While exploring the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area in the fall of 2019, VCE’s Bee Biologist Spencer Hardy noticed a Virginia Creeper with an interesting pair of leaf mines on it. A recent study found it to be part of a new moth Genus and new species for Vermont.
Fifteen years after it was first discover near Montreal, Canada, the European Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) has been found in Vermont. On September 5, 2020 David Barrington captured an image of the species at Alburg Dunes State Park.
Bees are extremely important to our ecosystems, and yet little is known about the wild bees of Vermont. Check out this article to learn more about the new discoveries of the Vermont Wild Bee Atlas in 2020.
A small, metallic-black arthropod with a head, thorax, abdomen, and two waving antennae – your classic picnic-robbing ant right? Take a closer look at Michael Sundue’s photos at the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist and you’ll see that in fact this is the first record of the ant-mimicking spider Myrmarachne formicaria in Vermont.
Tall Beech Fern (Phegopteris excelsior) was recently described as a new species. Tall Beech Fern was originally thought to be a hybrid of Long Beech Fern (P. connectilis) and Broad Beech Fern (P. hexagonoptera). Further analysis proved that Tall Beech Fern is of hybrid descent, but not from a hybridization event between Long and Broad Beech Ferns. Given the number of differences between Tall Beech Fern and the species it is most closely related to—Long Beech Fern—Tall Beech Fern was described as a new species.
On March 23, 2018 Mark Bessette surprised the Vermont iNaturalist community. Mark had snapped some photographs of an unusual-looking bird that he dubbed, “Elvis, the juvenile bald eagle.” The bird appeared to have a black wig that reminded Mark of the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley. The iNaturalist community was quick to weigh in on the real identity of this bird. To seasoned birders, it easily stood out as a misplaced Crested Caracara.
State Agriculture and Health officials announced that the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has been identified for the first time in Vermont. This normally tropical/subtropical species is a known disease vector for Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses, infecting humans in countries where these diseases are present. The mosquitoes found in Vermont do not currently carry these viruses.
Over 1,475 biologists and naturalists have contributed more than 51,000 moth photo-observations to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Together, we’ve discovered over 100 new species for Vermont, and iNaturalists have done it again. two species new to Vermont were discovered and one species that was only known from a historical record was rediscovered.
You don’t have to go far to help the Vermont Atlas of Life discover species new to Vermont. You just have to be observant. On August 12th Roy Pilcher, citizen scientist extraordinaire and recipient of the Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award in 2009, found one in his car!
On June 10th Jasper Barnes, a wildlife biology student at the University of Vermont, snapped a photo of a tiny jumping spider near campus and shared it to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. It soon became recognized as the first record of this species for Vermont and the northernmost United States.