Insects of Bay Farm Shoreline Park - Alameda, CA Download this page in PDF format.

A thin "green belt" stretching from the foot of the Bay Farm Island Bridge along the northwestern shore of Bay Farm Island, this park is perfect for jogging, walking or simply enjoying the sun and views. The Bay Trail follows the paths of the park and has alcoves with benches, play structures and sand pits, public restrooms, sculptures, and lawns. Shoreline Park promises great views of the San Francisco skyline, the southeastern shore of Alameda, the San Leandro Channel, McAffee Coliseum, Towata Park, the Oakland Hills and Crown Memorial State Beach. The Bay Trail also connects with the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal, with service to San Francisco's Pier 39 and Oakland's Jack London Square.

Insect Photo Survey Date(s):

April 3, 2010

Order Coleoptera Lady Beetles (Family Coccinellidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 03, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


California Lady Beetle
Coccinella californica ( Mannerheim 1843 )

Description: This Lady Beetle is much more convex than the other local species. It is red or orange and has no spots. However, where the wings meet is dark and this dark area may expand into a small diamond-shaped patch. The suture, where the wings meet, down the middle of the back is black and can be easily seen. The pronotum is black with a white patch on each side. The head is black with two small white spots between the eyes. The two distinct, unconnected white blotches between the eyes on either side of the thorax and the lack of other spots distinguish it from the similarly convex Seven-spotted Lady Beetle (C. septempunctata)
Range: Range hugs the west coast.
Similar Taxa: The Seven-spotted Lady Beetle (C. septempunctata) is similar in size and color; and is also strongly convex. The Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (C. novemnotata) has non-spotted morphs. However, in C. novemnotata the pronotal anterior margin bears a thin white line that connects its lateral white spots; and the white head spots are fused.

Order Coleoptera Snout & Bark Weevils (Family Curculionidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 3, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


Curculionidae ( Latreille 1802 )

Body Length: 1-35 mm (usually 5-15 mm).
Food: Most larvae and adults occur and feed on all parts of plants, and many species are important pests because they chew holes in fruits, nuts, and other parts of cultivated plants
Range: worldwide
Diversity: Arguably, the largest animal family with more than 40,000 species worldwide and 2,500 species in about 480 genera of 19 subfamilies in North America (Staphylinidae and/or Ichneumonidae may turn out more speciose.).

Order Coleoptera Carrion Beetles (Family Silphidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 03, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


Garden Carrion Beetle
Heterosilpha ramosa ( Say 1823 )

Description: Adults are comparatively broader and more flattened than members of other Silphidae genera. Temples behind the eyes bear a row of long, erect setae and the inner edge of the femora has a pair of ridges.
Colors: Very dark gray to black.
Body Length: 12–18 mm.
Active Period: Year-round.
Habitat: Often on lawns. Adults fly to lights.
Food: Primarily decomposing vegetable matter, but may attack garden and field crops, and grasses.
Range: Common in western North America, east to Ontario.
Similar Taxa: H. aenescens is also comparatively broader and more flattened that other members of the family, and also occurs in California.

True Flies
Order Diptera March Flies (Family Bibionidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 03, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


White-winged March Fly
Bibio albipennis ( Say 1823 )

Description: This species is readily differentiated from other species of Bibio by the very short r-m crossvein and by the short inner spurs of the front tibiae. It differs from melanopilosus Hardy in being larger, having predominantly pale pile, and having nine segments in the antennae. The head, body and legs are all black. Wings appear white. The body is covered pretty densely with white hairs.
Body Length: 5-11 mm.
Distribution: Southern Canada to northern Mexico. The most common and widespread species of the genus.

True Flies
Order Diptera Large Crane Flies (Family Tipulidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 03, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


Large Crane Fly
Tipulidae ( Latreille 1802 )

Description: Superficially resemble mosquitoes, but are generally much larger. Terminal (fourth) segment of maxillary palpus elongate, longer than first three segments combined (short or subequal to third segment in Limoniidae). Antennae usually 13-segmented (14- or 16-segmented in Limoniidae). Humpbacked in lateral view.
Distribution: Worldwide and throughout North America.
Diversity: 3 Subfamilies, with more than 560 species in 12 genera in North America (80% in Tipula), more than 4,400 species in about 40 genera worldwide.

Ants, Bees and Wasps
Order Hymenoptera Bees (Family Apidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 03, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


Yellow-faced Bumble Bee
Bombus vosnesenskii ( Radoszkowski 1862 )

Description: Guide to the Bombus of San Francisco, By Quinn S. McFrederick, B. vosnesenskii, B. caliginosus and B. californicus all have yellow hairs at the front and back of their bodies and a large black patch in the center. B. vosnesenskii is the most common and has short hairs that looked cropped and yellow hairs on the face. B. californicus is the only one of the three with black hairs on the face. B. caliginosus is shaggier than B. vosnesenskii and has yellowhairs on the underside of the abdomen where B. vosnesenskii has only black hairs on the underside of the abdomen. Wikipedia: Bombus vosnesenskii, the Yellow-faced Bumblebee, is distributed through western North America. This species grows to 1-2 centimetres (0.39-0.79 in) long, with queen being larger than the workers. B. vosnesenskii is characterized by the yellow coloration of the head pile, the mostly black thorax and abdomen, a single yellow thoracic stripe on the lower abdomen, and blackish wings.
Colors: Top and front of area forward of eyes with yellow setae. Thorax with yellow setae at anterium and black setae at posterium. Abdomen all black except for a segment before the apex which is ringed in yellow.
Body Length: 15-22 (Q); 10-17 (W)
Biology: Wikipedia: The overwintering queen first appears during spring and establishes underground colonies. After laying her first brood she, and the workers, will incubate the cluster until the adults emerge. The queen and workers use thermoregulation to incubate the cluster. The fuel for the bumblebee's thermoregulation during incubation is derived from honey (when the bumblebee is not foraging), nectar, and pollen. Late in the season males and young queens leave the nest and mate. While old males, queens, and workers die. The new queens overwinter and the cycle continues.
Range: Bombus vosnesenskii is found along the west coast from southern British Columbia to northern Baja California. It is very common in much of its range.

Order Isopoda Pillbugs (Family Armadillidiidae)

Photo Date/Time: April 03, 2010
Location: Alameda
Photograph By: Eddie Dunbar


Armadillidium vulgare ( Latreille 1804 )

Description: The telson is trapezoidal. Color is dark grey color with yellow patches, margins are never white. The head has no significant middle lobe.
Body Length: 18 mm.
Biology: Pillbugs and Sowbugs have 14 pairs of legs. Known locally as potato bugs or roly polies, these are actually crustaceans. They are more closely related to shrimps, crabs and lobsters than to insects. They feed on decaying organic matter on the ground or in trees. When threatened they can roll themselves into a protective ball. Sowbugs, are closely related, but are flatter and cannot roll into a ball. Females of both bear live young which look like the adult.
Habitat: Humid places under stones, bricks, or logs.
Distribution: This species was introduced worldwide and is widely distributed in America north of Mexico.