Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In praise of a bug guide

Red-headed Pine Sawfly larvae (Neodiprion lecontei) devouring a new pitch pine shoot in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Proof that the internet is magic: I submitted this photo to yesterday morning, and by afternoon I knew that these creatures were the larvae of the Red-Headed Pine Sawfly (Neodiprion lecontei). Sawflies aren't flies at all, but a relative of the bees and wasps. also stores and displays the geographic location of each bug species it identifies, making it like a virtual museum collection. That makes it the only source of general NJ insect and spider distribution info that I know of. I know there are butterfly, moth, and dragonfly lists, but does an "Insects of NJ" list even exist? How many species are there? What counties are they found in? It seems to me that NJ DEP and other organizations should be making atlases of all types of organisms...mosses...protists...fungi and lichens... why isn't there an unlimited source of funding for biodiversity conservation?!!??

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