“Ninnescah Life” is a portal to the plants, animals, and people who live and work in and around the Ninnescah River region of south central Kansas.
The upland prairies, red hills, sand prairies, forested creeks, and river valleys are excellent sites for migrating birds, wildlife, and native flora. The Ninnescah River watershed unites Wichita State University’s Biological Reserves: the Ninnescah Reserve, Sellers Reserve and Gerber Reserve. Wichita States Reserves provide a connection with wildlife and plant life in the region, with the mission of research, teaching, conservation, and public outreach.
(Order Dermaptera; Family Labiduridae)
Spotted Cucumber Beetle
(Order Coleoptera; Family Chrysomelidae)
Diabrotica undecimpunctata (Photo by Michael O'Connell)
(Kansas: Sedgwick County. Great Plains Nature Center, North of main entrance, 37°44'23.90"N, 97°15'57.01"W. In grass. October 7th, 2013.)
Adult Diagnosis: Adult beetles are yellow-green and around 0.5cm in length. Their head, antennae, and legs are black. They have twelve, large black spots on their elytra, or hardened wing covers. The sexes are very similar in morphology, but one dimorphism trait is their size. Females are slightly larger than males although males will have longer antennae.
Photograph of Diabrotica undecimpunctata mating. Body and antenna size can be observed between male, top, and female, bottom. Photo courtesy of: bugguide.net
Adult Natural History: The spotted cucumber beetle becomes active in the spring. It can fly long distances, sometimes as far as five-hundred miles. Diabrotica undecimpunctata mate in the spring, and females can lay over one-thousand eggs.
Males of the spotted cucumber beetle will rhythmically stroke females with their antennae while mating. The males that stroke quickly have a higher chance of being accepted as a mate. The larvae are hosts on the roots of corns, grains,beans, and grasses.
The spotted cucumber beetle is considered a pest, although it does not do near as damage as the closely related western striped cucumber beetle, with the latter feeding far more on cucurbits (squash family). Although, both species will vector plant diseases.
Distribution: The species is widely distributed across North America with the exception being anything west of the Rocky Mountains.
Map courtesy of: agweb.com
Habitat: The beetle overwinters near buildings,wood lots, or in fence rows. The host plants the Diabrotica undecimpunctata can be found on includes more than 200 plants including common weeds, grasses, and cultivated crops. This insect is prevalent on corn and peanut, but it also attacks cucumber, squash, bean and other vegetables, melon, wheat, rice, millet, rye, oat, and alfalfa.
Diet: The diet of the spotted cucumber beetle is the same as the plants it becomes host of. It is considered a pest because of the crops it consumes, but unlike its relatives, such as the aforementioned western striped cucumber beetle, the spotted cucumber beetle will eat many other insects, including other pests. There is debate in the agriculture community regarding whether or not the beetle is an actual pest.
Photograph of Spotted Cucumber Beetle (left) and Western Striped Cucumber Beetle (right) feeding on vegetation. Photo courtesy of ww2.ca.uky.edu
Conservation status: Stable
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KP2jQgLSBg - "Spotted Cucumber Beetle"
Texas A&M, Agrilife Extension, Habitat and Food Source:
Bug guide, photo gallery:
University of Kentucky, Insect Management:
North Carolina State University, Spotted Cucumber Beetle Description:
Pawnnation, The Lifecycle of the Spotted Cucumber Beetle:
Kiss, J. Edwards et al. Monitoring of western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) in Europe 1992-2003. in Western corn rootworm: ecology and management, Editors: Stefan Vidal, et al. CABI 2005
Staff, Purdue University Extension Service. Corn Rootworms
R. Wright, L. Meinke & K. Jarvi (July 1999). "Corn Rootworm Management". University of Nebraska. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
Submitted by: Michael O'Connell, November 2013
Here is an inspiring video about beautiful places in Kansas.... Wish I knew where all of those pictures were taken! Great habitats for insects, plants, birds, herps, and mammals!
Black light date night at Swanson Park was interesting! It is a postage-stamp park right in the center of town. Although it had been a HOT day and the night was moonless, the black lights did not attract a great abundance of insects :( We did, however, see lots of interesting orders (Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, among the basics), a fabulous orb-weaving spider that was trying to subdue a dragonfly, and really cool larvae of the Polyphemus moth!! Emmy and Kyle retrieved 3 from a pin oak tree so that we can watch them metamorphose!!
Well done!! Thanks to everyone in the Field Ecology classes as well as a few volunteers! You helped discover frog-killing fungus in Kansas! See the story at http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/wsunews/news/?nid=2227
"Wichita State students discover frog-killing fungus in Kansas
A group of Wichita State University students has discovered evidence of frogs infested with the deadly chytrid fungus in the Wichita area. This is the first report of chytrid in Kansas. The pathogenic fungus is found in all neighboring states and has caused the decline and extinction of amphibian species globally."
All frogs at this site were Acris crepitans. Jim Mason provided this info: "Yes, all those photos are of Acris crepitans. The dark triangular mark between the eyes is diagnostic." I also have a video of the habitat (I can send this in email). All images are in order. If you have any questions about frog individuals, holler!
We had a very good night on Ninnescah! It was quite a comparison from the past 2 summers of drought! We called in a barred owl and a screech owl; heard bull frogs and cricket frogs; played with turd rollers rolling their booty; figured out the temperature based on snowy tree cricket chirps; brought in THREE species of underwing moths by sugaring trees and at lights; saw LOTS of aquatic insects at light (very few in the last 2 years); and enjoyed the milky way! The river was so amazingly high that we could not search for bombardier beetles or eye shine. Such a change for JULY when it is typically low. Strange extremes in weather. The night lab is a novel opportunity for many students who have never been exposed to nature at night. For some students, the night lab is the first time to see the milky way!