Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ephydridae and Chalcididae

Looking at sticky trap after sticky trap full of so many insects I get very 'antsy'.... sorry.... Funny thing, the 280 8x8 inch sided sticky traps are different from the 280 sticky traps from last year and the year before and the year before that.... What is the difference? Well, this spring had a large storm event that took out a large portion of the Mugu Lagoon habitat. It probably caused changes in the upper watershed that flows into Mugu. There are different genera and families this year. There are many more individuals as well.

Why would something so devastating like the spring 2005 storm event cause so much change? ~ More families, more species more numbers???? Also, there seems to be more parasitoids and hyperparasitoids. This Chalcid wasp (on the right) seems to be stuck on traps in large numbers with even larger numbers of Phoridae.... Are Phoridae parasitized by Chalcids??? (The fly on the left is an Ephydridae a very salt tolerant Diptera)

Sticky traps are like trying to understand ecology in the La Brea Tar Pit style.... When 'A' falls in and gets trapped in the tar pit (sticky trap), it may have been chased by 'B' which, when stuck is attacked and killed by 'C' which is then eaten by 'D'... The difference between digging bones out of the tar pits and identifying insects mushed on sticky traps are different exercises.... oh my aching eyes...

Please note that the larger fly is only 2 mm .... and that there are wasps a quarter the size of this particular Chalcid!!!!

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