Entries - Entry Category: Science and Technology

Bowfin

aka: Grinnell
Bowfin (Amia calva) belong to the primitive North American fish family Amiidae and Order Amiiformes. The family is monotypic and contains a single genus and species (A. calva). Bowfin are basal bony fishes related to gars in the infraclass Holostei. They are native to North America and are commonly found throughout much of the eastern United States, the St. Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain drainages of southern Ontario, and Quebec, Canada. Their range extends farther westward around the Great Lakes into Minnesota and south to the Colorado River in Texas. In Arkansas, A. calva is found in all major river drainages of the Gulf Coastal Plain lowlands and westward through the Arkansas River Valley; they are rarely found in the …

Bowman, Malcolm Cleaburne

Malcolm Cleaburne Bowman was respected worldwide as an analytical chemist, researcher, and author. He and his associates are credited with devising many techniques and processes as well as developing much of the equipment that became common within the fields of chemistry and scientific research. Malcolm Bowman was born on December 6, 1926, in Alcedo, Texas, to Clyde C. Bowman, a Cotton Belt Railroad brakeman and conductor, and Lillian McBee Bowman, a teacher and retail clerk; he was the couple’s only child. The family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in 1936. Bowman graduated from Pine Bluff High School and went on to receive a BS in chemistry at Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) in Conway …

Branchiobdellidans

aka: Crayfish Worms
Branchiobdellidans, or crayfish worms, are leech-like, clitellate annelids belonging to the Phylum Annelida and Order Brachiobdellida (single family Brachiobdellidae) that form an obligate, ectosymbiotic association primarily with astacoidean crayfishes. They have long been known as “branchiobdellid worms” because they were considered a separate family of the oligochaetes; however, more recent treatment of these worms as a separate taxonomic order technically renders their epithet more correctly as “branchiobdellidan worms” or simply “branchiobdellidans.” Branchiobdellidans are a monophyletic clade of more than 150 ectosymbiont species within twenty-one genera found throughout North and Central America, Europe, and eastern Asia, of which about fifteen genera and 107 species have been reported from North America, including in Arkansas. However, branchiobdellid fauna in Arkansas need further study. …

Branner, John Casper

John Casper Branner began serving as state geologist for the Arkansas Geological Survey on June 24, 1887, and served in that capacity until the state legislature abolished the position on March 16, 1893. Branner’s tenure was noted for a high standard of professionalism, and he made significant contributions to the economic and geologic resources of Arkansas that lasted for decades. John Branner was born in New Market, Tennessee, on July 4, 1850, to Michael T. Branner, who was a farmer, and Elsie Baker Branner. Educated in the local schools, Branner was an avid reader and developed a deep interest in the natural features of the Tennessee countryside. He enrolled at Maryville College, near Knoxville, Tennessee, but in 1870, after only …

Bridges

At the time Arkansas became a territory, most water crossings were fords. When travelers came to a body of water such as a small river or stream, they would look for the shallowest place and cross there. Generally, these fords were adequate for the small number of early travelers in the territory. But as the population of the state slowly grew and a system of military roads was developed, it became necessary to bridge larger bodies of water to make travel faster and easier for the military and the local population. The first attempts at bridge-building in Arkansas were by private individuals. These individuals applied for a franchise to build a toll bridge, which was granted by the territorial legislature. …

Broadway Bridge

The Broadway Bridge was originally constructed in 1923 as a vehicular structure and replaced in 2017; it is one of six bridges linking the downtown areas of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). As the downtown areas of Little Rock and Argenta (present-day North Little Rock) developed in the 1880s, it became apparent that a toll-free bridge independent of the railroad bridges across the Arkansas River was needed. Some people supported the idea of a bridge at the foot of Little Rock’s Main Street, while others thought it should start at Broadway. After years of debate and a series of bridge commissions, the Main Street site was adopted, and the Groton Bridge Company of Groton, New …

Bromine

Bromine (chemical symbol Br) is a highly corrosive, reddish-brown, volatile element found in liquid form. Bromine—along with fluorine, chlorine, and iodine—is part of a family of elements known as the halogens. Arkansas ranks first in the world in the production of bromine, the basis for many widely used chemical compounds. Bromine, along with petroleum and natural gas, is one of the top three minerals produced in Arkansas. The West Gulf Coastal Plain encompasses most of southern Arkansas. During the Paleozoic era (543 to 248 million years ago), this natural division was covered by seawater. Bromine, which occurs naturally in seawater, was extracted from the water by seaweed and plankton. As these organisms decomposed during the Jurassic period (206 to 144 …

