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Scientific name: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae:
Common Name: Information Sheet, Biodiversity, Washington, D.C.

Country: USA
State/District: MD
County: Montgomery
Date (D-M-Y): 5 - 7 - 2001

Photographer: E. M. Barrows

Identifier: E. M. Barrows
Collector: not applicable
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Keywords: A FE HOL information sheet
Additional Information:

Biodiversity of the Washington, D.C., Area (WDCA).

Biodiversity is the sum of life and its attributes of a particular place, for example, a woodlot or the entire Earth.   The WDCA (which is defined as Washington, D.C, and adjacent counties in Maryland and Virginia in this information sheet) is in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain Geological Provinces.   The Piedmont is hilly and results from rock folding, melting, and rehardening over millions of years when land masses came close to one another or actually collided as a result of continental drift.   The Coastal Plain is a level area that formed from erosion materials from four groups of mountains that arose in the Eastern U.S., starting about 600,000,000 years ago.   Before European Settlers came to the Area, much of it was probably covered with dense angiospermous and mixed angiospermous-gymnospermous forest.   Somewhat natural forests now occur primarily in parks in the Area, including Glover-Archbold Park (which has an information sheet on this Website).   Much of the Area is now an “urban forest” of patches and dispersed trees in yards and along roads.

The WDCA had many more streams and springs two centuries ago (Williams 1989).   People filled in many of the springs in the area of Glover-Archbold Park in the 1950s.  

The WDCA may have about 10000 bacterial, 100 archean, 300 protistan, 1000 vascular-plant, 1000 fungus, 10000 invertebrate, 300 bird, 10 amphibian, 15 reptile, and 20 mammal species.   Scores of alien, invasive plant species are overrunning many Parks.   Many species that are now extinct in the Area, include American Elk (= Wapati), Cougar, and Wolf.  

There is no comprehensive list of organisms of the WDCA yet.   Such a list would be valuable for and informing interested parties which species are in the WDCA and managing the biota of the Area. The National Park Service has lists of some groups of organisms for some parks.   This Website has lists of some of the region’s organisms (keyword = list).   My lab is currently compiling an annotated list of arthropods of Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Virginia, and plans to start a list of arthropods of Washington, D.C., with an emphasis on Rock Creek Park.

E. M. B. (updated 25 November 2002)

Literature Cited

Williams, G. P. 1989. Washington, D.C.’s vanishing springs and waterways. Pages 76–94 in J. E. Moore and J. A. Jackson, Eds. 1989. Geology, hydrology, and history of the Washington, D.C. Area. American Geological Institute, Alexandria, VA.

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