Illinois Natural History Survey News

Illinois Natural History Survey News

  • 12/17/2015

    INHS Cave Biologist Steve Taylor was contacted about cave dwelling bats and White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). Taylor is part of a team from the Illinois Natural History Survey monitoring caves throughout Illinois for signs of WNS.

    “There is no magic cure at this point. There are things that people are looking at.”

    For more information on White-Nose Syndrome research at INHS visit our website

    Watch a video about INHS White-Nose Syndrome research


    Read the full article in The Southern

  • 11/6/2015

    INHS entomologist R. Edward DeWalt and graduate student Eric J. South of the Illinois Natural History Survey and Department of Entomology have a recently published paper on the size of stoneflies on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Not only did their results show that there were significantly fewer species, compared to the mainland, but also that smaller stonefly species appeared to be more capable of recolonizing the island. This study was published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

    Read full press release from ZooKeys

    Read the paper "Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera on Isle Royale National Park, USA, compared to mainland species pool and size distribution" doi: 10.3897/zookeys.532.6478

  • 11/4/2015

    juvenile cowbirdINHS Ornithologists Matt Louder, Mike Ward, Wendy Schelsky, and Jeff Hoover have new research published about the behavior of juvenile cowbirds, a nest parasite. They found that juvenile cowbirds leave the host's nest at night and return in the morning. This may be part of their strategy involved in avoiding imprinting on their host species.

    “Among other things, cowbirds have got to learn to eat like cowbirds or they’re not going to survive very long,” Hoover said.

    The paper “Out on their own: A test of adult-assisted dispersal in fledgling brood parasites reveals solitary departures from hosts” is available online

    Read the News Bureau Story

  • 10/21/2015

    INHS Aquatic Entomologist Ed DeWalt was featured in a video put out by the National Park Service: Scientists and Citizens: Investigating Aquatic Insects in Great Lakes National Parks

    "Scientists and Citizens: Investigating Aquatic Insects in Great Lakes National Parks"
    Filmmakers spent a day with Ed DeWalt Phd, Illinois Natural History Survey, and Fei Xiong, a visiting scholar from China, as they surveyed the Crystal River in Sleeping Bear Dunes for invertebrates, particularly stonefly larva. Ed is interested in whether the stream is healthier within the boundaries of the National Park than through private lands.

    The Great Lakes Research and Education Center provides Ed with volunteers who help him monitor insect populations in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. In the film below, Victoria Brinson describes her work collecting and analyzing specimens for the research. Joy Marburger, Phd. explains why it’s important for the Great Lakes Research and Education Center to encourage citizen science.

  • 10/21/2015

    INHS Mycologist Andy Miller and graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh were featured in a video produced by the Prairie Research Institute on their research into White-Nose Syndrome in bats.



    Read more about their research below or from the Illinois News Bureau

  • 9/10/2015

    A new study from INHS graduate student Matthew Louder, and INHS Ornithologists Wendy Schelsky, Jeff Hoover, and Amber Albores found that female cowbirds monitor nest success of their offspring and will lay their eggs in the most successful host nests. This, combined with previous work by Jeff Hoover and colleagues, shows that female cowbirds aren't just abandoning their eggs in a host nest.

    Nests that fledged cowbirds were much more likely to be parasitized by ccowbirds again than those that failed to fledge cowbirds. “They’re learning both from success and from failure,” Hoover said.

    Read the story from Illinois News Bureau

    Read the article "A generalist brood parasite modifies use of a host in response to reproductive success" in Royal Society Proceedings B

  • 8/25/2015

    fungusIllinois Natural History Survey Mycologist Andrew Miller was awarded a National Science Foundation Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) grant to digitize microfungi collections.  Miller will lead the Microfungi Collections Consortium, a group of 38 institutions across 31 states, in their efforts to digitize the more than 1.2 million specimens including slime molds, smut fungi, and powdery mildew.  An additional 1.1 million existing records will also be added to the online portal known as the MyCoPortal (


    Read full story here

  • 8/24/2015

    CWDResearch findings by INHS Wildlife Epidemiologists Mary Beth Manjerovic, Michelle L. Greena, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and University of Illinois colleague Jan Novakofski were referenced in an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their research, found that after Wisconsin discontinued culling deer populations with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the prevalence of CWD in Wisconsin had an average annual increase of 0.63%. During that same time period, Illinois continued government culling and there was no change in prevalence throughout Illinois.