Brownlee, Robert

Robert Brownlee was a Scottish stonemason who lived in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1837 to 1849. He helped build the first statehouse in Arkansas and several other historic landmarks in Pulaski County. Robert Brownlee was born on April 24, 1813, in Bonkle, Cambusnethan Parish, a tiny community in the Scottish lowlands. He was ninth in a family of seven sons and four daughters born to Margaret and Alexander Brownlee. After a basic education at Murdestoun Estate School near Bonkle, he apprenticed to his older brother, William, a stonecutter. Brownlee was twenty-three when he read about the December 1835 fire that almost destroyed New York City and the need for mechanics to help rebuild the city. That same day, he …

Bryozoans

aka: Ectoprocta
aka: Moss Animals
Bryozoans (commonly called moss animals) are generally sessile, colonial invertebrates that belong to the phylum Bryozoa (or Ectoprocta), which is sometimes combined with two other phyla (Phoronida and Brachiopoda) to form a possible clade within the Deuterostomia. The three are sometimes referred to as the Lophophorata. Fossil bryozoans commonly found in Arkansas can be divided into two broad groups: the lacy colonies and the twig-shaped colonies. One fossil, the Archimedes, is especially abundant in northwestern Arkansas. In the southeastern United States, large gelatinous colonies of P. magnifica are a common sight, sometimes called “dinosaur snot.” These are often seen at Lake Wilhelmina in Polk County, and some have been reported in eastern Arkansas County. The primary uniting characteristic of this …

Buchanan, Herbert Earle

Herbert Earle Buchanan was a nationally known astronomer, mathematician, teacher, and sports reformer. His research significantly advanced a mathematical understanding of the stability of the orbits of heavenly bodies, and he authored numerous college and university textbooks. Buchanan was very interested in athletics and was one of the founders of the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Buchanan was born in Cane Hill (Washington County) on October 4, 1881, to Susan Clark Williamson and James A. Buchanan, a Civil War veteran who became a farmer, surveyor, and circuit-riding Presbyterian minister. After attending the local “subscription school,” in which the family of each attending child paid a pro-rated fee, Buchanan entered the college preparatory program at Arkansas Industrial University (later the University of …

Bull Shoals Dam and Lake

Bull Shoals Dam site is located on the White River about ten miles west of Mountain Home (Baxter County), where the river divides Baxter and Marion counties. The site is named after its location at a shoal (a shallow and swift reach of river), borrowing from the French “Boill,” meaning a large spring. Private power companies had explored the possibility of building a dam at Wildcat Shoals above Cotter (Baxter County) as early as 1902 but never began any work toward it. Congress approved the construction of six reservoirs in the White River Basin in the Flood Control Act of 1938. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report in 1930 had recommended the Wildcat Shoals site along with seven others …

Busey, Samuel Thompson

Samuel Thompson Busey was a 1920s oil speculator and promoter of the Arkansas oil industry. While originally trained as a physician, he later became a geologist and completed the famed “Discovery Well,” or Busey No. 1 Well, outside El Dorado (Union County) in 1921. Busey’s efforts helped usher in the south Arkansas oil boom of the 1920s. Samuel Busey was born in Champaign County, Illinois, on February 10, 1867, and was the fifth of six children of John Simpson Busey and the former Caroline Marie Snyder. Busey came from a family of adventurers and community activists. His father was a farmer until 1845, when he left farming to travel across the United States. His father then took over his own …

Butterflies and Moths

Arkansas has long been an ideal place to see butterflies and moths, but an increase in public awareness has occurred since the mid-1990s with the publication of scientific papers and checklists, as well as the emergence of special events in state parks. Butterflies and moths are classified in the insect order Lepidoptera, meaning “scale-wing.” Of approximately 350,000 species of butterflies and moths on earth, approximately 15,000 species are butterflies. Butterflies are distinguished from moths by the thousands of microscopic scales that create the color patterns on both sides of the wings. During a typical year, 134 butterfly species may be sighted in Arkansas, including year-round residents, summer residents, and migrants; 94 of these species live on Mount Magazine. An estimated …

