I posted a photo gallery of our latest expedition. Feel free to check it out and make comments. Overall it was quite a successful trip, though we still await the final tally of insects collected.
Costa Rica 2008
Well, we made it back to Raleigh a couple days ago with quite the haul of insects. One of our quests (not so much for us, but for our colleagues on the Platygastroidea PBI) was a tiny (1 mm long) scelionid wasp by the name of Janzenella innupta Masner & Johnson, 2007. No one knows its biology, but until recently, and I think this is pretty cool, it was only known from Miocene amber. The extant species has only been collected in Malaise traps in the dry forests of Costa Rica. We’re still working through our samples to see if we managed to capture one. We certainly managed to collect numerous ceraphronoid (Ceraphronoidea) and ensign wasps (Evaniidae), which were the main targets of our collecting effort there. We also brought back some crazy looking stink bugs (Pentatomidae) and their relatives (e.g., leaf-footed bugs (Coreidae), assassin bugs (Reduviidae), and plant bugs (Miridae)). Expect pictures soon. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the motley crew that carried out this research (L to R: Bob Blinn, Andy Deans, Josephine Rodriguez (University of Illinois), and Matt Bertone).
There aren’t very many insects flying this time of year in Guanacaste. Check out the Hg-vapor light:
We probably saw a total of 20 insects each night we trapped at the light. Our Malaise trap samples from November and December are equally sparse, with about 100 insects in each – that’s after sitting for a week in the field! Yellow pan traps, however, seem to excel this time of year (and do well in the monsoon as well). Here’s our net result from 30 YPTs sitting for 5 hours in the dry forest:
TONS of ceraphronoid wasps and other cool flies, hoppers, and wasp-like critters. We lost the contents of the other 20 pans to thirsty deer.