A Possible New Location for Okanagana rimosa?
News Category: Cicada Projects
A Possible New Location for Okanagana rimosa?
Given my recent successes with finding Okanagana rimosa in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and developing a familiararity with habitat types for the species, I have decided that I would try to locate other similar habitats. It would seem that O. rimosa in New England prefers a sandy soil environment consisting of pitch pine, scrub oak and other deciduous-type trees with abundant blueberry plants.
While O. rimosa has been reported in Bedford and Concord, Ma.; (from old literature) as well as my success in finding a single exuvia in 2004 in Beford, Ma, it should be noted that the Bedford habitat is unlike the latter habitats. It has been reported that Okanagana rimosa can be found in other types of habitats that consist mainly of deciduous forests in mountainous regions as well as riparian woods. However, if their habitats can vary greatly, I think for now, I will concentrate on pine barren habitats.
About Pine-Barren Habitats
When referring to pine barren habitats in the Northeast, one often associates these habitats with the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens. It starts at the New Jersey pine barrens in Southern New Jersey, and stretches across Long Island into Cape Cod, Massachusetts and includes Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
The Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens was formed as glaciers receded, depositing nutrient-poor highly acidic, sandy soil. Because of the poor nutrient value, only certain types of plants and trees (some rare and only existing in pine barren habitat) are hearty enough to grow and thrive. Pine barren habitat often consists of various species of conifers ie; pitch pine, red pine and black pine. Also certain species of scrub oak are found like Black Jack and White Oak among others.
Even though the Atlantic Coastal Pine barrens would seem to be an ideal habitat, species of Okanagana have not been recorded there. It may be that this region is too far south and coastal for their likeing. The Atlantic Coastal Pine Barren habitat - while the largest in acreage, is not the only area in the Northeast where pine barren habitats can be found. Moving further inland away from the coast one can find isolated pockets of pine barren habitat.
Doing research online I located a promising area known as the Concord Pine Barrens. Further research showed that the Concord Pine Barrens is an area where the New Hampshire Fish and Game department has started a project to reintroduce the Karner Blue butterfly which was almost extirpated in New Hampshire. However, the Concord Pine Barrens (as a place) was very difficult to locate because there is no real address. I decided to first go to the New Hampshire Fish and Game department to get information.
I met several nice officials who were more than happy to help me locate the Pine Barrens. I explained the nature of my interests and why I was interested in exploring the area. One of these individuals was Mary Goodyear who offered to show me directly to the Pine Barrens.
After driving through parts of Concord N.H. and looking at my surroundings it would seem that Concord N.H. may have been developed as part of a larger pine barren area. Most trees along the major roadways seemed to be lined with pitch pine and red and white pine trees. Sandy soil was abundant everywhere. I soon began to wonder if the Concord Pine Barrens are merely the remains of a much larger area where pockets of the Barrens are being preserved and maintained. Ms. Goodyear took me to an area along Pembroke Rd. underneath some power lines and indicated that I should start my search here.
At the Concord Pine Barrens
Today's weather soon proved non-ideal for listening to the calls of Okanagana rimosa. It was a very cloudy and overcast day and it rained profusely the night before. This meant that I could only hope to find evidence by way of cast off nymphal shells (exuvia) on the pine trees that lined the areas on both sides of the power lines. Or if I was lucky, finding a nymph. I was unsucessful in finding either in the end. But I'm not going to give up hope yet.
Just because I didn't hear the cicadas today doesn't mean they aren't here. They could be here and I need to make another visit to rule out with 100% certainty that O. rimosa isn't here.
Other Flora and Fauna
While the day was unsuccesful for finding O. rimosa, I did manage to snap a lot of photos of other types of animals and plants like the Little Wood Satyr, Megisto cymela. Click the thumbnail to the left. These little satyrs seemed to be prevalent all in this area. I was unsuccessful in finding a Karner Blue butterfly but it could be that it was either too cold or they have not emerged as of yet.
I decided that I would try to use my telephoto lense to capture some close photos of wildlife. I found much in the way of songbirds like the Fox Sparrow and even snapped a few photos of a Downy Woodpecker trying to fish out grubs in one of the poles of the power lines. I did have to enhance these photos slightly in order to bring out the colors of these birds due to distance and because the day was cloudy and overcast.
Another area of interest of mine is photographing wildflowers. The Concord Pine Barrens, while small and remnant still seemed to have an abundance of them. I have managed to indentify these wildflowers to the best of my ability. If you spot a mis-identification please feel free to let me know.