Caddisflies

aka: Trichopterans
Caddisflies (Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Trichoptera) make up the largest and most diverse group of aquatic insects. More specifically, caddisflies are a group of small to medium-sized (2 to 30 mm in length), moth-like insects with two pairs of hairy membranous wings; they have aquatic larval forms that metamorphose into terrestrial adults. The name for the order Trichoptera comes from the name Trichos, which means “hairy,” and ptera, which means “wings.” The word “caddis” dates back to The Compleat Angler, written by Izaak Walton (1594–1683) and published in 1653, in which “cod-worms or caddis” were named as being used for bait. Caddisflies are a favorite food of many fish, and therefore are attractive to anglers, particularly trout fly fishermen, …

Caddo Mountain Salamander

aka: Plethodon caddoensis
The Caddo Mountain salamander (Plethodon caddoensis) is a slender, medium-sized (90–100 millimeters in total length) terrestrial salamander. It is one of twenty or so members of the caudate family Plethodontidae that can be found in Arkansas. Adults of this species possess numerous tiny white spots and/or brassy flecks on the back and tail; the dorsal body color is otherwise uniformly black. The lateral body surfaces are creamy white in appearance. The throat region is distinctly pale or white. Juveniles may lack much of the lateral body coloration. This species is one of three endemic salamanders known to exist in Arkansas and is primarily confined to the Caddo Mountains area of the southern Ouachita National Forest and several outlying areas in …

Carpenter Dam

aka: Lake Hamilton
Carpenter Dam is the second of three dams constructed along the Ouachita River in the vicinity of Hot Springs (Garland County), following Remmel Dam (completed in 1924) and preceding Blakely Mountain Dam (completed in the 1950s). The concrete gravity dam was built by Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L), which later became Entergy, for purposes of producing hydroelectric power. It impounds the 7,200-acre Lake Hamilton. Carpenter Dam was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992, in recognition of its role in the growth and development of Hot Springs. Flavius Josephus (Flave) Carpenter, an associate of AP&L president Harvey Couch, selected the site for the construction of Carpenter Dam, ten miles upstream from Remmel Dam, and so …

Carps

In Arkansas, carps are an invasive (exotic or non-native) species whose introduction has caused economic and/or environmental damage. To date, there are five species of invasive carps that have entered or have been deliberately introduced into Arkansas for various reasons, and all belong to the order Cypriniformes and the minnow family Cyprinidae. Many of these fish originated from Asia or Europe, were introduced into North America, and pose a major threat to the ecology of native fishes, the environment, and the economy of fisheries in Arkansas. The longer it takes to respond to the damage done to an ecosystem done by these fish, the more money and time must be spent restoring and protecting that ecosystem. Grass Carp The grass …

Cave Crayfishes

aka: Troglobitic Crayfishes
Crayfishes belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea, Class Malacostraca, Order Decapoda, and Family Cambaridae. Crayfishes are a taxonomically diverse cosmopolitan group with more than 669 species worldwide. There appear to be two centers of geographic diversity, one in southeastern Australia (Southern Hemisphere center) and one in the southeastern United States (Northern Hemisphere center) in the southeastern Appalachian Mountains. Obligate cave-dwelling taxa in the United States occur in five main karst (limestone) geographic regions: (1) the Cumberland Plateau of the southern Appalachians of eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and northern Alabama; (2) the Interior Lowlands of southern Indiana, western Kentucky, and northwestern Tennessee; (3) the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia; (4) the Ozark Plateau of southwestern Missouri, northern Arkansas, and eastern …

Centipedes

Centipedes (class Chilopoda) are myriapods that include two subclasses, five living orders, and about 2,800 described species (out of an estimated worldwide fauna of approximately 8,000 species) within about twenty-three families. Their fossil history dates back over 410 million years ago to the late Silurian Period of the Paleozoic Era. In terms of worldwide geographic distribution, centipedes are found north of the Arctic Circle and inhabit all subarctic regions but are most abundant in temperate, desert, and tropical areas, where they are common terrestrial invertebrates. Humans have unintentionally introduced several species onto most oceanic islands. However, one order (Craterostigomorpha) is endemic to New Zealand and Tasmania. Members of the families Oryidae and Scutigeridae and of the subfamily Otostigminae have been …

