because one side of the plaza was taken up by an arbor made of hundreds of blue and white balloons.
The fiesta looked quite inviting, but we headed for the creek that crossed under the main road, looking for frogs and toads. Indeed, a few Low-land Leopard Frogs and Woodhouse Toads paddled in the fast flowing, clear water that was shallow enough to walk in, at least if you had no plans to dance at the fiesta afterwards.
My black-lighting sheet was up both nights. The response was enormous, not only from all those insects coming in in better numbers than I had seen all year, but also from people, some of whom were amazed and interested, while others found this multitude of bugs quite overwhelming.
To our human senses, most parameters were similar between the two nights. Location and moonphase were rather identical, temperature, wind and humidity seemed similar and yet, the two nights produced rather different results.
Interestingly, the first night brought mainly beetles, among them many scarabs. To see beetle images and identifications please click here.
|Owlfly, Mantisfly, Antlion - all Neuroptera. female Dobsonfly, earwig, toebiter in Belostomatidae (Giant Water Bugs), and Western Floodplains Cicada|
The lighted sheet also drew a swarm of bats hunting in the night sky above. They live right under the patio beams of the casona.
Overwhelmed by all that bug photography, I did not remember to take a group photo before we were all busy packing and two people had already left.
|Trichodes peninsularis, a Clerid|