2590RE: [beemonitoring] Bees and Roadkill
- Feb 11, 2013
Another source of error is scavenging on dead insects. Once I was driving down a gravel road in Iowa and noticed tettigoniid grasshoppers (mainly Orchelimum vulgare, which I was studying) feasting on acridid roadkill – most large female acridids had a scavenger!
Barbara J. Abraham, Ph.D.
SEEDS Ecology Chapter Advisor
Department of Biological Sciences
Hampton, VA 23668
I just came across a small study of road-killed insects in Japan:
While I think there are some possible errors in their calculations of mortality/ km (they estimate 5000+ insects per KM, but don't account for days not sampled or loss due to scavenging, capture by car, size of insect, or non-detectability by observer) it none the less documents that many more insects are killed along roads than I would have expected.
This study documented only moderate numbers of Hymenoptera in their totals, but their citations indicate that Hymenoptera can make up much larger portions depending on the habitat along the road.
This study is also intriguing in that the researchers simply walked along the edge of the road and picked up dead insects...which I would have thought would have been difficult to do (and probably represents a gross underestimate of the real kill).
I think that similar projects would make wonderful student projects, but suggest the following:
Address the scavenging loss by using marked or known dead insects in sections of roads.
Address detection rates by having 1 observer seed an area with dead insects and having another count them, using several size classes.
Sam Droege sdroege@...
w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705
A little road not made of man,
Enabled of the eye,
Accessible to thill of bee,
Or cart of butterfly.
If town it have, beyond itself,
'T is that I cannot say;
I only sigh,--no vehicle
Bears me along that way.
Bees are Not Optional
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