Central Mudminnows

aka: Umbrids
The central mudminnow (Umbra limi) is a small (51 to 132 mm [2 to 5 in.]) fish that belongs to the Family Umbridae and Order Esociformes. There are three other North American members of the family: the eastern mudminnow (U. pygmaea) of the Eastern Seaboard and Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Alaska blackfish (Dallia pectoralis) that occurs in Alaska and adjacent Siberia, and the Olympic mudminnow (Novumbra hubbsi) of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. All of these are strictly Northern Hemisphere freshwater species. A third Umbra species, the European Mudminnow (U. krameri), occurs widely throughout Europe. Mudminnows are most closely related to esocids (pikes and pickerels). The fossil record includes specimens that date back to the Oligocene of Eurasia and North …

Centrarchid Fishes

aka: Sunfishes
The Centrarchidae (sunfishes) are a family of North American native freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. There are eight genera and thirty-eight species in the family, thirty-four of which (eighty-nine percent) are extant. The group includes several game and pan fishes familiar to anglers, including smallmouth and largemouth basses, bluegills (“bream”), and crappies. The eight genera are: Acantharchus (mud sunfish), Ambloplites (rock basses), Archoplites (Sacramento perch), Centrarchus (flier), Enneacanthus (banded sunfishes), Lepomis (sunfishes), Micropterus (black basses), and Pomoxis (crappies). In Arkansas, there are five genera and twenty-two species of centrarchids, of which eighteen are native and four are introduced. The latter includes the rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris), redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus), redeye bass (Micropterus coosae), and shoal bass …

Cestodes

aka: Tapeworms
Cestodes (tapeworms) include flatworms belonging to the phylum Platyhelminthes, class Cestoidea, subclasses Cestodaria (two orders) and Eucestoda (sixteen orders), and about fifty-nine families. The subclass Cestodaria includes monozoic (unsegmented) tapeworms containing only a single set of male and female reproductive organs; these are parasitic in the intestinal tract and body cavity of fishes and turtles. The subclass Eucestoda is made up of polyzoic (segmented) or monozoic cestodes of varying structure and parasitic in the intestines of vertebrates. To date, there are more than 5,000 described species that, as endoparasites, infect all vertebrate classes. The classification of tapeworms remains ambiguous using classical morphological studies alone, and, although some studies have been done recently using molecular tools, further attention is needed to …

Chandler, Florence Clyde

Florence Clyde Chandler was a plant geneticist with a broad background in tree-breeding and the induction of polyploidy (the quality of having one or more extra sets of chromosomes) in flowering plants. Her exceptional success inducing polyploidy in the nuclei by using colchicines resulted in the production of a series of outstanding tetraploid and diploid verbenas. During World War II, she worked at the Guatemalan experimental station as a cinchona (a type of evergreen tree) breeder, where she furthered the successful development of a derivative for quinine, a malaria remedy. Born on September 28, 1901, in Oliver (Scott County) to William Festus Chandler and Nannie Charlotte Shannon, Florence Chandler was educated at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington …

Chordate Parasites

aka: Parasitic Chordates
Although the majority of the world’s parasites are protists, helminths, invertebrates, and other miscellaneous groups of organisms, parasitism has also arisen within animals of the phylum Chordata (subphylum Vertebrata). All chordates, at some time in their development, possess five derived morphological characteristics as follows: (1) a dorsal tubular or hollow nerve cord, (2) a notochord, (3) pharyngeal gill slits or pouches, (4) an endostyle, and (5) a post-anal tail. Some examples of parasitic chordates are remoras (which attach to sharks and rays); the jawless fishes (lampreys and hagfishes), which prey upon other fishes; some birds that practice brood parasitism; and vampire bats. The Superclass Agnatha has both extinct groups and extant species, including the “jawless” fish (lamprey and hagfish) that …

Chowning, Frank Edwin

Frank Chowning was a longtime Little Rock (Pulaski County) attorney. He was also a plant enthusiast whose work with irises, especially his hybridization efforts, earned him an international reputation. Francis Edwin Chowning was born on May 26, 1894, in Rison (Cleveland County) to Nathaniel Barnett Chowning and Deborah Curtis Marks Chowning. Chowning grew up and received his early education in Rison before attending Henderson-Brown College (now Henderson State University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). His time at Henderson-Brown was interrupted by World War I, during which Chowning served in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of lieutenant while stationed in France. Following the war, he earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1922. He married Martha Speakes Bradford in 1928, …

