Arthropod survey continues to document new specimens for The Levy Preserve

Arthropod survey continues to document new specimens for The Levy Preserve

8/11/2014 10:45:53 AM

Beginning in February, 2012, Dr. Paul A. De Luca began a study to survey the arthropod fauna present at The Levy Preserve. By the end of the summer in 2012, a total of 201 species of insects, spiders, crabs, and other arthropods had been collected. Dr. De Luca returned to The Levy Preserve this summer to continue his work, and we are excited to report that 105 new additions have been added to The Levy Preserve arthropod collection, bringing the total number of species collected thus far to 306!

Beetles (Coleoptera) and butterflies/moths (Lepidoptera) continue to be the most abundant insect groups here at The Levy Preserve. A total of 19 additional types of beetles and 34 types of butterflies/moths were collected this summer, bringing the species totals to 60 and 68, respectively for these two orders. Also, 19 additional kinds of true bugs (Hemiptera) were collected, bringing the total number of species from this order to 38. Other notable findings include the addition of earwigs (Dermaptera), which constitutes a new insect order here, several previously uncollected species of flies (Diptera), and a large-bodied species of antlion (Neuroptera) that measures nearly 10 cm (4 in) in length!

Dr. De Luca’s work this summer coincided with a visit by four researchers who were conducting a rapid biodiversity assessment of Lepidoptera throughout Eleuthera. Dr. Jacquelyn Miller and Dr. Deborah Lott, both from the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, along with their colleagues Dr. Gary Goss from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and Mr. Mark Simon, spent several days travelling the island collecting many species of butterflies and moths. Their work included one night of sampling at The Levy Preserve, which was a great success, and they also offered their expertise as taxonomists to assist in identifying the 68 Lepidoptera species that make The Levy Preserve their home. Dr. De Luca said, “Initiating collaborations with scientists from abroad is an important part of our effort to further the science program here at The Levy Preserve. We have a remarkable site that is rich in flora, fauna and natural beauty, and we want to showcase it to researchers from around the world.”

What’s next for the arthropod survey? Dr. De Luca plans to continue sampling for new additions. He revealed, “We have barely scratched the surface in uncovering the arthropod diversity present at this site. Continued sampling in the upcoming months will undoubtedly reveal the existence of many more species.” 

Dr. De Luca checks the malaise trap

Dr Lott, Dr. Deluca setting up black lights near weather station

Blue amblypygid collected at The Preserve

Butterfly drawer

Grasshoppers, Walking sticks, Cockroaches, and Dragonflies

Hemiptera nymphs at The Preserve