Journal archives for July 2018

July 03, 2018

Net-winged Beetles (Lycidae) of the Santa Catalina Mountains

Up until 3 months ago, I had never seen a net-winged beetle. I always figured they would be one of those semi-obscure beetle families that I would probably run into eventually but shouldn't make a habit out of expecting. Then at the Del Rio Texas iNat gathering, I found my first one, just as wonderful as I expected it to be. Shortly after returning home to Arizona, I found another species in the Catalina foothills. A couple of months went by, and then, in the last two weeks, I've found an additional seven(!) species.

Perhaps it's a short-lived seasonal occurrence, but thousands of net-winged beetles are flying in the Santa Catalina Mountains right now. At any given elevation along the Mount Lemmon highway, you can reasonably expect that if you get out of your car and look around for 5 minutes you will be able to find some, with many different species occurring together. Here are my findings relating to the net-winged beetles I've found so far, starting with the low elevation species and working our way up from there.

Lycus sanguineus


Recorded elevation: 3200 ft.
This was the first Lycid I found in Arizona, and the lowest elevation species. I've only found it in the Catalina foothills, and bugguide records from Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park seem to further confirm that this is more of a lowland species than the others I've encountered. This is the only Lycid I've seen in the foothills, however my dataset is biased since I havn't been spending much time in the foothills as summer temperatures have been forcing me higher up the mountain.

Lycus arizonensis


Recorded elevation: 4300-6000 ft.
This is the most common Lycid at low-mid elevations, and I've seen them from Molino Basin up until the General Hitchcock Campground at about 6000 feet. At Middle Bear Picnic area they are particularly common, and the largest of several orange lycids that can be seen flying there. At higher elevations they seem to be replaced by Lycus fulvellus.

Lygistopterus ignitus


Recorded elevation: 5800 ft.
This is a small Lycid, and it appears to be somewhat rare. I've only seen 4 individuals, all at the Middle Bear Picnic area, and there is just a single bugguide record. That observation, from Margarethe Brummermann, was made at about 8000 feet.

Lycus loripes/simulans


Recorded elevation: 5800 ft.
I've found this Lycid once, at Middle Bear. It belongs to a complex of two species that can be told apart by the shape of the rostrum, and it's possible that one or both species occur in this range. Regardless, it appears to be either quite rare, very localized, or perhaps it's not quite their season yet.

Plateros sp. 1


Recorded elevation: 5800-8000 ft.
The first of two distinct yet currently unidentifiable Plateros sp., this small solid black Lycid appears quite uncommon throughout the higher elevations. I've seen them from Middle Bear up to Marshall Gulch, but never more than one at a time.

Lygistopterus rubripennis


Recorded elevation: 5800-7500 ft.
I've seen these Lycids as low as Middle Bear, but if you really want to see this species then take the highway to its completion at Marshall Gulch. There, this species is prolific, especially along the creek. Further down the mountain, I rarely encounter this species.

Lycus fulvellus


Recorded elevation: 7300-8000 ft.
This is the most prolific Lycid at high elevation right now. I've seen them as low as the Bug Spring Trailhead (around 7300 feet) and they are exceptionally abundant right now near the Palisades (which is where I took this photo). Interestingly though, they are only the third most common netwing beetle at Marshall Gulch. There, Lygistopterus rubripennis and Lycus sanguinipennis take over, though this species still remains quite common.

Lycus sanguinipennis


Recorded elevation: 7400-8000 ft.
Rare everywhere else I've looked, but the most common species at Marshall Gulch. It's impossible not to find them hovering through open meadows or resting on the vegetation up there.

Plateros sp. 2


Recorded elevation: 7500 ft.
I've only seen this species once, at Marshall Gulch. Unfortunately, there are many species that look like this, so it may remain unidentified indefinitely.


And that's it! All nine Lycids I've recorded from the Catalinas so far. But there are certainly even more, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to encounter some new ones soon. If you're looking for Lycids, why not visit Arizona? And if you're already here, keep an eye out for these beetles next time you're taking a walk through the mountains.

Posted on July 03, 2018 17:46 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 12, 2018

Why not visit Arizona?


Arizona: we've got good bugs here™*


(and we've got other stuff too , if you're like, not into bugs for some reason)

Seriously though, come visit. Monsoon season's just begun which will result in a flurry of interesting wildlife very soon (and there's already a ton of good stuff out here).


Yep, that's the entire post.

*not actually a trademark of anything

Posted on July 12, 2018 01:13 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 6 comments | Leave a comment

July 08, 2018

need help: how can I convert large .mov files to .wav for audio observations?

I make audio observations by recording video with my camera and then converting those .mov files to .wav using cloudconvert.com. However, that only allows conversion of files not exceeding 100mb, and I have quite a few files that are larger than this and I don't know what to do with them. Does anybody know of a trusted program/website I can use to convert these files? I tried using VLC which can convert .mov to .mp3 , but that results in a tremendous loss of quality on the recording and the resulting files are simply not good enough to upload. And I know there are probably better ways to record audio in the field that would bypass this problem, but that doesn't do anything for the many recordings I already have.

Any help at all would be very appreciated!

Posted on July 08, 2018 00:52 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 6 comments | Leave a comment

July 26, 2018

Sharpshooter leafhoppers (Cicadellinae) of the Santa Catalina Mountains

Sharpshooters tend to be some of the larger, bolder, and most visible leafhoppers, and there's no shortage of them on Mount Lemmon. This collection is by no means comprehensive and the associated data is far from complete, but should serve as a good starting place for these hoppers in this region and surrounding areas.

  1. Hordnia atropunctata (blue-green sharpshooter)
    June-Sept. 7000-8800 feet. Polyphagous. Common.

  2. Hordnia aurora
    June. 5800-7600 feet. Common on undetermined host

  3. Sibovia compta
    June. 5800 feet. Common on undetermined host

  4. Cuerna arida
    June. 8000 feet. Common. I suspect there may be multiple Cuerna spp. in this range.

5-9. Neokolla spp. and similar brownish mottled sharpshooters
June. 5800-9000 feet. Common. I do not understand this group and I'm not positive that all of these individuals are congeneric, but I am including here all of the mottled brownish sharpshooters that may either belong to Neokolla or related genera. I don't know how many species are present in this range, but there appears to be either great variability or great diversity within this group.

10-13. A few more unknowns
A collection of distinct-looking hoppers which, despite my best efforts, have bested me in the search for an ID. Images 11 and 12 may be individual variations of the same species.

Posted on July 26, 2018 17:45 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 0 comments | Leave a comment