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Night Wings Over the Prairie – Insect Life After Dark – June 20

June 20 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

June 20 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm

Moth Night at Deer Park Prairie, July 22, 2023

As native plant enthusiasts, you probably know a lot about prairie plants and their associated insect life during the daytime.  But how much do you know about insect nightlife? Join us as we explore nocturnal insect species at three Houston-area prairies—Lawther-Deer Park, Nash Prairie Preserve, and Texas City Prairie Preserve. Mary Spolyar will show us who comes to the light when the sun goes down. From colorful microleafhoppers to mantidflies (which are not flies!) and very long-horned beetles to fabulous sphinx moths, it’s a kaleidoscope of life in the prairie night. 

About the SpeakerMary Spolyar

Mary with with Uhler’s Giant Water Bug

Mary Spolyar is a Texas Master Naturalist in the Gulf Coast Chapter and an instructor for the Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP) classes offered by the Native Plant Society of Texas Houston Chapter. She enjoys volunteering for Houston Audubon’s Natives Nursery, for which she visits local prairie remnants to collect seeds and helps to grow out native plants. A native Houstonian, she loves being outdoors, observing life and stalking small creatures with her smartphone. You can find her on iNaturalist as “rednat.”

Our monthly chapter meetings are held on every 3rd Thursday, January – November. Our meetings are free and open to the public thanks to our members and sponsors.

The presentation will start at 7:00 pm, but come at 6:45 pm for a meet and greet with snacks.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

610 Entrance (preferred)
120 W Loop N Fwy
Houston, TX 77024

Woodway Entrance
4501 Woodway Drive
Houston, TX 77024

Meetings will also be live-streamed and recorded for later viewing.

Return to Houston Chapter Page

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason