Much to my delight I recently got my copy of the latest issue of the journal Cicindela in the mail; this issue includes two articles which piqued my interest:
In this issue Ted MacRae and Christopher R. Brown report on the occurrence of Dromochorus pruinina in Missouri. In brief, their findings suggest that D. pruinina has a severely limited range within Missouri, comprised of a small area within Johnson county; Ted addresses the implications of this over on his blog.
In the second article in this issue Jan Scott and John Acorn report a mass death of Cicindela purpurea auduboni and Cicindela decemnotata in September 2010. Scott observed some hundreds of these species dead near a trail atop a ridge in Medicine Hat, Alberta Canada.They note that the beetles appeared fresh; unmarred and still flexible with no outward clues to their demise. At the same time some live adults were observed with no apparent abnormalities in their behavior. While there were no photographs taken or official count made, some specimens were collected and deposited in Scott’s personal collection. The authors additionally report no similar incidents in the literature, thus rendering an explanation for this incident problematic.
Possible explanations proposed include that the deceased beetles may have emerged and had their first period of activity as adults in adverse weather conditions (lower temperatures and rain ) during the previous two weeks; consequently the conditions may have had some significant role in this incident. The authors also note the possibility of a chemical toxin as the causal agent; however, they dismiss this as a remote possibility citing the lack of evidence (no direct insecticide or other chemical spraying in the nearby area).
MacRae, T. C. and C. R. Brown. 2011. Distribution, seasonal occurrence and conservation status of Dromochorus pruinina (Casey) in Missouri. CICINDELA 43(1):1–13.
Scott, J. and J. Acorn. 2011. A puzzling mass death of Cicindela purpurea auduboni LeConte. and Cicindela decemnotata Say In Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. CICINDELA 43(1):15–17.