Flora and fauna of the Athens County area, and occasionally habitats outside Ohio. Subject matter will consist of both interpretive material and taxonomic issues in plant and animal identification.
Friday, July 13, 2012
I tend to be somewhat anal retentive. I like to plan and schedule things ahead of time. But like the commercial says, "sometimes you just gotta break the rules". Judging by the beauty of this plant, I think you can see why a 'spur' of the moment trip was called for. Acting on a tip from some hard core Orchid hunters, Robyn from Wahkeena called me about these. I ran into Mike and Marshall, a couple of students of mine who were instantly excited to go along. So the four of us headed to Vinton County.
I hate to admit it, but the invasive Canada Thistle is a huge nectar source. I didn't mention in my previous wetland post that before I started hiking, I spent 45 minutes in a six foot patch of this just admiring the diversity of insects it attracted. Here's a few more highlights.
This is the Western Lynx Spider, Oxyopes scalaris. The other Lynx Spider in Ohio is green. Lynx Spiders can be recognized by the thorn like bristles that cover the legs. He may be comfortably situated under those leaf spines, but it's not necessary considering he has so many of his own. I mentioned in my post on roadside plants that Canada Thistle leaves are covered with spines. Be very careful when grabbing these plants, especially today, it's Friday the 13th.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Mill Creek Metroparks outside Youngstown are restoring an old fish hatchery into a wetland wildlife preserve. While parts still contain a lot of exotic invasives, there were quite a lot of nice insects and plants to observe. This is the same place I found the Bald Eagles nesting last spring.
Near the edge of the ponds were these floating plants known as Bladderworts. I once found five different species at one location. Some float, others are submerged. Some have no leaves, others have single, double, or triple branched leaves under the water. They all contain bladders, or little balloons that inflate when their triggers are touched. They suck in small invertebrates from which they gain additional nutrients. In other words, they are carnivorous plants. I believe this one is the Common or Greater Bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris.