Caterpillars of the Western US

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 7:30pm to Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 12:30pm


Caterpillars of the Western United States

March 17-18, 2017

Instructor: Dr. David L. Wagner

Join visiting researcher and caterpillar expert Dr. David Wagner (University of Connecticut) for an evening presentation and a field class with his crew the next day to help document the diversity of Lepidoptera reproducing in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Photo: JC Obando

Dr. Wagner will discuss why caterpillars are important and show us some of their fascinating survival strategies. He will also cover the interactions between plants, caterpillars, and birds—and the role of caterpillars in this tri-trophic sandwich. Throughout the talk, Wagner will share wonderful macrophotographic images of caterpillars, that will surely instill in us a greater appreciation for the little creatures that run the world. We’ll also get to hear interesting discoveries from Dr. Wagner’s previous week doing research in the Park for an upcoming book and identify some near-term targets for which the citizen scientists among us could contribute!

Saturday’s field class will travel to Coyote Canyon and the flats of Henderson Canyon in search of caterpillars. We will stop at 4-5 sites and fan out from cars to cover various terrain including sandy flats, dry hillsides, and around the creek. We will likely be targeting specific caterpillars—an authentic "quest"—to include in Wagner's western field guide to caterpillars. The caterpillars are supreme botanists, so plant identification will be a big part of the morning. Attendees will be introduced to much entomology and plant-insect ecology.

Plan to have lunch in the field.

Hiking Level: Easy walking. Participants can choose to stay close to cars in flats or wander up on hillsides.

Bring: Plenty of water, sack lunch, sturdy walking shoes, sun protection, and a hand lens if you have one (some will be available to share) or reading glasses / binoculars (which can be turned upside down and used as a hand lens)

Class Schedule and Pricing

Friday Lecture
7:30-9:00 p.m.
$5 at the door; open to the public 

Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
401 Tilting T Drive
Borrego Springs
Saturday Field Class
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
$40 - Public Rate (includes lecture)
$30 - ABF Member Rate (includes lecture)

ABF Office
587 Palm Canyon Drive #110
Borrego Springs