Tree holes are awesome.
Trees apparently don’t need all that wood in the middle but use the outer perimeters for nutrient and water transport. This is why a tree’s core can rot away, leaving a cavity, while still being quite vigorous and alive.
Of course there are insects, and especially beetles, that specialize (can you specialize on a tree hole microhabitat or are they jest restricted – is there a distinction?) on tree holes.
Back in Ithaca I struggled to find a good tree hole. Here in Kansas they seem to be a bit more abundant.
And this is what happens when I see a sexy tree hole – like the photo above. I tend to sift the hell out of it.
Inside I found a Lasius and Aphaenogaster nest so I sifted away at them too. I hope to get some guests that are deep in the nest that may not be so easily collected otherwise.
Tree hole litter can be saw-dusty like the one pictured above (you can see the saw-dusty stuff coming out) but still seems to house interesting pselaphines, scydmaenines, omaliines and histerids. Also, because it’s saw-dusty, the litter tends to be on the drier side but still seems to suite those tree hole inhabitants (even dry intolerant staphs).
I will keep you readers updated on the tree hole litter situation. Currently they’re being Berlese funneled to death.
On a different note. I will be taking a very last minute trip to New Mexico, not the old one…, and will be returning on Monday. Wish me luck and I’ll keep you readers posted on how it goes.