Discovery Week I

This week I’ll be showcasing some new-to-me species.
Eye-level leaves are the naturalist’s friend. Your big honking tree has a lot of leaves up there, and 99% of them are inaccessible to the eye. But find yourself some low branches, or a sapling, and examine the sun-bathed leaves. They can be hopping…
That’s how I found this Two-lined Chestnut Borer (Agrilus bilineatus). A member of the metallic wood-boring beetle family (Buprestidae), this insect’s larvae bore into already weakened and diseased chestnut and oak trees. An infestation can be fatal for the tree. Healthy trees aren’t bothered by them. Now that we don’t have many native chestnuts, the common name is a bit out of date. Evidently, though, the adults eat chestnut blight spores: attracted by the blighted chestnut, the larvae can finish off the woods.

In iNaturalist, this is the first record for Brooklyn, the second record for NYC, and only the third for the state. I suspect professional beetle hunters, like state and federal forest managers, who use traps and other witchery, might differ with this rather more limited citizen-science survey.

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