Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beetle Research at Saxe Point Park

Here is an interesting news release I took from our website. If you check out the website you'll see a photo of the bug that we're looking for!

Beetle Research at Saxe Point Park
June 19, 2009

The Ministry of Environment will be conducting research at Saxe Point Park this summer. The purpose of the research is to look for a large, black, predatory ground beetle called the Audouin's Night-Stalking Tiger Beetle (scientific name: Omus audouini). It inhabits forest floor leaf litter, and comes out into open plains and coastal bluffs (such as those at Saxe Point) at night to look for prey.

The Audouin's Night-Stalking Tiger Beetle is quite rare, and has not been documented on Vancouver Island since the 1920's. It is thought to be an important part of the invertebrate predator/prey system, and the goal of the research is to verify its continued presence in Garry Oak and associated ecosystems in the greater Victoria area.

The research will include collecting the beetles using 'pitfall' traps, which are essentially cups dug into the ground with the top rim level with the ground, so that beetles fall into them while they are walking. These traps will be left in the ground for the whole summer and will be checked once a week. There will be signs up at the survey site indicating the purpose of research and what the traps are for to the public.