Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: On Mammals and Insects… on Mammals!

Well, life keeps getting in the way of blogging, but I really wanted to get SOMETHING up today!  So, I bring you the noble cotton rat:

Cotton Rat

One of my coworkers at the natural history museum where I work live traps small mammals to monitor their population at the museum’s field station.  I finally had an opportunity to go with them a few weeks ago, and this rat in particular, though quite elderly and a little soggy, ended up being my favorite.  I love rodents in general, but we were also collecting insect and arachnid parasites off the mammals in the traps, you see, and this was the ONLY rat we got that had anything on it: a single flea.  My coworker grabbed the flea and I carried it around in a little vial in my pocket the rest of the morning.  I can’t say why, but the idea that I was carrying a flea in my pocket really amused me.  Granted, it WAS quite early in the morning at the end of an exhausting week, so my threshold for what I thought was funny that morning was perhaps a bit lower than normal…

I get my whole weekend off this week, so I might actually have time to get caught up on my dragonfly swarm blog posts.  Here’s hoping nothing else comes up before then!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 7/20/14 – 7/26/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

We’re still moving along fairly slowly this year.  In the past week, I received reports from the following locations:

USA:

Bulterville, AR
Los Angeles, CA
Madison, CT (2 reports)
Long Beach, NY
Port Washington, WI

Canada:

Saskatoon, SK

And here is the map:

swarm map 7.20.14 to 7.26.14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

The few swarms reported this week were spread all over everywhere, so it’s hard to even say anything that will wrap up the week.  Here’s my summary of last week’s data: there were some swarms.  :)

The Dragonfly Swarm Project has been selected as one of the Projects of the Day on SciStarter.com this week and next!  In case you all aren’t familiar with SciStarter, it’s an awesome citizen science project aggregator that anyone can use to find citizen science projects that interest them.  Apparently the blog post I wrote for them in 2011 is the all time most popular blog post on their site, so they’re helping me build up some buzz about dragonfly swarms this summer.  It’s always nice to get some help!

We should be headed into the peak season for swarms here shortly, so be sure to report any you see!  I’m hoping it’s going to get really exciting soon.

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 7/6/14 – 7/19/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I didn’t have a chance to post last week, so what you see here represents two weeks of data.  Swarm reports came from the following locations:

USA:

Scottsdale, AZ
Butlerville, AK
Chico, CA
Flagler, CO
Duluth, MN
Brick, NJ
Ocean City, NJ (2 reports)
Williamstown, NJ
Houston, TX
Pflugerville, TX
Rockwall, TX
Mathews, VA

Canada:

Calgary, AB (2 reports)
Miramichi, NB
Vulcan, AB

Ireland:

Celbridge, County Kildare

And here are the maps for the last two weeks:

swarms 7.6.14 to 7.12.14

7/6/14 to 7/12/14

 

swarms 7.13.14 to 7.19.14

7/13/14 to 7/19/14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the maps to enlarge!

There has been a little upswing in activity in the past few weeks, which I’m excited about.  Over the last week, there were four migratory swarms (though only one really shows up on the map – two are under other pins and one is outside of North America), so there’s been at least a little movement.  Texas continues to have regular activity, New Jersey had a small event, and California showed up on the map last week.  The most exciting thing to me is the report from Ireland though!  That’s a new country for the Dragonfly Swarm Project and brings the total number of countries where swarms have been reported to 23.  There’s been a pretty even spread so far too, with all continents except Antarctica (for obvious reasons) and Africa (no idea why) well represented.

This last week, I got to talk about my project for an educational podcast geared at 4th and 5th graders, and I’ll post a link if I get public access to the final product online.  I’m also excited about some upcoming promotion of my project that I’ll tell you about once I know more details!  It’s fun spreading the word about dragonfly swarms and what it’s like doing insect behavior work with citizen scientists, so I’m looking forward to sharing the results of these with you all in the next few weeks.