Cladocerans

aka: Water Fleas
Water fleas (cladocerans) belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea, Class Branchiopoda, and Order Cladocera. Over 700 species and more than 100 genera have been recognized, but many additional species are surely undescribed. The genus Daphnia alone contains around 150 species. The order forms a monophyletic group, which is divided into four suborders and eleven families as follows: Anomopoda (five families), Ctenopoda (two families), Haplopoda (one family), and Onychopoda (three families). Although a complete survey of the cladocerans of Arkansas has not been given, about twenty species/taxa within five families have been reported. Cladocerans first appeared in the Permian. Until recently, the evolutionary history of cladocerans has been obscured by a mixture of erroneous fossil identifications and assumptions. However, knowledge …

Clegg, Moses Tran

Bacteriologist Moses Tran Clegg attracted international attention in 1909 when he reportedly became the first person to grow the leprosy bacillus in a laboratory. It was hoped that this breakthrough would lead to a vaccine to treat leprosy, also called Hansen’s disease, an infectious, disfiguring, and incurable disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae. In addition to this achievement, Clegg also did research for the U.S. government on bubonic plague, amoebic dysentery, infantile paralysis, and cholera, and he coauthored scholarly bulletins on such bacteriological subjects as leprosy, amoebas, and parasitic protozoa. Born on September 1, 1876, in Red Bluff (Jefferson County) to Joseph T. Clegg, who was an allopathic doctor, and Ida Daugherty Clegg, Moses Clegg received his primary education …

Climate and Weather

Officially classified by climatologist Wladimir Köppen as having a humid sub-tropical climate, Arkansas is indeed humid, but numerous weather extremes run through the state. Humid sub-tropical is classified generally as a mild climate with a hot summer and no specific dry season. The Köppen classification is correct in that regard, but the state truly has four seasons, and they can all range from fairly mild to incredibly extreme. The topography of the land and its proximity to the plains to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the south play a crucial role in its climate and weather. In the United States, warm, moist air travels into the plains from the Gulf of Mexico and interacts with cool, dry …

Climate Change

The spring of 2019 brought record flooding along the Arkansas River from Van Buren (Crawford County) to its confluence with the Mississippi River in the east. Historic crests occurred at Dardanelle (Yell County), Morrilton (Conway County), Toad Suck Lock and Dam near Conway (Faulkner County), and Pendleton (Desha County) between May 30 and June 6. In July 2019, the National Weather Service reported that the remnants of Hurricane Barry dumped 16.17 inches of rain on Dierks (Howard County), the most rain ever measured in a twenty-four-hour period (1:00 p.m. July 15 through 1:00 p.m. July 16) in Arkansas; the three-day total of 16.59 inches was the most rain associated with a tropical system in recorded state history. Murfreesboro (Pike County) …

Cnidarians

aka: Hydroids
aka: Corals
aka: Jellyfishes
aka: Sea Anemones
Cnidarians (hydroids, jellyfishes, corals, and sea anemones) form a diverse phylum (Cnidaria, old Phylum Coelenterata) that contains more than 10,000 species. The phylum also includes the parasitic Myxozoa. Typical cnidarians inhabit aquatic (predominantly marine) environments. Cnidarians are divided into two major groups: the Anthozoa (corals, sea anemones, and sea pens), which live as sessile polyps, and the subphylum Medusozoa (Hydra, jellyfishes, and sea wasps), many of which form a free-swimming medusa as well as polyps. There are five main classes: Anthozoa, Cubozoa, Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, and Staurozoa. Only a few cnidarians can be found in Arkansas, including a jellyfish seen in lakes and rivers. In terms of evolutionary relationships, modern molecular phylogenetic results support the notion that anthozoans represent the first …

Coccidia

Coccidians are microorganisms belonging to the Phylum Apicomplexa and Suborder Eimeriorina, which includes eight to thirteen families, about 39 genera, and well over 2,000 species. These protists are intracellular (meaning they function inside the cell) parasites of medical and veterinary importance, including those in the genera Caryospora, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Eimeria, Isospora, Sarcocystis, and Toxoplasma. Most are considered intestinal parasites that infect both invertebrates as well those animals in all vertebrate classes. These parasites cannot complete their life cycle without exploiting a host. Coccidiosis is a general term for the disease they can cause, and it is recognized as a major health concern in wild animal populations, domestic animals, and zoo animals. However, some infections appear not to cause any pathology …