    Read the paper "The importance of localized culling in stabilizing chronic wasting disease prevalence in white-tailed deer populations"

    Read the editorial "Follow Illinois, not Wisconsin, to slow spreading CWD"

  • 8/18/2015

    fatmucketINHS Aquatic Biologist Jeremy Tiemann led a team in a baseline survey of mussels in Crystal Lake Park, finding only a female Fatmucket. The team will return in 5-10 years to see if the planned installation of in-stream riffles improves the habitat and changes the mussel population. Read the article in the News Gazette.

  • 7/21/2015

    Miller and Raudabaugh by L Brian StaufferA new study from INHS Mycologist Andrew Miller and grad student Daniel Raudabaugh has found that the yeast Candida albicans produces a compound: trans, trans-farnesol, that inhibits growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats.

    This naturally occurring cave microbe already exists in bat inhabited caves and this research suggests that, “inoculating hibernating bats with these microbes to use tt-farnesol as a control agent could increase the bats’ chances of surviving the infection,” Raudabaugh said.

    Read the paper in Mycopathologia

    Read the U of I News Release

    Read the article in The Wildlife Society Bulletin

  • 7/1/2015

    mosquito larvaeA recent study by INHS graduate student Allison Gardner, INHS Medical Entomologist Ephantus Juma Muturi and their colleagues found that leaf detritus in standing water can influence reproduction in mosquitoes.  Leaves from invasive honeysuckle and autumn olive, yielded higher emergence of adult Culex pipiens mosquitoes (the vector for West Nile Virus). Leaves of native blackberry resulted in high numbers of eggs, but low adult emergence.

    Read the news release

    Read the paper in Parasites & Vectors

    For more information on the Medical Entomology Program, visit our website.

  • 6/18/2015

    A new paper by INHS affiliate Matthew Allender, INHS Graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh and Mycologist Andrew Miller was published on Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the causative agent of snake fungal disease. This a serious emerging fungal pathogen of North American-endemic and captive snakes and has been a factor in the decline of the Eastern Massasauga in Illinois.

    Researchers observed Ophidiomyces to be active at a range of temperatures and pH, and to have the ability to utilize a variety of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur resources.

    As the fungus has been found to be limited at lower temperatures this study suggests that snake populations that hibernate in the lower part of the thermal range should have less infection during the spring than snake populations that hibernate in the upper part of the thermal range.

    The researchers also suggest that with increasing global temperatures, snake populations will be more vulnerable to O. ophiodiicola infection in regions experiencing frequent mild winter conditions.

    Watch a video about the Illinois Natural History Survey's research on the Eastern Massasauga and Ophidiomyces 


    Read the Illinois News Bureau Release

    The paper, “The natural history, ecology, and epidemiology of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola and its potential impact on free-ranging snake populations,” is available online or from the U. of I. News Bureau.

  • 6/1/2015

    INHS Herpetologist Chris Phillips was interviewed by the News Gazette in response to a reader's question "Are there any reports of venomous snakes and snakebites in Champaign County in the last 10 years? Last 100 years?”

    Phillips said that there are records for Massasauga Rattlesnakes in Champaign County from the 1800s and that there was a vague report of a venomous snake bite around 1900, but no newspaper article to confirm. The draining of wet prairies and conversion to agriculture were the likely cause of the demise of Massasaugas in Champaign County.

    The closest location rattlesnakes have been seen in recent times is Allerton Park, but Phillips said, "We haven’t seen them there in almost a decade and we’ve done some pretty serious searching, not just casual stuff, but directed surveys for them."


    Read the complete interview
    More information on INHS research on Massasaugas


  • 5/27/2015

    prickly pearINHS Ecologist Randy Nyboer was asked about the plants and animals of the Thomson-Fulton Sand Prairie Nature Preserve. These remnant habitats are important to many species more common to the deserts of south western United States, including Prickly Pear Cactus.

    Read the full article

    Read an INHS Reports about the Will County Sand Prairies

  • 5/26/2015

    stink bugIllinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey director Kelly Estes was asked about Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, native to Asia, currently found in the eastern United States. Estes explained that BMSB are good hitchhikers, able to be transported by people and packages. This, and other species will be discussed during the Invasive Species Symposium this Thursday at University of Illinois.

    More information on the Invasive Species Symposium

    Read the article in the Bellevillle News

    Visit the CAPS webpage

  • 5/25/2015

    caonesINHS scientists will be participating in a Bioblitz organized by The Wetlands Initiative (TWI) at Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes in Putnam County on June 13-14. Citizen scientists are invited to help document all of the flora, fauna, and fungi of the area over the course of 24 hours.

    Bureau County Republican News article



  • 5/20/2015

    batsWhite Nose Syndrome, the fungal disease that leads to mortality in bats, has now been confirmed in 11 counties in Illinois. First discovered in New York in 2006, the fungus has spread west, first being detected in Illinois in 2013.

    INHS Cave Biologist Steve Taylor told an NPR affiliate that, "between 2013 and 2015, it was like a 95 percent decrease in the number of bats at this site, which in 2013 was in excess of 25,000 bats,"

    DNR Press Release

    NPR Story

    INHS White Nose Syndrome Webpage

  • 5/15/2015

    cicadaINHS Entomologist Chris Dietrich was interviewed about the emergence of 13 and 17 year cicadas this spring in southern Illinois. It is uncertain how abundant they will be, as “the cicadas require forest habitats, so they are not found out in open areas or areas that have been paved, or where the trees have been removed, so they’re really going to be restricted to areas where there is natural forest.”

    Dietrich advised listening carefully to the chorus, stating, “there are actually four different species – each has a different call."

    St Louis Public Radio interview

    Read an INHS Blog entry from the last emergence in Northern Illinois.

  • 4/8/2015

    INHS Orthoperterist and Paleontologist Sam Heads was co-author on a recently published study determining the evolutionary relationships of the grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets. The current study is based on genetics rather than morphological characteristics.

    Read more in Entomology Today

    Read the paper in Cladistics

    (click image to enlarge)

  • 4/7/2015

    awardBrenda Molano-Flores (INHS), colleagues, and graduate students received an Appreciation Award from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in recognition of their leadership in the conservation of natural resources in northwest Florida. This team of scientists and graduate students has been conducting research on federally listed plants in the Florida Panhandle, including the carnivorous plant Pinguicula ionantha (Godfrey's butterwort) and the Florida endemic Scutellaria floridana (Florida Skullcap). Other members of the team are Jean Mengelkoch (INHS), Mary Ann Feist (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Samantha B. Primer (UI-Plant Biology), Janice Coons, and Jenna Annis (both from Eastern Illinois University-Biological Sciences).

    For more information on their research, visit their website.

  • 2/24/2015
    Juvenile Silver Carp by R. Pendelton

    juvenile silver carp by Rich Pendelton

    INHS graduate student Eric Sanft, presented "Vulnerability of Juvenile Asian Carp to Predation by Largemouth Bass" at the recent Midwest Fish and Wildlife meetings. His research found that bighead carp are more susceptible than other carp species to predation by largemouth bass and is the subject of an article by the Michigan State University Extension office. 

    Asian carp eaten by bass, but some carp are more vulnerable than others to native species

    Read more about Asian Carp research from our Kaskaskia River Biological Station.

  • 1/28/2015

    photo by L. Brian StaufferINHS Graduate student Adam Ahlers led a study on the prevalence of Toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by cats.  The researchers found antibodies for T. gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, in 18 of 30 muskrats and 20 of 26 minks tested for the disease in central Illinois.

    Read the full story

    Read the paper in Journal of Wildlife Diseases- “Risk Factors for Toxoplasma gondii Exposure in Semiaquatic Mammals in a Freshwater Ecosystem” 


    Read more about mink research at INHS in the January 2015 INHS Reports

  • 1/23/2015

    RWLarimoreRichard Weldon Larimore, long-time aquatic biologist of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), died on January 14, 2015 at Urbana, Illinois. He was 91. He is survived by his wife Glenn E. Larimore and three sons Richard L., Kenneth, and Michael Larimore.

    Dr. Larimore worked at INHS for more than six decades, beginning in 1946 as a research assistant. He remained associated with this organization until his death.  As one of the longest serving staff in the history of INHS, Dr. Larimore has worked with every Chief of INHS except its first, Stephen A. Forbes, who held that position until 1930. David L. Thomas, the seventh INHS Chief, was a former student of Dr. Larimore’s.

    A graduate of Rogers High, Rogers, Arkansas, Dr. Larimore completed a BS (Cum Laude) at the University of Arkansas in 1946, an MS at the University of Illinois in 1947, and a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1950.

    In addition to his service to the State of Illinois, Dr. Larimore was an Inland Fisheries Expert for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. He served in this capacity in Thailand from 1963–1964 and in Indonesia from 1972–1973. Dr. Larimore was a charter member of the North American Benthological Society and a member of a number of other professional organizations including the American Fisheries Society, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Ecological Society of America, and the Illinois Academy of Science.

    Dr. Larimore was the epitome of a gentleman and scholar, albeit, a very down-to-earth one. His publication record includes 4 book chapters, 25 technical reports, 29 journal articles as well as a monograph, 2 magazine articles, and contributions to 4 conference proceedings. Perhaps the culmination of his science publishing efforts was INHS Bulletin 35(2) “The Fishes of Champaign County, Illinois: During a Century of Alterations of a Prairie Ecosystem,” which he co-authored with Peter Bayley in 1996. This work is considered the most thorough record of historic data of fishes of any place on earth.

    His publication awards include Best Paper Award from the Wildlife Society (1957) and Best Paper Award from the American Fisheries Society (1959). Dr. Larimore was also selected for the Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa for scholarship and the Phi Sigma National Scholarship Award.

    In 2002, he was honored by his family and the University of Illinois with the establishment of the “R. Weldon Larimore/Jordan Creek Endowment Fund” to help perpetuate aquatic research on Jordan Creek, a stream that flows in eastern Illinois and western Indiana, where Dr. Larimore pioneered electro-fishing technology. This fund supports the “R. Weldon Larimore/Jordan Creek Award” granted annually to U of I students or INHS researchers based upon their research proposals.

    Dr. Larimore, affectionately known as “Larry by his friends and colleagues, is remembered for his expertise in aquatic science, his institutional memory, and his sense of humor. Both at work and at more informal gatherings, Larry was always a
    popular presence. Many of these gatherings occurred at his family’s cabin in the woods overlooking the Salt Fork River near Oakwood, Illinois. Like iron filings to the proverbial magnet, people were drawn to this location, not only by its tranquility and beauty but, by Larry’s personality. Many of us remember him standing around the fire, glass of wine in hand, regaling us with a seemingly inexhaustible trove of anecdotes from his life in science.

    With deep sadness but profound fondness, we salute the life of Larry Larimore.

    Download PDF version 

    Read the obituary

    View publications by Dr. Larimore

  • 1/23/2015

    jeff hooverINHS Avian Ecologist Jeff Hoover was interviewed by The Southern about the ongoing debate of whether or not to fill bird feeders in the winter.

    “By and large feeding can have a positive effect on birds, particularly in hard winters.”

    Read the full story

  • 1/14/2015

    carpTHE carp image, taken by Thad Cook, graces the cover of the Canada's Environmental Voice - Alternatives Journal's - "Water Issue." It accompanies an article on Asian Carp and work being done by the US Army Corps of Engineers to curb their impact and keep them out of the Great Lakes.

    Read the article.