Insects of Palo Alto

Palo Alto was established by Leland Stanford when he founded Stanford University. The city includes portions of Stanford University and is headquarters to a number of high-tech companies. As of the 2010 census, the city's total resident population is 64,403. Palo Alto is one of the most expensive cities in the United States and its residents are among the most educated in the country.


Palo Alto is crossed by several creeks that flow north to San Francisco Bay, Adobe Creek on its eastern boundary, San Francisquito Creek on its western boundary, and Matadero Creek in between the other two. Arastradero Creek is tributary to Matadero Creek, and Barron Creek is now diverted to Adobe Creek just south of Highway 101 by a diversion channel. The San Francisquito Creek mainstem is formed by the confluence of Corte Madera Creek and Bear Creek not far below Searsville Dam. Further downstream, Los Trancos Creek is tributary to San Francisquito Creek below Interstate 280.

Environmental Features

Palo Alto has a number of significant natural habitats, including estuarine, riparian, and oak forest. Many of these habitats are visible in Foothill Park, which is owned by the city. The Charleston Slough contains a rich marsh and littoral zone, providing feeding areas for a variety of shorebirds and other estuarine wildlife.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.8 square miles. 23.9 square miles of it is land and 1.9 square miles or 7.38% is water.

The official elevation is 56 feet above sea level, but the city boundaries reach well into the peninsula hills. There are signs denoting the city limits on Skyline Boulevard (highway 35) and the Stevens Canyon trail (San Andreas fault rift zone).


Typical of the San Francisco Bay Area, Palo Alto has a Mediterranean Climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Typically as the sun goes down the fog bank flows over the foothills to the west and covers the night sky, thus creating a blanket that helps trap the summer warmth absorbed during the day.
Adobe Creek - Adobe Creek is an ephemeral waterway that dries up midway through the spring. It is full of foxes and deer as well as loads dead wood, poison oak and blackberry. The overstory is dominated by oak. The creek is accessible from Alta Mesa Cemetery on Arastradero Road in Palo Alto. Great success can be had at this site because of the Dampwood termites fill which fill traps, die, and attract beetles that feed on dead or decaying insects.

Alta Mesa Cemetery - 695 Arastradero Road. (AKA) Alta Mesa Memorial Park, located in Palo Alto was established in 1904 as a non-denominational cemetery. (2 acres)

Palo Alto Animal Services - 3281 E. Bayshore Road

Palo Alto Family YMCA - 3412 Ross Road
Private residence (179 Cowper)

Insect Photo Survey Date(s):

43110001: Adobe Creek (September 15, 2012)
43110006: Alta Mesa Cemetery (September 8, 2012)
43110003: Animal Services, City of Palo Alto (November 2, 2012; October 1, 2012)
43110002: Palo Alto Family YMCA (November 11, 2012; November 19, 2012) 43110007: Private Residence (179 Cowper) (November 10, 2011; November 10, 2012; December 2, 2012)