What's some of the rarest animals in virginia?

I would like to know so I can go searching for them.


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Lepidoptera Odonata Web Atlas (vararespecies.org)

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Look here. https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/rare-species-com They have lists and a search tool. Grank and Srank will give a better indication of rarity than the legal protection status.

I would guess that the locations are obscured for many rare species. You can always find your own new locations but it may not be easy.


If Virginia has preserves, those preserves may have been established for specific, rare species or suites of species. If such a preserve is not open to the public, contact the organization or agency in charge and find out if there are volunteering opportunities.

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If you want a real challenge there are Platylabus berndi and Ichneumon lewisii to consider. Both are ichneumonids. I’ve gone through three years of Malaise trap samples and only found one male of each.


Plus, in the largest ich collection in North America they are only represented by a couple of specimens. To make matters worse, P. berndi hasn’t been recorded from Virginia previously and the female for I. lewisii isn’t even known. I think observing either of these species and/ or getting an image of them alive would be near impossible.


How would you recommend attracting them?

Difficult, I would think. Ichneumonids are parasitoids of wood-boring insects. They drill into wood when they detect the insect inside. So you’d have to know if these species prefer a certain host, that in turn prefers a certain kind of wood.

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Is there anything I can read about them?

Most species actually are parasitoids of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). There are a range of hosts but most are in the “big four” holometabolous orders: Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera. Some of the largest, most charismatic groups, like Rhyssinae, are parasitoids of wood-boring insects though. For most species, there is no known way to attract them but probably the easiest way to find a specific species is by looking around the plants that the hosts feed on or at least the habitat the females typically search. This is difficult though some few hosts are known and some groups, like Ichneumoninae, are going after pupae in the soil or other hiding places. Here’s a good intro to the group: http://www.amentinst.org/GIN/. There’s a lot of other material I could suggest/ provide if interested.

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Thank you, they seem very interesting and I would love to learn more.

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