Southern Species Move North?
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Author:  eternalwanderer [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Southern Species Move North?

I'm not a scientist, I don't have any research or telling peer reviewed essays. But I've travelled and I've been observant for a long time and I've noticed things in the past few years that tell me the environment is changing you don't need a degree to figure out.

I was raised in Florida and have frequently travelled North to visit relatives in the Northeast and Upper Midwest for well over two decades. Now I've lived in Kentucky for almost a decade and I've noticed some things have changed in that time. Animals, usually small birds and insects, that I've never seen this far North have started to turn up around my area.

Example 1: A large species of dragonfly don't know the name. About three to five inches long bright metallic green body with iridescent wings. It's compound eyes have an unusual goggle-like shape and are easily identified as different from other species. Now until last year I've never seen this kind of dragonfly North of Georgia, almost never North of Atlanta and never even into northern Georgia. But starting last summer I noticed these same dragonflies Here in Kentucky.

Example 2: Giant Ground Hornets. Not bees, wasps, nor yellowjackets you can't miss them. They're dusky orange almost pumpkinseed color where a yellowjacket is yellow. They're about an inch and a half to two and a half-inches long and sting like the dickens, highly agressive. They live in small nests built in holes they've dug in hard dry soil. These I started to notice about four years ago when I ran over one of their nests with a mower. Something I haven't had to worry about since I grew up in Florida because I'd never seen them North of South Carolina. There don't seem to be that many of them but there seem to be more of them than four years ago and before that I'd never seen ANY this far north.

Example 3: A very large beetle I don't know the name of. It's roughly two to three inches long built similar to a rhinocerous beetle without the horn and has a more rounded snout with bigger eyes. Bright reflective green carapace with black wings under the shields and tints toward a bluish or teal color on the bottom. This is the most glaring and what prompted the post because in all that I've travelled I've never seen these beetles more than forty or fifty miles north of the Florida/Georgia border. Yet today I found one in rural North Central Kentucky.

Example 4: Pretty much the entire South has Cicadas, they're practically a regional trait, but I've noticed the timing of their emergence has changed. When I was growing in Florida the Cicadas emerged in August just before school started. When I was in High School I can remember them emerging about mid-September. Last time I went down to Florida to visit relatives the Cicadas were emerging in November. And Here in Kentucky the timing has changed too. A decade ago they emerged in between the end of June and mid-July. This year they're emerging in early August.

I could give more but I don't want this post to get too long and I can always add them if there's interest. My question is has anyone else noticed these sort of things? Changes in animal life or habits, or even just the timing of when animals do certain things? If so I'd be glad to discuss it.

Author:  DO.g's [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Not just critters are moving north, but spores, molds and diseases are moving as well. The mountain pine beetle is moving in on British Columbias forests, destroying the pine trees up as far as Fort St. John. They used to be killed off each year by cold winters but lately the winters have been mild enough that they remain alive and are ready to kickstart their menace at the start of each spring. There is a type of spore/ mold that is common to warmer climates that has established itself on the east side of Vancouver island. It is more common on islands like Hawaii. West nile and other diseases are headed this way, as they have been reported inIdaho and western Alberta.

It is happening in the oceans as well. Because of warmer currents, Humboldt Squid are here as well as tuna and mackeral. They are predators that feed on our fine salmon that comes down from Alaska to retun to spawn. These predators are devastating to the base stock.

Perhaps part of the encroachment is due to foods being depleted further south, but the proof of rising temperatures in the oceans and on the land is well documented. This means migrations are earlier than usual, blossoms are blooming earlier, and creatures that are temperature sensitive will have to move further north to continue what they have been doing for survival for eons. Case in point; Salmon require many factors to continue, like rain to swell the streams, cool temperatures to swim in etc just to spawn. With increased temperatures causing birthing problems for the fry, the salmon may be forced to search for more streams further north to migrate. The salmon will always return to the stream they were hatched in, so this is devastating. Plus with the earlier run off of glaciers and receding amounts of water at key times, the effects are bound to damage one of our most important food fishes.

Sad strange days indeed.

Author:  eternalwanderer [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:20 pm ]
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Yes the migrations are something I've noticed. Here in Kentucky we're deep inland so it's bird migration. But the birds are moving North earlier and staying longer than they used to.

Forest composition might be changing too, though this isn't more than a feeling. But if you look at uncleared land and compare the species distribution of trees of different ages the distribution is changing. Vines and creepers seem to do a lot better than they used to. Some of the largest most established trees seem to be under heat stress and its damaging leaves.

Down at the lake near where I live the habits of fish are changing becoming more like what I remember from Florida when I was a kid as they try to stay in their temperature band. More cover plants are growing out from the shoreline into deeper water than they used to. Even the water seems different maybe lower oxygen content from surface heating?

