The Nahant Marsh Education Center, in cooperation with a number of other organizations conducted a bioblitz last weekend in the Illiniwek Forest Preserve in Hampton, Illinois last weekend. The idea behind a bioblitz is that a bunch of people who have specialized knowledge in different groups of living things get together and try to identify as many species as possible within a limited period of time–usually 24 hours. Often it is open to the public as an educational opportunity.
So you have botanists mixing with dragonfly specialists, butterfliers, birders, fungi hunters, and a bunch of others all roaming through nature and making lists of what they see. Many are taking advantage of relatively new technology like iNaturalist.
I came armed with old technology–the 1939 Fieldbook of Illinois Land Snails by Frank Collins Baker. My contributions were meager–I identified one snail and two slugs, along with four butterflies (it was cloudy and rainy) and two damselflies. When I got home and downloaded my photos, I discovered that I had missed a snail.
The slug is Deroceras laeve, and is about an inch long. Just below the head of the slug is a full grown adult snail shell, probably containing the living animal. There are a number that it could be, maybe in the genus Gastrocopta. But I didn’t even see it until I downloaded the photo. It can’t really be identified without looking at other angles.
The event was quite a bit of fun, and I plan to attend similar events in the future as other groups host them. There is a learning curve to being a participant, and I think I can figure out ways to be better prepared to make a larger contribution.