Saturday, January 22, 2011

*Currently waiting for:

moth pupa in soil
This is the pupa of this caterpillar that I collected last fall from the arboretum. I have accidently let the soil get very dry. I hope the developing moth is still OK.

moth pupa in silk cocoon
I found this cocoon very loosely attached to some tall grass last week. I tried to pull up the grass stalk to carry it home, but the cocoon fell right off. I took it home anyway.

mantid egg case
The egg case of praying mantis S. limbata. If this weather keeps up, it might hatch in a few weeks!



*among other things

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bee-watching on a sunny morning

In my front yard today. I love the bright orange pollen.
Honeybee on dandelion flower

Honeybee on dandelion flower

Honeybee on dandelion flower

Winter: It's here somewhere...

Ornamental pear blossom
At this time of year, the ornamental pear trees bloom, and the new leaves begin to sprout.

Ornamental pear blossom
But the tree still hasn't let go of all of last year's leaves yet.

Ornamental pear blossom
Our seasons here are all mixed up. The calendar says it's winter, but some of our trees still have their autumn leaves. And new the growth everywhere says spring has already arrived.


Did I mention our temperatures this past week have been in the 70's and 80's?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frog eggs in the creek

pacific tree frog eggs
Pacific tree frog eggs. This is what I was hoping I would find.

Creekside grasshopper

grasshopper

Aquatic snails

aquatic snail
I saw this snail in the creek. I'd never seen one like this before.

Aquatic snail
I fished it out so I could take a better picture of it.

Aquatic snails
I found these under the same leaf that had all the planaria under it. All the shells seemed to be empty, but maybe the snails were way deep down inside?

When I got home, I searched online to identify them, and I think they are Melanoides tuberculata. They are native to Africa and Asia, but in the 1930's they were brought to the USA for the aquarium trade, and since then, they have "escaped" and made themselves at home in much of the country.

The Planarian Phenomenon

planaria
I was messing around the creek at Craig Park the other day, and I found a bunch of planaria under a rotting, submerged leaf. I've always loved these little guys, ever since high school biology class when we kept them as "pets", and fed them bits of raw liver. I think in nature, these common flatworms eat other invertebrates, and decaying matter.


planaria
And there really isn't a phenomenon. I just like that both words are Latin and end with "n".