Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The reintroduction of the American burying beetle to Nantucket Island
MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University
The federally endangered American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus (Coleoptera: Silphidae) is the largest of North America’s carrion beetles. Its historical range covered 35 states in the eastern temperate areas of North America, but today, populations remain in only eight states and it is possibly one of the rarest beetle species in the United States. The range of ABBs on the east coast is particularly limited, only surviving naturally on Block Island, RI. In 1994, 48 N. americanus were released on Nantucket Island, MA in a large collaborative effort to build a second east coast population. As we observed how this new population was settling in on the island, we have adapted our monitoring and reintroduction methodology to efficiently boost the number of wild beetles. After a peak in capture numbers in 2011 (212 beetles), we entered a phase of testing whether the species can survive on the island with little to no assistance. I will talk about what we have learned concerning dispersal, winter survival, reproduction, and ultimately, the probable fate of this population.
The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 6:00 PM) at Cambridge Common restaurant, on 1667 Massachusetts Ave.
CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:00 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.