Blacklighting for insects along the prairie’s edge
At the last new moon I tagged along with some of the University of Illinois’ intrepid entomology graduate students on a collecting trip. On arriving at a patch of prairie outside of town, the students hung a mercury vapor lamp in front of a sheet, powered up a generator, and waited for the catch to fly in. The set-up attracts insects like a porch light, only more so.
Below are some photos from the evening.
Two methods to collect insects: directly into a jar (left), or with an aspirator.
A lovely heptageniid mayfly.
The palps on this stonefly make it look like a squid.
A stout scarab clings to the sheet.
Fireflies were thick in the prairie across from the blacklight. A long 30-second exposure captured many flying about (click to enlarge. Seriously- this photo looks much better full screen!)