Insects of the Konza Prairie

A long-term program at the Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) to study insect diversity in a natural tallgrass prairie ecosystem began in 2001. The goal is to develop baseline survey information on selected insect groups, to develop the holdings of the KSU Museum of Entomological and Prairie Arthropod Research (KSU-MEPAR), and to make specimens, taxon names, and associated information for insect groups collected available to the scientific community.

Five Malaise traps were deployed in KPBS watersheds N2B, N4C, 4B, 4F, and along Kings Creek from 2001-2004. Beginning in 2005, four Malaise traps are sampling watersheds 2C, 2D, 20B, and 20C. The sampling period runs from April or May through November.

A number of Lepidoptera also are being collected with a light trap that has been in operation since 2003 and runs for the same period as the Malaise traps. In addition, there are samples collected with sweep nets, pan traps, and mercury vapor lights. Currently, only Chalcidoidea, Braconidae, and selected Lepidoptera are being mounted and labelled. Other hymenopterans and orders such as Coleoptera and Diptera are stored in ethanol held in freezers.

Thus far, 15,000+ insects have been collected and mounted, with many more samples yet to be sorted.

Click here to see the preliminary list of Hymenoptera that have been identified.

Click here to see the preliminary list of Lepidoptera that have been identified.

Systematists who have contributed to identifications include: Jan Metlevski (KSU), Noctuoidea; Paul Marsh (retired USDA-SEL) and Bob Kula (KSU), Braconidae; Lubomir Masner (Canadian National Collection) and Matt Yoder (Texas A&M University), Platygastroidea and Proctotrupoidea.

A number of groups such as Braconidae, Ichneumonidae, Proctotrupoidea, Symphyta, Trichogrammatidae, and Agromyzidae collected from the KPBS are on loan to various systematists.