Collembollans

aka: Springtails
Springtails (collembolans) belong to the phylum Arthropoda and subphylum Hexapoda. They form the largest (about thirty-five families and 9,000 different species) of the three lineages of modern hexapods that are no longer considered to be included in the class Insecta (the other two are the proturan and dipluran apterygotes). Since each has internal mouthparts, the three are sometimes grouped together into a class called Entognatha. However, they do not appear to be any more closely related to one another than they all are to insects, which have external mouthparts. Indeed, they do share some features of insects, such as a body divided into three parts, a head with antennae, a three-segmented thorax, and each segment having a pair of jointed …

Cotter Bridge

aka: R. M. Ruthven Bridge
Completed in 1930, the R. M. Ruthven Bridge, originally named and often still called the Cotter Bridge, is located near Cotter (Baxter County) on the business route of U.S. Highway 62 and crosses the White River between Baxter and Marion counties. Recognizable for its Rainbow Arches, it was the first landmark in Arkansas to become a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is one of only a small number of bridges designated as such. East-west travelers through northern Arkansas often encountered problems crossing the White River. Although ferries operated at several places along the river, the river had a tendency to flood rapidly, grounding the ferries and hindering traffic sometimes for several days. The fastest detour was to cross 100 …

Coulter, Wallace Henry

Wallace Henry Coulter was an engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur who was co-founder and chairman of Coulter Corporation, a worldwide medical diagnostics company headquartered in Miami, Florida. The two great passions of his life were applying engineering principles to scientific research and embracing the diversity of world cultures. Wallace Coulter was born on February 17, 1913, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Joseph R. Coulter and Minnie May Johnson Coulter. His father was a train dispatcher, and his mother was an elementary school teacher; he had one brother. Coulter spent his youth in McGehee (Desha County), graduating from McGehee High School. He attended his first year of college at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri; his interest in electronics, however, led him …

Cross, John Storrs

John Storrs Cross became a national and international expert in all types of electronic communication as a member of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Navy during World War II, and the U.S. Department of State, as well as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In Arkansas, he was the engineer for Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs (Garland County) in the 1930s and ran a motel with his wife near Eureka Springs (Carroll County) in the later part of his life. John S. Cross was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 18, 1904, to Thomas C. Cross and Elise T. Cross. He had one younger sister, Elise. In his high school years, he attended the private McCallie …

Crustaceans

Crustaceans (subphylum Crustacea) are a very large and diverse group of arthropods (invertebrate animals having an exoskeleton, jointed appendages, and segmented bodies). Crustaceans are distinguished by having paired mandibular jaws and maxillae, along with two pairs of antennae. Recent classifications include six classes within crustaceans—Branchiopoda, Remipedia, Cephalocarida, Maxillopoda, Ostracoda, and Malacostraca. The Classes of Crustacea Class Branchiopoda includes several groups of primitive aquatic and marine animals, including clam shrimp, the small fairy shrimp (less than one centimeter in length and living in temporary pools), and the “living fossil” tadpole shrimp. The most noteworthy brachiopods are the cladocerans, or water fleas, that make up many of the zooplankton in Arkansas lakes and ponds. These small, free-swimming animals are a critical food …

Cyprinids

The Cyprinidae is a diverse family of mainly freshwater fishes belonging to the ostariophysian order Cypriniformes, collectively called cyprinids. They include carps, true minnows, and their relatives. The Cyprinidae is the largest and most diverse fish family and, in general, the largest vertebrate animal family, with about 3,160 species, of which only 1,270 are extant, divided into about 376 genera. The family occurs in Africa, Eurasia, and North America (northern Canada to southern Mexico). Only two species of cyprinids occur in true marine waters, daces (Tribolodon brandtii and T. sachalinensis) from eastern Asia, and a few stray into brackish water only very rarely. More than sixty-two species of cyprinids are known from Arkansas, which represents almost a third of the …

