Centennial Bio Blitz Discoveries

Image © Allison Sacerdote-Velat

Bullfrog (rare blue coloration) found during the Centennial Bio Blitz June 26-27, 2015.

For 24 hours starting on Friday, June 26, 2015, the District hosted a Centennial Bio Blitz, during which professional and citizen scientists surveyed 3,700 acres across four forest preserves to document the plants and animals that live there. The Bio Blitz was one of many events in 2015 celebrating the Forest Preserve District's 100th anniversary. A report on the Bio Blitz can be viewed here. Check out our Bio Blitz Discoveries photo galleries (butterflies, birds, dragonflies, fungi, reptiles and amphibians and miscellaneous insects and invertebrates) highlighting many of the species seen during the event.

A whopping 953 species were documented during the 24-hour period. Of these, participants found:

• 439 vascular plants (grasses, trees, shrubs, ferns and flowering plants)
• 140 nonvascular plants (including 44 fungi, 64 lichens and 25 mosses)
• 146 vertebrate wildlife (including 95 birds, 14 mammals, 21 fish, 5 amphibians and 7 reptiles)
• 228 invertebrates (including 65 butterflies and moths, 40 dragonflies and damselflies, 53 beetles, 22 flies and 4 crayfish)

Participants recorded 60 species that had not been observed in DuPage County forest preserves previously, including: 

• 39 invertebate species
• 6 lichen species
• 13 fungi species
• 2 moss species

One of these invertebrate species, Pteromicra similis Steyskal, a tiny parasitoid species in the Sciomyzidae family, had never before been recorded in Illinois. This discovery (a male/female pair) also represents the westernmost record of the species.

Rare observations included:
* Two Illinois-endangered birds: Black-crowned Night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
* Nine dragonfly/damselfly species considered imperiled in Illinois, according to Illinois State Museum
* One butterfly (Dion skipper, Euphyes dion) on the “Species in Greatest Need of Conservation” list compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

On Saturday, June 27, 2015 the Forest Preserve District also hosted a public Nature Fest at St. James Farm Forest Preserve to celebrate northeastern Illinois’ biodiversity and to allow the public to interact with Bio Blitz participants. The event was attended by an estimated 1,900 people.

Image © Judith Horsley

A red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) found during the Centennial Bio Blitz June 26-27.

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