Friday, July 31, 2015

Episode 119 Revisited (8-3-15; update of 7-16-12): Dragonflies and Damselflies

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:17)
Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-31-15.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO
From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 3, 2015.


This week, we repeat a July 2012 episode, returning to group of insects whose species are known by many mysterious and even fearsome names.  See if you can guess that insect group, as you listen for about 30 seconds to some of their names being called out by campers along the New River in Wythe County, Virginia.  And here’s a hint: some of these creatures have club-like tails, but they don’t breathe fire.


SOUNDS  - 30 sec


If you guessed dragonflies, you’re right!  Clubtails, cruisers, darners, and other descriptive and sometimes scary names for dragonflies derive not only from these insects’ real appearance and behaviors, but also from historical superstitions or myths about supposed behaviors—such as the idea that darners could sew up the ears of misbehaving children.  No matter what they’re called, all dragonflies, along with closely-related damselflies—collectively called odonates—spend the first part of their life cycle as aquatic forms inhabiting various still or slow-moving freshwater habitats, particularly wetlands, ponds, and the edges of streams and rivers.  Both the aquatic immature forms and the flying adults eat large numbers of a variety of prey, including mosquitoes and other biting flies; and, in turn, they get eaten by certain fish, amphibians, birds, wasps, and spiders.  With over 400 North American species, dragonflies and damselflies are as diverse, colorful, and fascinating as their names—and that’s no myth.


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


This is an updated version of Episode 119 (7-16-12), which has been removed from the online archives.

Thanks to several friends of Virginia Water Radio for recording dragonfly names on July 14, 2012.  The dragonflies named in the audio were (in order spoken) American Emerald, Blue Corporal, Blue Dasher, Saffron-winged Meadowhawk, Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, Cyrano Darner, Eastern Amberwing, Eastern Pondhawk, Halloween Pennant, Lancet Clubtail, Unicorn Clubtail, Rusty Snaketail, Stream Cruiser, and Wandering Glider.


Addition/Correction to Information in Audio


Some bats and other dragonflies can also prey on dragonflies and damselflies; the audio failed to mention those to groups of predators.

PHOTOS

Halloween Pennant dragonfly, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly on a pond at Eyre Hall, near Cheriton, Va. (Northampton County), October 6, 2007.  Photo by Alan Raflo.
American Rubyspot damselfly, in the New River at Foster Falls, Va. (Wythe County), July 15, 2012.  Photo by Anne Jacobsen, used with permssion.
SOURCES

Used for Audio

R. W. Merritt and K. W., Cummins, An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America, 2nd Edition, Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, Ia., 1984.


Blair Nikula and Jackie Sones with Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes, Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 2002.


J. Reese Voshell, A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, McDonald and Woodward, Blacksburg, Va., 2002.


For More Information on Dragonflies and Damselflies (the Odonata)


Iowa State University Department of Entomology, “BugGuide,” online at http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740.


W. Patrick McCafferty, Aquatic Entomology: The Fishermen's and Ecologists' Illustrated Guide to Insects and Their Relatives, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Toronto, 1998; available online at http://books.google.com/books?id=wiTq7x-fI_0C&dq=aquatic+gnats&source=gbs_navlinks_s.

Prince William Conservation Alliance, “Northern Virginia Nature—Dragonflies,” online at http://www.pwconserve.org/wildlife/insects/dragonflies/index.htm.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES
For previous episodes on Virginia insects and their water connections in Virginia, please see the “Insect” category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS
This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme

4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
1.5 - animals’ basic needs and distinguishing characteristics.

2.4 - life cycles.

3.4 - behavioral and physiological adaptations.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme

2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.

3.5 - food webs.

3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.

4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.

5.5 - organism features and classification.

6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course

LS. 4 - organisms’ features and classification.

LS.6 - ecosystem interactions, including cycles and energy flow.

LS.8 - community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.

LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors.

Biology Course

BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Episode 276 (7-24-15): Wasps

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:06)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-24-15.



TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO
From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 27, 2015.

SOUND – ~5 sec - Yellow jackets buzzing around recorder

That’s a sound you’re better off not hearing, except electronically.  Have another listen for about 15 seconds, and see if you know what kind of highly social—and at times highly aggressive and defensive—insects made these sounds.  And here’s a hint: if you see this kind of flashing yellow, don’t grab your jacket, just GO!

SOUND - ~15 sec - Yellow jackets buzzing around recorder

If you guessed yellow jackets, you’re right!  Those were the defenders of a nest hidden within a Blacksburg house’s wooden deck in June 2015.  Yellow jackets are among over 100,000 insect species worldwide considered to be a kind of wasp.  Many of these have “wasp” in their common name, such as paper wasps and spider wasps, while others don’t, like hornets or velvet ants.  But they share the trait of having part of their abdomen narrowed into the so-called “wasp waist,” allowing the abdomen to move in many directions.  Most wasp species, known as parasitoids, use this ability to insert their egg-laying organ, or ovipositor, onto or into other insects or plants, where the wasp lays one or more eggs.  The eggs develop into larvae that eat the host insect or plant, often from the inside out.  In contrast, the ovipositor of predatory wasps is modified into a venomous stinger, used to paralyze prey that is brought back to developing young in nests, including the elaborate paper-based nests f the social wasps—that is, paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. 

