Last week I posted a short blog about some of the wilderness exploration opportunities around OIMB. As it turns out, one need not even leave campus to experience some pretty fantastic wildlife. OIMB campus is cut roughly in half by a trickling creek exiting the neighboring "skunk-cabbage swamp" and this stream is a hot-spot for a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate fauna. Seen below is a common inhabitant: a red-veined meadowhawk (Sympetrum madidum). This particular specimen was in the middle of laying its eggs just below the surface of the water (its larvae are entirely aquatic, until metamorphosis), but unfortunately had completed this task by the time I returned with my camera.
|Red-veined meadowhawk - Sympetrum madidum|
Meadowhawks (and just about every other dragonfly) are aerial predators that eat soft-bodies insects like mosquitoes and mayflies.
A possible prey item - a mayfly - can be seen below. Mayflies are relatively closely related to dragonflies and share a characteristic "Paleopteran" trait - the inability to fold its wings over its abdomen. Mayflies have extremely long lived aquatic larvae, similar to dragonflies, but winged adult are extremely short lived, sometimes living no more than a few days. Oftentimes these insects will metamorphose and mate in swarms, ensuring great reproductive success and also great feeding success for predators such a trout. A mayfly mimic, popular among fly fishermen, can be seen right.
|Image via fishingwithstyle.co.uk|
|Unidentified Mayfly - Order Ephemeroptera (Gr. ephemeros, short-lived – ptera, wing) about 3,000 species)|
|Image via wikipedia.com|
|An unidentified harvestman - Order Opiliones|
|Giant Flatworm (Kaburakia excelsa)|