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.
This summer, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies has spearheaded the Vermont Wild Bee Survey in Chittenden County. According to project coordinator Spencer Hardy, more than 320 species have been documented thus far — and nearly a dozen appear to be species of wild bees that were previously unknown to be in the state.
Last observed in Vermont in 1997, the climbing fern has been spotted again growing in the Northeast Kingdom, according to Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s botanist Bob Popp.