This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Butterfly Survey & MO Stream Team

It was another blazing hot day for a small group of 2011 SIFTers who visited the reserve on Tuesday, July 26. The morning was spent netting and identifying butterflies. Nearly 90 were identified in the course of a couple of hours. (Good work!) The following is a list of what was found:

1 Giant Swallowtail
6 Pipevine Swallowtails
10+ Spicebush Swallowtails
10+ Tiger Swallowtails
4 Zebra Swallowtails
1 Checkered White
8 Cloudless Sulphurs
2 Little Yellows
1 Eastern-tailed Blue
3 Buckeyes
2 Great Spangled Fritillary
6 Hackberry Butterflies
2 Red-spotted Purples
7 Silvery Checkerspots
10+ Silver-spotted Skippers
1 Southern Cloudy Wing
1 Eastern Dun Skipper
1 Roadside Skipper
1 Tawny-edged Skipper
2 Zabulon Skipper

And now for something completely different...

The afternoon was spent down at the Meramec River doing biotic and abiotic testing. Upon completing the testing, the SIFTers were happy to return to the education office and its air conditioning. The remainder of the afternoon was spent entering the data from the Meramec into the Missouri Stream Team website. One exciting find from the biotic testing was a dragonhunter nymph. The dragonhunter is a type of dragonfly that will prey upon other dragonflies, so it must be a pretty tenacious critter. It's a somewhat rare find around here and stirred Dr. Trager's interest enough to earn a spot on bugguide.net. To see his photo of the dragonhunter captured that day visit http://bugguide.net/node/view/553399 (or look below). It might be hard to recognize in a two dimensional photo, but its abdomen is much flatter and more rounded than most dragonfly nymphs. For anyone who has seen quite a few of the other dragonfly nymphs common at SNR, this is a very unique looking creature.

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