Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My own menagerie

Here are some of the animal photos I've taken while on local hikes:

Grey Fox: I met his creature chasing a rabbit. (He was chasing the rabbit.) Both lept out of the bushes beside me and the rabbit disappeared. The fox looked at me (posing) and lurched off into the bushes.

This is known as a Jeruselum Cricket. The inset on the left shows my foot (men's size 12) next to the cricket for size. (This is as close I as got to the creature.)

I don't know which species this hummingbird is, but I think the red marking on the throat will be obvious to those who do know. I was impressed that I could unwrap my camera and get shot in time to catch its wings in motion.

When encountering a snake on the trail, I usually scare it away with my almost involuntary foot shuffling (a natural and beneficial panic reaction that I've never cured myself of), but this rosy boa stayed put. Though rosy boas are common in our region, seeing one is rare. Since seeing this boa obstructing the trail, I've contemplated what it would be like to see the boa from 58 million years ago reported in the journal Nature. The authors describe a boa that was a meter wide, that would be like a meter wide log laying across the path.

And... according to an interpreter at the ecological reserve (where all of these photos were taken), this above insect is Manroot Borer (Melittia gloriosa). They are found from Kansas and western Texas to southern California and up through Oregon. The caterpillar bores into the wild cucumber root (Manroot) and overwinters in a silken cocoon beneath the soil. It is highly prized by collectors. Probably for its attractiveness (note the species name) but also because it's rare. They are in flight during the months of May through October and they become more active as the temperature increases.



Bill Wixted said...

Great pictures. Just hope I never run into that cricket! It looks like something you'd see around Chernobyl.

jg said...

From what I've read, the Jerusalem Cricket is also called something like "child of earth" because it spends most of its time underground. I'm told that seeing one above ground is rare.