Wulfenia bullii and insects

The primary objective of this project is to provide a baseline of invertebrates associated with Kitten’s-tails (Wulfenia bullii), a plant in the Scrophulariaceae family. No information is known about what invertebrates use this plant. This native plant is a Wisconsin threatened species and is in decline because of the loss of habitat. Our research will identify invertebrates using this as their larval food plant, for their own food, fornectar, and pollination. At present, only pollinators have been studied.

This is important because we need science-based information on the invertebrates and their guilds using all plants, and, in particular, rare and declining plants such as Wulfenia bullii. This is a unique opportunity to study plant-invertebrate associations in a large population of W. bullii with no known prior human management.

Marci Hess, Jim Hess, and John van der Linden embarked on this study in February 2017 and concluded it in September 2017. This topic deserves more years of study and research.

Bios of Jim and Marci can be found here. As an undergraduate, John van der Linden conducted field work on bird, insect, and plant ecology in India and the USA. His most recent projects include rare butterfly surveys and invertebrate surveys on dry prairies in Iowa and Minnesota.

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