Thank you to everyone that filled out the little survey for Sarah’s class project. For this small project she was looking only at records for Pterostichus californicus and P. vicinus in the Bay Area. The conclusion for this small exploration are:
1. Specimens in the museum collection are representative of the life cycle and shifts in abundance for these two species. They show a maximum number of specimens in the January to March period, with tails of the distribution from November and until June (typical onset of rains and full dry out, respectively). The two have a slightly different pattern over the year that may be related to the stronger preference for relatively moist, leaf litter rich oak habitat in P. vicinus and the truly eurytopic P. californicus, which is found in forest and open treeless habitats.
2. Collectors claim to mostly sample at times when they presume that the target taxon is going to be most active, but this may be any time of the year (taxon and region dependent). Given this, conspicuous, non-target taxa that are abundant and difficult to separate in the field, but easy to collect, may be some of the best choices for developing less biased, museum-based samples. In this case no collectors (except me) target these species and no one (again except me) can field identify them (or the two other species typically mixed in sympatry).
My personal take is that general collecting along with our specialized collection, was and still is valuable.