Saturday, June 16, 2007
Fire-necked Batyle Beetle
Our trip to Scioto Brush Creek on Wednesday has turned up quite a few plant rarities, including an endangered sedge and grass. However, it turns out that I might have found a rare beetle as well. I spotted this colorful insect on a sprig of American Water Willow, a common plant throughout Ohio that is restricted to the sand and gravel bars of rivers. John Howard and I thought we should post this unknown specimen to Bugguide.net, and sure enough, this site of amateur and professional entomologists came through again! What I had found was in fact the Fire-necked Batyle Beetle (Batyle ignicollis), and a member of bugguide.net said this species is "Nice Find! this species is not that abundant." The point here? Scioto Brush Creek not only harbors a diverse and intact fish assemblage in its waters, extremely rare plants on its banks, but also unusual insects. I felt like I was traveling back in time as I entered the creek--I was thinking what the Olentangy River looked like 300 years ago, and thought that it might share some characteristics with Scioto Brush Creek. Clear water, narrow riffles and wide deep pools, and water willow everywhere. The Olentangy is covered with trash. I can't walk more than a few feet without finding some evidence of people. But in Scioto Brush Creek, I could count on one hand the pieces of trash we found. A football, a cord to an electric blanket, and a Seagram's bottle cap. Anyways, the place is great. Although this property is only 36 acres and protects only one bank of the Creek, it is fantastic. To learn more about Scioto Brush Creek, check out the Friends of Scioto Brush Creek, a local watershed group dedicated to protecting this area's unique resources.