Ozark Landscapes – White River in northern Arkansas

White River near Calico Rock, Arkansas

One of my favorite insect collecting sites is a system of sandstone glades in the White River Hills of north-central Arkansas. Overlooking the White River as it courses past the quaint little town of Calico Rock, the glades atop these towering bluffs host a rich diversity of insects—some attracted from the surrounding woodlands, others restricted only to the glades. I had not visited the area before this year but went there five times this season—twice in June, once in July, once in August, and once in September.  Of the many insect species I found here this season, some of the more interesting include:

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

13 thoughts on “Ozark Landscapes – White River in northern Arkansas

  1. Wow! I’ve been there. Central Texas makes you miss that much water and greenery. Next time your down there, you might want to visit the glade complex near Optimus (I can provide directions). Doesn’t overlook the White River, but is fairly extensive and isolated from the human impacts that occur at the Calico Rock glades.

    • Very cool place for both herps and plants – saw a collared lizard male on my most recent visit, and in the spring there was Sedum nuttallianum (I think) in full bloom everywhere and what I think was S. pulchellum just past bloom. I’d like to get down there a little earlier next year (late May) to better cover the seasons.

      It was hard to miss the blogging hoopla about this year’s Biology Ig Nobel prize – one thing nobody picked up on was the fact that the species discussed in the paper is now recognized as a distinct species and has a different name than what was used at that time. Taxonomic pedantism, but I got a chuckle out of it.

  2. Hey James,

    Optimus is in Arkansas, just a few miles south of Calico Rock on Hwy 5. These glades are off of Optimus River Road very near the White River and on Ozark National Forest land. Try putting these coordinates into Google Earth – 36 01′ 58.17″ N 92 03′ 57.12″ W. I have collected Cicindela obsoleta vulturina there as well as Trimeropteris saxatalis.

    • If you could, I’d be interested in getting any localities in Arkansas where you’ve found vulturina. I got it at Calico Rock a couple weeks ago (blog post forthcoming), but I’ve surveyed the species extensively in southern Missouri to look at variability in color and maculation and am now interested in extending the survey into Arkansas to get a look at the disjunct population as a whole.

  3. Great post Ted! I have collected from these Calico Rock glades for over 25 years and they have some really interesting arthropods which I am studying. The ones near Optimus are special also! Again, enjoyed this post!

    • Thank you Rob – I figured you would like this one. Too bad we couldn’t have hooked up my last time down there, but maybe next season. I’m anxious to check out the Optimus glades.


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