Corvallis Science & Nature: New Local Beetle Discovered, Sustainability Town Hall, Stream DNA, How to Host Bees

New Beetle Discovered Near Corvallis 

Beetles are the single most diverse form of animal life on Earth, with over 360,000 species known to science, and more being described all the time. In a new paper, researchers from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture describe a new beetle found not far from Corvallis. It’s not just a new species, but two species in a brand new genus, the next level of taxonomy. The authors, James R. LaBonte and David R. Maddison, call their beetle Medusapyga, which translates literally to Medusa-rump, and refers to hairs that resemble forked tongues of snakes. The two species they describe in the paper are Medusapyga alsea and Medusapyga chehalis, both named for the river drainages in which they were discovered. They belong to a group called the Anillini, which contains over 500 species, but has never been found anywhere in the Pacific Northwest before, making this a major addition to our catalog of local beetles and one more step toward understanding our Northwest ecosystems as a whole.  

Thursday: Corvallis Sustainability Fair & Town Hall 

This Thursday, March 9, come and learn about the latest research and advancements in sustainability at the annual Corvallis Sustainability Fair and Town Hall. Speakers will include researchers and environmental advocates like OSU’s Bill Ripple and Kathleen Dean Moore, plus Corvallis mayor Charles Maughan, Benton County Commission Chair Pat Malone, and more. The Fair features over 45 interactive exhibits and food from New Morning Bakery. The Town Hall includes speakers and table discussions. The event starts at 5 pm at the CH2MHill Alumni Center on OSU’s campus. The Fair (5 to 7 pm) is open to the public. Registration to attend the Town Hall in person has closed, but registration is still open to attend online via Zoom. More information and registration here.  

Sunday: Stream DNA Talk 

How do you study an animal that you almost never see? Thanks to environmental DNA, or eDNA, scientists can track and map the habitats of even the most elusive species without ever having to catch or even see them. This Sunday, March 12, OSU professor Dr. Tiffany Garcia will present her lab’s latest research in a talk titled “Uncovering the Hidden World of Stream Biodiversity through Environmental DNA”. It’s the latest in the Tap Talk science series hosted by Common Fields and presented by 500 Women Scientists, Corvallis. The presentation starts at 5:30 pm at Common Fields on SW 3rd Street. More information is available here.  

Next Wednesday: Mason Bees in Your Garden 

It may not seem like it with snow still mixing with our rain a few times this week, but Spring is right around the corner. The crocuses are out, daffodils are about to pop, and that means bees aren’t far behind. You don’t have to be a beekeeper, or risk getting stung, to host bees of your own in even the smallest outdoor space. One local native species, the blue orchard mason bee, is an especially helpful and beautiful one, and better yet, like most mason bees, it doesn’t sting. Next Wednesday, March 15, OSU Extension Master Gardener Leah Puhlman will give a webinar on how to host these helpful bees in your garden, from setting up a bee hotel to cleaning and maintenance to keep your bees healthy all year long. The presentation runs from noon to 1 pm, and is open to the public over Zoom. Register here. 

By Ian Rose 

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