DeGray Dam and Lake

DeGray Dam, located about eight miles northwest of Arkadelphia (Clark County), impounds the 13,400-acre DeGray Lake on the Caddo River. It was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for purposes of electricity generation and flood control, as well as establishing a drinking water supply for Arkadelphia, and is the first “pump back capable impoundment” in the Corps’s history. A reregulation dam forms a 400-acre impoundment below the main lake, providing a supply of water that can be pumped back into DeGray Lake during times of drought and used again for hydropower generation and to provide a steady flow of water on the Caddo River. The site where DeGray Dam stands had been considered for a dam since …

Dellinger, Samuel Claudius

Samuel Claudius Dellinger was curator of the University of Arkansas Museum in Fayetteville (Washington County) and head of the Department of Zoology for over thirty years. As curator, he built the museum’s archaeology collection into one of the best in the nation. In Dellinger’s view, the museum was, first and foremost, an educational resource for the people of Arkansas, and he worked to generate interest in it from the university community and the general public. Samuel Dellinger was born on January 14, 1892, in Iron Station (later Lincolntown), North Carolina, to Robert H. and Laura Loftin Dellinger. After graduating from high school, Dellinger attended Trinity College (later Duke University), where he was a varsity wrestler and swimmer. Dellinger earned his …

Derechos, Squall Lines, Downbursts/Microbursts, and “Rogue” Winds

While Arkansas makes national news far more often for its tornadoes, the state suffers its fair share of what are commonly known as straight-line winds. For example, on June 5, 2014, a weather event originating in Colorado crossed northeastern Arkansas, killing two people, derailing a train in Craighead County, and leaving thousands without power. A derecho (pronounced “deh-REY-cho”) is an event that consists of winds that create a swath of damage that extends for more than 240 miles, has minimal wind gusts of at least fifty-eight miles per hour (mph) for most of this swath, and includes multiple hurricane-force (seventy-five mph or greater) gusts. Derechos originate from what are commonly called “bow echoes,” named for their curved radar signature. About …

Diplurans

aka: Two-Pronged Bristletails
The primitive insects known as diplurans belong to the phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Hexapoda, class Insecta and order Diplura. They are considered to have three lineages: the Campodeoidea, Japygoidea, and Projapygoidea. These superfamilies are defined morphologically by three different types of cerci (paired appendages) found across all the dipluran families. There are ten families in this cosmopolitan order distributed from the tropics to the temperate zones. Diplurans belong to one of the four groups of Hexapoda, with other primitive apterygote insects, including springtails (Collembola) and coneheads (Protura). There are about 800 described species, of which around seventy (9%) occur in North America, twelve (2%) in the United Kingdom, and two (0.3%) in Australia. In 2016, species of diplurans were reported from …

Dipteran Parasites

aka: Parasitic Dipterans
aka: flies
aka: mosquitos
aka: gnats
The order Diptera belongs to the Phylum Arthropoda and Class Insecta. The order ranks number two among all insect orders—only behind beetles (Coleoptera)—with about 125,000 described species (there are an estimated 1,000,000 total species), many of which are considered parasitic or serve as vectors for diseases. There are two main groups (suborders): the Nematocera with seven infraorders and Brachycera with six infraorders. Dipterans—including the sixty species of mosquitoes that occur in Arkansas and Missouri—can be irritating to humans and harmful to livestock and other animals. A major repository of voucher specimens of dipterans in Arkansas is the Entomology Arthropod Museum at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (Washington County). It houses the largest research and reference collection of insects and …

Dog Heartworms

aka: Dirofilaria immitis
The canine heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a filarial parasite that belongs to the Phylum Nematoda, Class Secertenea, Order Spirurida, and Family Onchocercidae. There are two subgenera: Dirofilaria and Nochtiella. This parasite is often found in wild and domestic canids throughout the world, especially in the United States where it is endemic from the East to the Midwest, the southeastern Atlantic seaboard, and the southern Gulf Coast. Transmission of the parasite occurs throughout the United States (even Alaska) and in the warmer regions of Canada. In the United States, the highest infection rates are found within 241 km (150 mi.) of the coast from Texas northeast to New Jersey, and along the Mississippi River Valley and its major tributaries. The parasite …

Duke, Charles Sumner

A trailblazing African-American architect and engineer, Charles Sumner Duke not only designed unique public structures, but he also fought for housing rights and educational opportunities for African Americans. His powerful legacy continues in the buildings he designed, as well as in the organization he formed to facilitate the development of engineering and technological skills in youth of color. Charles Sumner Duke was born in Selma, Alabama, on July 21, 1879. His father, Jesse Duke, was the editorial writer and publisher for a local newspaper, The Herald. His mother, Willie Black Duke, was from a family of established businessmen. It was a financially secure family, allowing Duke and his siblings to take advantage of opportunities that many others in the black …

