Beetles, dragonflies, moths, and dobsonflies were among the species gathered by entomologists from Louisiana State University at the recent BioBlitz in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans. The researchers surveyed for invertebrates using a light-trap that was placed within the forest. The specimens in the composite photograph are not shown to scale.
The BioBlitz was the seventh in a series of 24-hour species counts in wildlife sanctuaries organized by the U.S. National Park Service and the National Geographic Society. The annual inventories form part of the run-up to the National Parks centennial in 2016.
More than 100 scientists led hundreds of students, teachers, and other members of the public into the various ecosystems of Jean Lafitte's Barataria Preserve to look for as many species of animals and plants as could be identified in 24 hours starting midday May 17. (See photos from BioBlitz 2012.)
The initial scientific species count was 458, with well over 1,500 observations made over the two days. Several species new to the park were observed, including invasive animals and plants not previously detected. The official tally is expected to increase significantly as scientists study the collections in their laboratories.