Shutting down Lionepha lummi

I am quite sure that this is the habitat of Lionepha lummi.  The picture below shows American Camp, on San Juan Island, not far from Friday Harbor, in Washington state.  And I think tomorrow would be a perfect day to collect specimens; it is October, the rains have come to the Pacific Northwest, and tomorrow will be a mixture of sun and scattered rain.


I have wanted to collect L. lummi for years, and tomorrow I was scheduled to go there. I will have driven about 1300 km in the last few days specifically so that I could go after L. lummi. I had all of my reservations in place, and a collecting permit for American Camp.  Alas, American Camp is part of San Juan Island National Historical Park, and is closed because of the government shutdown.

I could easily walk into that site from the nearby road, but there is a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail if I am caught (and there would be even more dramatic consequences).   And I can’t contact the folks I know at the park to see if it would be OK for me to collect there (perhaps they would let me given that I have a permit), as they would be subject to up to two years in jail just for checking their email.



This entry was posted in Fieldwork, Revising Bembidiina and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Shutting down Lionepha lummi

  1. James Bergdahl says:

    What unfortunate timing for a long-anticipated collecting trip to a National Park for such a unique carabid. However, if you did not collect at American Camp or British Camp on San Juan Island, I assume you collected carabids elsewhere on the Island while you were there, including L. lummi habitat, whatever that may actually be….

    I am curious where you collected, and the carabid species list you acquired. I hand-collected and pitfalled carabids intensively on ~60 San Juan (WA) and Gulf (BC) islands 1983-1993, including the NPS’s American and English Camp, and many windswept shoreline and montane grassy balds, such as your photo. (This habitat type is actually fairly common, and widely distributed on the islands.) My first focus was the Archipelago’s fascinating distribution of flightless forest carabid species, but eventually narrowed my focus more on wetlands species, e.g. Bembidion, because they are usually the last species to be added to any island- sample’s rarefaction curve. L. lummi may be best classified as a wetland Bembidion even though it may be found it such exposed, seasonally dry locations.

    Do you have a photo of L. lummi you can post? I have many hundreds of pinned Bembidion from the San Juan/Gulf islands here in m collection in Spokane. I am fairly proficient with many Pacific Northwest Bembidion groups, including Lionepha spp., however they are certainly not the easiest Bembidion subgenus to sort out with a mediocre scope.

    James Bergdahl
    Spokane, WA, USA

    • Hi James,
      No, I did not go to the islands – it wasn’t worth it to me to pay the hundreds of dollars required for hotels etc., so I just cancelled that part of the trip.
      Lionepha lummi (and note that it is the genus Lionepha now, not subgenus) is surely not a wetland species. The very closely related L. chintimini lives on top of the coastal mountains in Oregon, not in wetlands, but in the rocky soil in the grasslands; the soil is damp during the rainy season.
      Lionepha are virtually impossible to identify without a very good scope or careful preparation of the male genitalia (and examination of their internal sac sclerites). Lionepha erasa, L. lummi, and L. casta are all about the same size and are extremely similar. All of these might be found on the islands. But if you found one of these in the grasslands, then it would most likely be L. lummi. There are pictures in my blog of Lionepha chintimini (see the post about rainy season beetles), which look very similar to L. lummi.
      – David

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