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Fred's photos from Wheaton Labs

 
gardener
Posts: 473
Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
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Thanks Sue!

Every night when i bike up to the Lab i have to swerve around several kinds of bugs that are crossing the road.

The first photo is of an unidentified millipede. According to the Montana Field Guide there are 25 species of millipedes in Montana. Unfortunately this is an area that doesn't seem to be well researched. None of the 25 species have pictures or descriptions in their Guide. Millipedes usually feed on decaying plant matter. They add segments and legs as they mature (which may take two to five years). They can live for several years as adults. When disturbed they may release a defensive chemical. In the past I've found some that emit smells like almonds or lemon.

The second photo is an unidentified camel cricket from the family Rhaphidophoridae. They eat organic debris, insects and other small arthropods. These crickets do not chirp or sing, as they have no wings. They prefer moist areas and are often found in caves. Not sure what moist spots they are able to find in this dry summer.

The third photo looks to be an unidentified funnel weaver spider from the family Agelenidae. These spiders often build a funnel shaped web and wait inside the narrow end for prey to fall on their net. They are some of the fastest running spiders and will run out to catch and bite prey. I guess the males are more likely to go on a walkabout as they are not as successful staying in one spot.
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millipede
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camel cricket from the family Rhaphidophoridae
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funnel weaver spider from the family Agelenidae
 
pollinator
Posts: 759
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Delightful course in the natural world of Montana... the same groundlings that I'd be noticing and wondering about if I were there... which you've made me feel that I am ;) Thanks, Fred :)
 
pollinator
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Location: New Zealand
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That camel cricket looks very like what we would call a weta. They like the same sort of habitat as you describe too. I think we have the biggest species in the world here....

giant weta nz images

edited by moderator to shorten link
 
steward
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Ooh, let me see if I can share that image:


Yup, they get a bit bigger in New Zealand!

Wetapunga are the largest insect in New Zealand, and with females weighing in at 35 grams or more they are one of the heaviest insects in the world. These spectacular giant weta are a threatened species, and their presence in the wild is restricted to just one natural population on Hauturu-0-Toi/Little Barrier Island, and two recently introduced populations on Tiritiri Matangi and Motuora islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

 
Fred Tyler
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The first photo is of another crawler making its way across the road at night. It is a harvestmen of the order Opiliones. It is an arachnid, but not a spider. Harvestmen do not spin silk or have venom. They only have two eyes. Their second pair of legs are longer and are used to feel around and collect taste and smell information. Most are omnivorous, and many are scavengers. I occasionally see them munching away on other bugs that were killed in the road (like night shift street sweepers). They only have one body segment. They can release a foul smelling odor to repel predators.

The second photo is of Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus). It is growing on the berm around the lemon tree site. It has a deep taproot to break up compacted soil. The leaves of chicory are usually bitter, but that can be reduced by changing the cooking water. Some cultivated varieties have been selected for their roots. They are dried and ground to use as a coffee substitute. The root has been used to eliminate internal parasites.

The third photo is a rotting log i thought looked nice. A fungus has eaten part of the wood and these bits were left behind and separated. It looks like it was a white rot fungus which has broken down the lignin and left behind the lighter colored cellulose.
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harvestmen of the order Opiliones
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Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
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leftovers from white rot fungus
 
Fred Tyler
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Thanks nancy!

Yikes Sue! That this is huge! Ours are quite small in comparison.

Today's photos are all of Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale). Paul doesn't like it because the little burs get stuck to your socks, but i think it might be a good permaculture plant. It usually grows as a biennial. It has a thick branching taproot that grows to 40 inches, which makes it drought tolerant. Seeds are only viable in the ground for 2-3 years. Seedlings do not compete well and generally need 10% or more bare ground. It can easily spread on disturbed sites, but as other plants become established hounds-tongue becomes less dominant. The plant concentrates calcium in its leaves, which it draws up from the subsoil. It has some alkaloids which are poisonous to cattle and horses, though they will still occasionally graze it (using it medicinally?). If given other food choices, poisoning is not an issue. Deer will sometimes eat it, and sheep commonly graze it with no ill effects. The leaves are said to repel moles in the garden, and have been used to protect stored fruits and vegetables from rodents.

The leaves contain allantoin, which is said to speed healing in the body. It is supposed to have anti-tumor properties. It has be used to treat insomnia, coughs, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and minor wounds. The leaves and roots have pain relieving properties, but like most medicine, can be dangerous in large quantities.
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Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale)
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Hounds-tongue flower (Cynoglossum officinale)
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Hounds-tongue seed (Cynoglossum officinale)
 
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Location: Northeast - 5B
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ummmm that cricket would be good fried up in coconut oil and slathered in red curry paste or dusted with dried chili...
 
Fred Tyler
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First photo is another crawler crossing the road at night. I saw the tracks in the sand and when i followed them up the road a bit, i found another Rubber Boa (Charina bottae). This one was far enough from the last one to be sure it is a different snake. They have a surprisingly small range (as small as 100 sq yards). They feel so neat, it's always nice to find one of these.

More ferments! The second photo is some sauerkraut i made (this time with only green cabbage and a little caraway mixed in) and some pickled parsnips (with a little carrot and ginger). I bartered for the cabbage, and found the parsnips in town.

The third photo is me next to one of the huge Lamb's quaters (Chenopodium) growing outside Allerton Abbey. We have been regularly harvesting leaves from these plants and soon it will be time to harvest the seed. I don't know if i'll bother trying to harvest any to eat, but i'll certainly collect some for distribution around the Lab. PM me if you want a packet of seeds from plants that can grow this big in rather poor soil with no irrigation and way below normal rainfall. (It might not look so big if Paul was standing next to it)
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Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)
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ferments
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lamb's quaters
 
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Hello Fred. Enjoy reading your posts! However, there seems to be something going on with your page format. Your page is like three times the width of my screen.
Content minimized. Click to view
 
Mother Tree
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Gary Huntress wrote:Hello Fred. Enjoy reading your posts! However, there seems to be something going on with your page format. Your page is like three times the width of my screen.



Is it better now? I think I might have fixed it.
 
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