Earwigs

Earwigs belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, and Order Dermaptera. It is one of the comparatively species‐poor insect orders, as there are about 2,200 extant species within eleven families. About twenty-five species occur in North America, sixty in Australia, and forty-five in Europe. Earwigs are found on all continents except Antarctica and occur in northern latitudes as far north as Greenland. Earwigs exhibit their major diversity in the tropics and have a strong preference for warm and moist environments; few survive winter outdoors in cold climates. The overwhelming majority of earwig species are in the suborder Forficulina, grouped into nine families of 180 genera, including the common European earwig, Forficula auricularia. As of 2020, no earwigs have been reported …

Elk

Among the many success stories involving wildlife in Arkansas, a high-profile example is the elk of the Buffalo National River country. Wiped out in pioneer and early settlement days, the elk were brought back beginning in 1981, and, since then, the big animals have become well enough established that they can be hunted on a limited basis. The elk have also become a reliable tourist attraction in Newton County and the surrounding area. Elk were native to Arkansas but were wiped out by changing habitat, mostly the clearing of land. The variety in the area in the early days was the eastern subspecies of elk, which is extinct. By the time Arkansas became a state in 1836, elk were dwindling, …

Endemic Biota

An endemic species is any organism that is indigenous to a restricted or defined geographical area. Arkansas has a diverse variety of endemic biota, including fungi, plants, and animals. By 2017, there were about 139 endemic species in the state, most found in the Interior Highlands (Ouachita and Ozark Mountains). A combination of biological, climatic, and/or physical factors contribute to endemism. Some species are found in specific geographical or physiographic regions of the state, such as the Gulf Coastal Plain or Interior Highlands, whereas others may be restricted to specific sites in river drainages. Around the world, endemic species can also be found in geographically and biologically isolated areas such as islands and remote island groups, such as the Galápagos …

Endemic Darters

Forty species/subspecies of darters live in Arkansas; many of them are beautifully colored, especially males during the breeding season. Of these forty, five species are endemic to Arkansas, meaning that they occur nowhere else on the planet. Those five endemic darters are the beaded darter (Etheostoma clinton), strawberry darter (Etheostoma fragi), yellowcheek darter (Etheostoma moorei), paleback darter (Etheostoma pallididorsum), and the most recently described Ouachita darter (Percina brucethompsoni). The beaded darter, Etheostoma clinton (named after Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States) was described (elevated) by Richard Mayden of St. Louis University in Missouri and Steven Layman of Kennesaw, Georgia, from specimens collected in the upper Ouachita and Caddo rivers. It was formerly known as the speckled darter …

Endemic Isopods

Isopods belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea, Class Malacostraca, and Order Isopoda, and include pillbugs, sowbugs, woodlice, and their relatives. Isopods are cosmopolitan organisms that inhabit saltwater and freshwater habitats, including subterranean waters, but they can also be found in terrestrial environments. There are over 10,000 species of isopods worldwide in eleven suborders with about 4,500 species found in marine environments, 500 species in freshwater environments, and 5,000 species on land. Their fossil record dates back to the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic (some 300 million years ago) when they lived in shallow seas. Isopods range in length from thirty micrometers (microcerberid isopods) to 500 mm (19.7 in.) for the giant Antarctic isopod (Bathynomus giganteus). The majority of North …

Endemic Madtoms

aka: Ouachita Madtoms
aka: Caddo Madtoms
Two miniature catfishes are endemic to Arkansas—that is, they occur only in Arkansas and nowhere else on Earth. Both of these endemic fishes, the Ouachita madtom (Noturus lachneri) and the Caddo madtom (Noturus taylori), are taxonomically placed in the genus Noturus, the madtoms, which are contained within the catfish family Ictaluridae. Noturus lachneri was originally described by William Ralph Taylor in 1969 from the type locality of the Middle Fork of Saline River at State Highway 7, 11.2 miles (18.1 kilometers) north of Mountain Valley in Garland County. It was believed to be confined to the upper Saline River drainage until a Northeastern Louisiana University graduate student discovered it in a small tributary of the main Ouachita River just below …