As a group, wasps connect to water both directly and indirectly.  Direct connections include some parasitoid wasps using dragonflies or other aquatic insects as hosts; mud daubers visiting wet areas to gather mud for nest-building; social wasps using watery saliva to turn plant materials into paper; and some social wasps fanning their wings to evaporate water in order to keep their nest from over-heating.  Indirectly, wasps influence the water uses and impacts of the wide variety of insects and other creatures that they parasitize or prey upon, including many species that are pests to humans. 

Knowing that won’t make you feel better, though, if you get stung by a yellow jacket or other social wasp.  So keep away from known wasp nests, and if you do disturb one and defenders come after you, don’t stand and swat ‘em, just run, like this guy did:

SOUND – 3 sec – Yellow jackets buzzing, door closing, “whew.”

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The yellow jackets sounds were recorded on June 18, 2015, 6:30 a.m., at a Blacksburg, Va., residence.

PHOTOS



Examples of wasps’ nests.  Top: Mud-based nests of a type of solitary predatory wasp, mud daubers on a Blacksburg, Va., residents, July 2015.  Middle: Nests of Bald-faced Hornets collected in Montgomery County, Va., on display in July 2015 at a Blacksburg, Va., business.  Bottom: A small, inconspicuous hole (brown area in center of photo) leading to an underground yellow jackets nest in a Blacksburg, Va., lawn, July 2015.


EXTRA FACTS ABOUT WASPS

The word “wasp” is believed to derive from a Germanic word for “weave,” related to social wasps’ nest construction.

Do’s and Dont’s of Avoiding Stinging Wasps,” from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Publication EPP-7305 (see full citation below under Sources): Do Not use sweet-smelling colognes, perfumes, and hair sprays in wasp areas.
Do Not wear bright-colored clothing;wear tan, khaki, and dark-colored clothes.
Do Not picnic, sit, or stand near trash cans, fallen fruit, or other wasp feeding sites.
Do Not swat or move rapidly when a wasp visits you or your food or drink; move slowly.
Do Not approach a nest; if you do disturb a nest, run away from attacking wasps.
Do cleanup food and drink refuse, clean trash cans, and fit them with a tight lid to reduce wasp visits.

SOURCES

Used for this Episode

Eric R. Day, “Yellowjackets,” Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication ENTO-49NP, 2013, available online at http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/ENTO/ENTO-49/ENTO-49.html.

Howard E. Evans and Mary Jane West Eberhard, The Wasps, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1970.

Eric Grissell, Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens, Timber Press, Portland, Ore., 2010.

Helmut Kovac, Anton Stabentheiner, and Sigurd Schmaranzer, “Thermoregulation of water foraging wasps (Vespula vulgaris and Polistes dominulus),” Journal of Insect Physiology, Vol. 55, No. 10 (October 2009), pp. 959-966.

R. W. Merritt and K. W., Cummins, An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America, 2nd Edition, Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, Ia., 1984.

E.C. Mussen and  M.K. Rust, “Yellowjackets and Other Social Wasps,” University of California-Davis “Pest Notes,” Publication 7450, March 2012, available online at http://www.ipm.ucdavid.edu.

Hal C. Reed, Richard Grantham, and Russell Wright, “Paper Wasps, Yellowjackets, and Other Stinging Wasps,” Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, EPP-7305, undated, available online at http://osufacts.okstate.edu.

Vincent H. Resh and Ring T. Cardé, eds., Encyclopedia of Insects, 2nd Ed., Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, Mass., 2009.

Virginia Tech Department of Entomology Insect Identification Lab, “Household and Pantry Pests,” online at http://www.insectid.ento.vt.edu/fact-sheets/household-pantry-pests/index.html.

For More Information about Wasps

Iowa State University Department of Entomology, “BugGuide,” online at http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740.

Kenneth G. Ross and Robert W. Matthews, eds., The Social Biology of Wasps, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., 1991.

University of California-Davis, “Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets/Yellow Jackets and Other Social Wasps,” online at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7450.html.

University of Florida Department of Entomology, “Featured Creatures/Yellow Jackets and Hornets,” online at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/occas/hornet_yellowjacket.htm.

Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab Fact Sheets, “Household and Pantry Pests,” available online at http://www.insectid.ento.vt.edu/fact-sheets/household-pantry-pests/index.html.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES
For previous episodes on water-connections to insects, “Insects” category at the Index link (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
2.4 - life cycles.
3.4 - behavioral and physiological adaptations.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.5 - food webs.
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.
5.5 - organism features and classification.
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS. 4 - organisms’ features and classification.
LS.6 - ecosystem interactions, including cycles and energy flow.
LS.8 - community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Biology Course
BIO.2 - impact of water chemistry on life processes.
BIO.6 - bases for modern classification systems, including structures, biochemistry, and developmental stages.
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.