Author:  sadie53 [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:22 pm ]
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We also have something similar to the Giant Ground Hornets you are talking about eternalwanderer. I haven't been stung by one (thank goodness) but they look like a giant brownish purple mud dobber or wasp. They dig holes in the hard dry dirt and I mean tunnels - go in one hole and come out another about 12 inches away! I have never seen them until this summer.

This isn't real recent but happened over my life time.
Does anyone remember when sweat bees were very small? Maybe the size of 1/2 and asperin, with very small wings. Now they are 1/2 the size of a honey bee with long narrow wings. They are really bothersome, somewhat of a pest. Have they evolved into a larger species?

Author:  eternalwanderer [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yep I remember those ground hornets they're a little smaller than the orange kind and a little less aggressive. Never saw them as far south as Gainsville or Ocala but they were all over when we visited relatives in Columbus, Georgia. Thing about ground hornets is they don't live alone. They live in small groups usually anywhere up to about twenty of them in a nest. That's where the tunnels lead, they dig tunnels a little underground where the temperature is more constant then they build a nest like a mud dauber colony or a yellowjacket nest.

Sweat Bees? Those are stingless bees I think. Are they generally a greenish or bluish hue with a bee like body shape but no sting? We still have the little aspirin sized stingless bees here in Kentucky, they stick to cooler places. Where they have overhead cover from trees or in the shadow of a draw or saddle in the hills where the sun doesn't hit so hard. But I've seen the bigger ones ever since I moved up here about a decade ago. I didn't realize there was anything strange about them, I was already used to seeing them further south and didn't realize they didn't used to be here.

Author:  mga [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:29 pm ]
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there's a type of ivy that grows down south...i forgot the name....but recently it's been spotted growing in new york state in some parts. this caught the attention of scientists, because they've noticed that ivy plants seem the be thriving more than ever.

ivy lives on hi carbon dioxide and there is concern that ivy could damage forests if left unchecked. but, is this a result of global warming? not has to come to their own conclusion.

as for those nasty wasps...i have plenty of hornet spray in the garage. i don't mind bees and such, but i just don't like them living close to me. i spray wasp's nests every chance i get.

Author:  eternalwanderer [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:35 pm ]
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I wonder what this'll do to Kudzu, that stuff is a nightmare but it has a narrow climate window. So it won't grow down into southern Georgia because it's too hot or north past about middle lower Tennesse because it's too cold. But this could push it further North maybe? Trying to cut back Kudzu is impossible, the stuff grows about a foot a day. Of course it actually might be the answer. Propagate the stuff in cities to try to soak up some of the CO2 they produce.

Author:  Catherine [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:37 pm ]
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Sweat Bees?

Sweat bees are very common in my part of North Carolina. They do sting, especially if you happen to swat at them when they land on you. It hurts, too! And a red welt is left for quite some time on your skin. We used to dread sweat bees more than actual bees or wasps when we were kids and played outside all day during the long summer vacation.

The young man who mows for us found a beautiful hornets' nest today, growing in the middle of a Leyland Cypress tree. We're not going to spray it because it's not in an area that is likely to be disturbed by us or by someone else. I intend to keep my eye on it to see just how big it'll get...from a safe distance, of course!


Author:  justinmoon22 [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

Is this what you guys are talking about? Cicada-Killers ... rhome.html ... killer.htm

We have these around our house every year. They will actually scare the shit out of you at first. They're HUGE. My wife and kids a petrified of bugs. I get a kick out of them. I think they're fascinating.

Author:  eternalwanderer [ Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:43 am ]
Post subject:  Similar Very Similar

Those Cicada Killers are very similar to Ground Hornets but they're not quite the same. The ones I'm familiar with and mentioned are about the same length as the ones in those pictures but they have a stouter abdomen and thicker legs. Also the coloring is different, ground hornets aren't yellow they're more pumpkin colored and the black markings are thinner. The wings are more translucent and might be a little more broad as well.

Author:  sadie53 [ Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:16 am ]
Post subject: 

No they aren't that colorful. The ones I am talking about are a dull dark brownish purple. There was no black or white or any color stripes.

Author:  eternalwanderer [ Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:20 am ]
Post subject: 

I think each of us is referring to a different but related species, I mean considering how many hundreds of thousands of species of insects there are I wouldn't be surprised.

The ones Sadie mention are just like she describes them because I remember seeing them around a relatives place in Columbus Georgia but I never saw them as far south as Florida where we lived.

The ones I described seem to be a more southerly species than the other two. And I can definitely see it being related to the ones in the pictures but different enough to be a separate species.

If the range of the species were changing it would push them in bands since they don't occupy the same exact environment or habitat band. With species maintaining a roughly similar distribution of the dark ones north of the orange ones. The yellow ones are possibly the ones normal to the Ohio Valley temperature band with these new competitors moving in on them now.

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