Friday, April 29, 2011

A night with the light

the light
There was one night during our stay in the desert that there wasn't wind. I set up my black light on the patio.




desert roach
Desert Roach, genus Arenivaga.

tiny snout beetle
Coniatus splendidulus

As you can see, most of the moths ended up all around the sheet, on the patio walls and floor. Most of what stayed on the sheet were tiny flies and beetles, like the beautiful (and teeny-tiny) little snout beetle above, which, it turns out, was recently introduced in Arizona as a possible biological control for the invasive tamarisk trees.  Apparently it may have been released without official authorization, and scientists are now tracking its distibution.  You can read more about that here. (Thanks, Margarethe!)

I also noticed that many of the bugs in the patio area started dying within minutes of landing. I suspect that the homeowner's association at the complex where we stayed uses pesticide to keep all the desert bugs from bothering people.  That bummed me out a little, and I didn't leave my light on too long because I didn't want to feel bad about luring these innocent creatures to their death.
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