If the trend from the past four years holds true, we’re coming up on peak season for dragonfly swarms here soon.  It will be very interesting to see what happens, so send in your data!  I can’t wait to see what happens this season!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 6/22/14 to 7/5/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I didn’t have a chance to post last week, so what you see here represents two weeks of data.  Swarm reports came from the following locations:

USA:

Leesburg, FL
Miami Beach, FL
Milton, FL
Parkland, FL
Livermore, ME
Marbury, MD
West Bend, MD
Lakeway, TX
Ogden, UT
Williamsburg, VA

And here are the maps for the last two weeks:

6.22.14 to 6.28.14

6/22/14 through 6/28/14

6.29.14 to 7.5.14

6/29/14 through 7/5/14

 

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

It continues to be a little slow so far this year, though there was one migratory swarm reported from Utah this week, which is exciting.  There has been rather consistent activity in the southeastern part of Texas over the last month, though nothing really extraordinary seems to be happening anywhere so far.  Hurricane Arthur didn’t even seem to stir anything up!  I’m still hoping things will pick up soon, but you never know.

One thing has disturbed me though.  In the past several years, green darners have made appearances in swarms over and over again.  They often form the bulk of swarms.  This year, very few people have described anything that sounds like a green darner from their swarms.  I’ve also started to hear some ominous rumblings on the odonate listservs and Facebook pages where people have started to ask where the green darners are this year.  People have really started to notice their near absence, which isn’t good.  We typically have a lot of darners at the pond at the field station where I work, but this year I haven’t seen many at all, maybe 5 or 6 total.  At this time of year, we should have 5-6 on the pond every day, not 5-6 for the entire season!  There’s always a chance things are just terribly late this year and things will normalize at some point, but I’ve personally noticed some weird things happening this year.  Monarchs are out in North Carolina in droves right now, and they’re normally long gone for the heat of the summer, having migrated further north.  The common milkweed is going absolute gangbusters, but there are several conspicuously common butterflies (eastern tiger swallowtails and pipevine swallowtails among them) that are well below their normal numbers this year.  Fireflies are STILL out here, and the June bugs emerged a week or two early.  Have any of you noticed similar things out of whack in your area?  I shouldn’t extrapolate what I’m seeing in North Carolina to the rest of the country, even the rest of the east coast, but I’ve heard enough from other entomologists on social media to think that this is going to be an odd year.  It will be interesting to see if this ends up being a weird swarming year too!

Keep reporting those swarms!  Was very pleased to see swarm reports from several regular readers over the last couple of weeks.  Thanks everyone!!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 6/15/14 to 6/21/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Another slow week for dragonfly swarms this week.  I received reports from the following locations::

USA:

Panama City, FL
Petersburg, FL
South Pasadena, FL
Walker, MN
Gastonia, NC

And here’s the map:

6.15.14 to 6.21.14

 

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

Almost every swarm reported this week was in the south, with the exception of the one lone report from Minnesota.  I’m hoping things will start picking up this week, but I guess I’ll just have to see what the week brings!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 6/8/14 to 6/14/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

It was a slow week for dragonfly swarms again this week.  The only reports came from the following locations::

USA:

Fryeburg, ME
Matthews, NC
Eugene, OR
Walla Walla, WA

And here’s the map:

 

6.8.14 to 6.14.14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

The swarm season seems to be getting off to a slow start, but that’s not entirely unexpected.  Everything in NC is about 2 weeks later than normal this year, and I expect a bit of a slow start every year anyway before things really start to pick up in July.  Still, if you see a swarm next week, I hope you’ll consider reporting it.  Every sightings makes a difference!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday (on Tuesday – ouch…): 6/1/14 to 6/7/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Had company staying at my house all weekend, so this is the first chance I’ve had to get this up. But here it is! Swarms were reported in the following locations over the past week:

USA:

Mt. Olive, IL

And here’s the map:

6.1.14 to 6.7.14

 

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

Woo!  That was exciting, wasn’t it?!  Clearly, it was a bit of a slow week for dragonfly swarms.  Here’s hoping next week will be more exciting!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

_______________

Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

_______________

Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth