Photo: Sarah Nickerson

Inaugural Bioblitz a Success!

The Finger Lakes Land Trust held its inaugural Bioblitz from June 11 through June 13, 2021. Forty-one participants fanned out over 23 of the Land Trust’s preserves, photographed or recorded living things, and then used the iNaturalist mobile and online platform to compile and identify observations.

Participants logged 2,300+ observations across more than 730 species, including 385 plants, 193 insects, 48 fungi, 41 birds, 23 arachnids, 11 mollusks, 5 snakes, 4 amphibians, and even 6 protozoans (myxomycetes, also known as slime molds). Watch a recording of the Recap Event.

Highlights included, among many others, the following:

  • The first New York State record in more than 100 years of a twirler moth, Holophysis emblemella, found by Jeremy Collison and Brandon Woo at the Steege Hill Nature Preserve in Big Flats. Jeremy saw this moth dancing in circles, changing direction, pausing, and then starting up again.
Twirler moth

A tirler moth, photo by Jeremy Collison


  • Nearly 200 species of moths found by Jason Dombroskie during a night visit to the Kashong Conservation Area near Geneva.
  • Four species of native snails found by Marla Coppolino at the Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve in Ithaca. At the Bioblitz Recap event in late June, Marla showed a remarkable video of one of these species (the Pyramid Dome Snail, or Ventridens intertextus), showing the snail’s two-chambered beating heart, visible through its translucent shell.
Blunt ambersnail

Blunt ambersnail, photo by Marla Coppolino


  • A fungus named Helvella elastica (also known commonly as the Elastic Saddle or the Brown Elfin Saddle) found by Pauline Johnson and David McCheyne of the Rochester Area Mycological Association (RAMA) at the VanRiper Conservation Area and Whitlock Preserve in Romulus. This was only the eighth record of this species in New York State.
  • Several slime molds found by Larry Jensen, Sue Heavenrich, and others at various preserves. Some of these myxomycetes are aptly and evocatively named for their striking colors and texture, including the Red Raspberry Slime Mold (Tubifera ferruginosa), the Chocolate Tube Slime Mold (Stemonitis splendens) and the Scrambled Egg Slime Mold, also known as the Dog Vomit Slime Mold (Fuligo septica).
Chocolate tube slime mold

Chocolate tube slime mold, photo by David McCheyne


  • An aquatic plant known as the Prickly Hornwort (Ceratophyllum echinatum), found by Michael Hough at the Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary in Cayuga County. The only member of its genus native to North America, this species is rare across the state and especially in central New York.

Many thanks to all participants—and stay tuned for news of future FLLT Bioblitzes!

To view Bioblitz observations and statistics, see