Signal crayfish breeding in the Buskin River drainage, Kodiak Island
It appears that the signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, is now established in Alaska. See the articles below.
Invasive Species Breeding in Buskin River
Another Crawdaddy Found in Buskin
A new species of bathynellid from Alaska
Camacho, A.I., R.L. Newell, Z. Crete, B.A. Dorda, A.Casado., and I. Rey. 2015. Northernmost discovery of Bathynellacea (Syncarida: Bathynellidae) with description of a new species of Pacificabathynella from Alaska (USA). Journal of Natural History. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00222933.2015.1083621
From the abstract:
A new species of the genus Pacificabathynella Schminke and Noodt, 1988 is described from groundwaters of Alaska (USA). This is the first record of Bathynellacea Chappuis, 1915 from the far north of America.
These were from the Kwethluk River (60.34520N, 161.089146W) on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
Derek Sikes shared this blog and newsletter with me. I encourage you to look at these.
Network for Arthropods of the Tundra, Newsletter 2, October 2015
Bill Davidson, a U. S. Forest Service Student Trainee for Forest Health Protection this summer managed to capture a few great videos of one of our native horntails. While in Cooper Landing this summer Bill found Urocerus flavicornis in action on spruce logs that were cut as part of a fire wise program. Also known as a wood wasp, U. flavicornis is a wood borer that can typically be found on stressed, dying and dead spruce trees in Alaska. It is also commonly found in association with cut wood and saw logs. Although this insect looks menacing, it is completely harmless to humans.
More information on Urocerus flavicornis and other wood wasps and horn tails can be found in these places:
The article appeared May 5 in Biodiversity Data Journal.
Pampell R, Sikes D, Pantoja A, Holloway P, Knight C, Ranft R (2015) Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus spp.) of Interior Alaska: Species Composition, Distribution, Seasonal Biology, and Parasites. Biodiversity Data Journal 3: e5085. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.3.e5085
Topics included new exotic species, mosquitoes, pollinators, carpenter ants, etc.
This is a nicely written and very informative article on the importance of collecting.
Aphids from spruce at the Homer Bench, 12.June.2015. Photo courtesy of Karin Sonnen (USDA NRCS, Homer).
Mitch Michaud (USDA NRCS, Kenai), phoned me regarding substantial defoliation of spruce at Halibut Cove and the Homer bench. At Halibut Cove, spruces had been dropping many needles.
Aphids were the culprit, but the identity of the aphids has not yet been established.
Browning spruce needles due to aphid infestation, 9.June.2015.
Browning of spruce needles.
Spruce trees damaged by aphids, 9.June.2015.
A large stand of defoliated aspen visible from across the valley.
In the last two weeks there have been numerous reports of aspen defoliation in the Goldstream Valley on the north side of Fairbanks. An area approximately 50 acres in size has been heavily defoliated by the caterpillar, large aspen tortrix (Choristoneura conflictana (Walker)). Brief, intense outbreaks are common throughout the range of aspen, and typically last 2-3 years before collapsing. These outbreaks can grow to cover thousands of acres. The larvae tie together leaves with webbing and feed on the plant tissue. They will web other species of plants and feed on them if they run out of available aspen foliage. Although the forest can look very grim, leafless and covered in webbing, the trees will often create a second flush of leaves later in the summer. Historically there has been little long-term damage to the aspen trees associated with past outbreaks.
The aspen were completely defoliated shortly after bud break by the large aspen tortrix.
With few aspen leaves left to feed on, the larvae have been descending from the canopy and webbing understory vegetation to feed upon, including spruce, alder, birch, and roses.
The article appeared in this month’s issue of Entomological News, available at the URI below.
Charles R. Bartlett, Stephen W. Wilson, Derek S. Sikes. 2015. First New World Record of Paradelphacodes paludosus (Flor 1861) (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea : Delphacidae) in Alaska. Entomological News 124(5):370-372.