Goodbye Pinelands

Tomorrow I head back north, and I may be leaving the pinelands for a while.  It’s been a terrific summer.

I’ve spent the last month or so filming frantically and not producing much, so this fall I will be continuing to post on this blog more than ever.  I’m excited to take a breather from gathering footage, so I can review what I have, do some serious research, and start writing more.  But for now, it’s time to say goodbye and go for a nice long drive.

(Screen)shot of the day

A clerid attacks and subdues a Southern Pine Beetle. Zoomed-in screenshot.

It’s just as Boving and Champlain described (see the meet the beetles post below).  Again (I like this quote):

“The Clerid remains motionless until a wandering Scolytoid or some other insect approaches close enough. Then running with a rapidity that resembles a leap, it seizes the prey. Grasping it with the front and middle pair of legs and holding on to the bark by the hind pair, sometimes balanced by the tip of the abdomen against the bark, it proceeds to feed. With its strong jaws it breaks the chitin or separates the segments and feeds upon the soft tissue and viscera within.”

Chewing Wood

Here is a short timelapse (900x speed) of a Southern Pine Beetle chewing through some phloem and eventually burrowing into it and towards the outer bark.

This is actually not quite what I was hoping for.  The idea was to put a beetle onto a piece of bark squeezed between two pieces of plexiglass (“phloem sandwich” – apparently a well established technique) and wait for the beetle to burrow through the bark to the phloem and make a gallery there for us to observe.  Unfortunately, my phloem sandwich skills are currently poor, so this beetle found a way to get around my bark to the phloem.  Fortunately, though, then it started chewing a bit and burrowing into the phloem so I could get a little bit of observational footage of the burrowing.  Hopefully next time I can get the phloem sandwich set up well so we can see some more realistic gallery burrowing.

A day in the field

Today was the first time in a while I spent a whole day at a beetle spot filming.  I had fun, went a little crazy, and got some decent shots of the whole cast.  Here are a few moments from the day:

Temnochila virescens on the prowl. Freeze frame.

Thanasimus dubius courting? I don’t think they’re quite mating. Freeze frame.

Dendroctonus frontalis ready to fly. Freeze frame.

Homo sapiens in desperate need of a shower. Time-delayed photo.

 

 

 

An unrelated video of a spider

Yesterday we were in the field emptying beetle traps when we saw a cool funnel web leading into the ground.  We played around a bit and got the spider to come out and grab a cricket.  Here’s the very short edit of that moment:

I think it’s a wolf spider / funnel-web spider, but I don’t really know to much about spiders, so take that with a grain of salt.