Black Flies and Endangered Whooping Cranes

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (Principal Investigator: P. H. Adler) Effects of Black Flies on Nesting Whooping Cranes

Observations of black flies attacking whooping cranes and swarming around their nests on Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin, in 2007 and 2008 led to an investigation of black fly biodiversity, bionomics, and the relation to nest abandonment by the cranes. These whooping cranes are part of a reintroduction program to establish a breeding population in eastern North America. The research demonstrated that the principal species of black flies at whooping crane nests were the ornithophilic Simulium annulus and Simulium johannseni and, to a lesser extent, Simulium meridionale. To further an understanding of the role of these species in the nesting ecology of whooping cranes, a two-year experiment (2011-2012) was conducted to suppress the populations of S. annulus and S. johannseni by applying the biocontrol agent Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis to breeding sites of the target black flies.

Publications

King, R. S. & P. H. Adler. 2012. Development and evaluation of methods to measure populations of black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) at nests of the endangered whooping crane (Grus americana). Journal of Vector Ecology 37: 298-306. Link

Links

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership