While driving through eastern California with Sam earlier this month we stopped at Owens Lake hoping to find some tigers. The weather wasn't ideal with all the wind rushing through the valley, but we each somehow managed to collect a specimen of Cicindela willistoni pseudosenilis.
Cicindela willistoni pseudosenilis W. Horn
While this species occurs in many places in the west, the subspecies C. w. pseudosenilis is restricted to the desert valleys of southeast California.
During Sam Wells' and my eastern California trip last week, we stopped at the Kelso Sand Dunes for a night of photography. Here are some of the highlights:
A well camouflaged Mantid allows itself to be photographed.
Cysteodemus armatus LeConte
Desert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx v. variegatus)
Polyphylla aeolus La Rue
Some might confuse this nice bug with those pests you can find at your porch light. In reality, this is never the case. This Polyphylla species is restricted to the Kelso Sand Dunes and was recently described in 1998 by Delbert La Rue. You can find his blog "Crooked Beak Workshop" here or under my "Recommended Bug Blogs" list.
"This species is named after Aeolus, keeper of the winds in Greek mythology; in reference to the natural forces which have created and formed Kelso Sand Dunes, the type locality." (1)
I observed this species moments before sun down flying up and down the dunes. I only saw it within a ten minute window.
While in Utah last week, some collage students and I took a night collecting trip to Little Sahara Dunes. This trip was primarily arranged for the Scorpion fauna, but I went along to find other cool bugs and get good photographs.
Immediately after getting out of the car, I happened to shine my flashlight on the bug I was most hoping to find while in Utah, only this one was not alive... It did have all six tarsi though, so I had no reluctance pickling it. The Label will just have to say: "Found dead".
Paracotalpa granicollis Haldeman
We soon found the scorpions we had been searching for. They were in a dune/forest/hilly area running along little slopes of sand. We found them using UV flashlights under which they illuminated a neon green.
Also out wandering around was one of our largest Tenebs:
Eleodes obscurus (Say)
On our way out of the dunes, we stopped by a bright light perched on the road divider. On the near side we saw over a dozen crushed bugs of various kinds, including many scarabs and two beautiful Hydrophilus triangularis. It was a devastating site to behold for a collector, but my feeling were soon put back in check when I noticed all of the same species on the other side of the divider walking around in perfect health. It was then obvious that rather than cars driving by, it was a person who made a game out of smashing the bugs.
This last week I have been in Utah for vacation and to celebrate my 18th birthday. I have done a little bit of collecting at the Little Sahara Sand Dunes so far. Here's one of the bugs I found at night:
Not in ideal condition, but it will suffice. I'll cover more of this trip next week.