Field collecting in Apalachicola National Forest
Little is known of the micro Hymenoptera fauna in the northern Florida region, especially of the superfamilies included in the PCCP project. Because of this, the Ronquist lab has established collecting sites in the nearby Apalachicola National Forest to document species diversity and to collect material valuable to the AToL project. Apalachicola contains large tracts of sandy hills and flatwoods pine forests, managed with prescribed burning to mimic natural lightening fires, and other habitats such as bottomland forests, cypress swamps, and island hammocks. Much of the area is flat and often wet. Our collecting regime for these habitats includes Malaise sampling and yellow pan traps. Our collecting challenges include hurricanes, floods, biting flies, mosquitoes, horseflies (called yellow flies here in northern Florida due to their coloration), bears (which have eaten at least one of our Malaise traps!), and hot humid weather.