Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Click Beetle

The eastern eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) is often found around rotting timber and that is exactly where I found this one….in a pile of old, rotting boards. It is named for the false eyes that appear on the back of the thorax.

The "click" refers to the sound that they make when they flip themselves upright. According to the Audobon Field Guide, “they accomplish this amazing feat by snapping a fingerlike spine on the underside of the thorax into a groove below the mesothorax.” Strangely, this particular one did not exhibit the phenomenon. He just lays on his back playing dead.


Monday, May 23, 2016

First Scarback Sighting

Yes, yes....almost back-to-back posts on box turtles. But this is Old Scarback (called "Scratchy" by the children), who has been mentioned on these pages on many occasions. This was the first sighting of the season. I wish that I had recorded the first year that I observed him but I would estimate that it has been close to 15 years.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May Stream Sampling

This is the 10th year that we have been stream sampling for the Four Rivers Watershed Watch. We started when my oldest son was 12 years old. This was the first year for my fourth and youngest son. The weather was perfect and no mosquitoes. The water level in the stream was lower than I expected as we have had above normal precipitation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Box Turtle

I spotted an eastern box turtle on our smallholding that I had never seen before. It was smaller than a full grown adult. He or she was very shy and would not take a peak and allow me to observe the eye color. The plastron showed no indentation, so perhaps it is a female.