We made it back to Solite Saturday with a good sized crew of volunteers! Upon arriving at the quarry, the pit appeared to have not been disturbed. Last year, we decided to go on hiatus to give the rock time to weather during the winter. Weathering is exactly what we needed! The insect bed was significantly easier to separate from the underlying dolostone and the slabs of previously removed overburden (fish/plant/Tany layers) split like a dream.
The Tanytrachelos did not disappoint. We found several partial bodies and fragments. Below are two of the nicer specimens we collected.
Per my usual, I like to check a few of the blocks of insect bed before I add them to the collection boxes to see if there are any insects visible. I had success! The first insect I found was a beetle with clear elytra and anterior body portion visible. Unfortunately, my iPhone does not take great pictures of tiny things. Back in the lab, I took this specimen and looked at it through a macro lens. The result was fantastic. In addition to the elytra and the anterior portion, the abdomen preserved.
Additionally, there were other insects on the same slab! There are multiple possible water bug nymphs, wings and a body of unidentified insects present.
The second insect I found in the field was an insect that I refer to based on a structure: a loop (structure). The identification of these insects has not been confirmed yet (to my knowledge) but I have seen them referred to as Diptera larvae. The loop structure has been hypothesized to be the anal gills of the larva.
By the end of the day (all 3 hrs of it), we collected 6 cubic feet of insect bed and various Tanytrachelos specimens, plants, and fish specimens. Our next trip out will be part of the 2016 SEAVP conference field trip.