Hundreds of Beetle Species Make Grass River Natural Area Their Home

Grass River Natural Area (GRNA) located near Bellaire MI is pleased to announce the publication of a scientific paper that is the result of the completion of a comprehensive beetle (Coleoptera) study conducted at GRNA in 2017. Retired entomologists Bob Haack and Bill Ruesink donated their time to collect over 400 species of beetles on the property, 18 of which were reported for the first time as occurring in Michigan.  Ruesink estimates there could be as many as 1,000 species of beetles actually living at GRNA. Bill, Bob, and another colleague from MSU are creating a list of all known beetle species in Michigan, and that list now includes between 4,000 and 5,000 distinct species.  Given those numbers, GRNA with 400 known species, has at least 8-10% of all of Michigan’s beetles and could have 20-25% of the total, if the total number is closer to 1,000 species present!

The official citation of their research paper reads: “Robert A. Haack and William G. Ruesink. 2020. Coleoptera collected using three trapping methods at Grass River Natural Area, Antrim County, Michigan. The Great Lakes Entomologist 53: 138-169.” The paper can be viewed and downloaded for free at the journal’s website: Details in regard to collection techniques, habitats, and collection sites used for the study at GRNA can be found in the paper.

This project was approved and encouraged by the staff at Grass River Natural Area and is an example of the type of field research that is conducted there.  GRNA supports those interested in local fauna and flora to consider GRNA as a site for future research projects.  Please contact GRNA at to obtain further information. GRNA covers 1,492 acres with nine distinct natural community types; rich conifer swamp, mesic northern forest, northern fen, poor conifer swamp, hardwood-conifer swamp, northern wet meadow, northern shrub thicket, dry-mesic northern forest, and emergent marsh.

GRNA wishes to thank Haack and Ruesink for donating their time to conduct this valuable study that positively re-enforces the value of protecting the Grass River Natural Area and its inhabitants.