In the last week of October, we had our first submissions of field survey data from citizen-scientists. Julia Dooley, a teacher in Newark, Delaware, is a veteran of Antarctic research. Several golden rain trees she identified in Newark are now perhaps the northern-most known population of red-shouldered soapberry bugs.
The same week in Northern Virginia, Ashley Gam’s Life Science class identified a large golden rain tree that is host to three large juvenile soapberry bugs. While at the site, students also found a small milkweed bug of the species Lygaeus turcicus and a large predatory assassin bug, probably Leptoglossus occidentals.
One of the great opportunities of this project is to understand how other insects might be competing with soapberry bugs for the food provided by golden rain trees and how these groups of insects attract predators, such as the assassin bug.
We’re looking forward to more involvement from schools and other members of the public as the project continues!