This female Spotted Spreadwing Damselfly (Lestes congener) takes advantage of today's warm sun to lay eggs in the verticle stems of the Fox Island Nature Center Wetlands plants and young trees.
The Spreadwing Damselflies are easily mistaken for dragonflies because of the open position of their wings when perched. The Spotted Damsel is a late season flyer along with Meadowhawk Dragonflies.
Photo by J. Ormiston
Sunday, September 21, 2014
For about a year and a half I have been trying to get a photograph of dragonflies mating. This past week as I was on a short walk at the Fox Island Nature Center Wetlands a mating pair of Blue Faced Meadowhawks (Sympetrum ambiguum) landed only five feet away.
Photos by J. Ormiston
Photos by J. Ormiston
Saturday, August 23, 2014
|The larger 2 and 3 leafed Duckweed clings just under the eye of the bull frog. The smaller ( 1 mm ) Watermeal clings to the back of the frog and covers the surface of the pond.|
Friday, July 4, 2014
First appearing more 100 million years before the dinosaurs, DRAGONFLIES are a marvel of adaptation. Surviving ice ages and mass extinctions they are the animal kingdom's premier aerial predators. There are 97 species identified in Indiana and 462 species in North America
|Eastern Pondhawk - a horizontal perching dragonfly|
|This 12-spotted Skimmer has just captured a fly in mid-air.|
In Great Britain and Europe DRAGONFLIES and DAMSELFLIES are all identified as DRAGONFLIES. In North America we identify them separately.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
We recently had a large group of 5-6 year old students come to Fox Island Park for a field trip. On of the stops during their visit was at Bowman Lake to participate in using nets to dip for aquatic life including various water dwelling insects.
One young man retrieved a darner nymph (dragonfly) and was very excited to share it with his classmates. I asked him to put it in the holding pan and continue to dip with the net. Ten minutes later, when I looked in the pan, the adult dragonfly had started to emerge from it's exoskeleton.
Over the next 45 minutes the students and adults watched as the adult Green Darner slowly crawled out of it's skin. The new adult was left clinging to a lakeside bush to finish it's transformation to a flight capable mosquito eater.
Photos: J. Ormiston
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Along with the emergence of the frogs, tadpoles and fish from the ooze and slime of our ponds and lakes come the predators that feed on those delicacies.
One of these is the Northern Water Snake (N.erodia sipedon). These non-venomous snakes are often confused with the venomous Cottonmouth Water Moccasins but the shape of their body markings are very distinctive.While the N. Water Snake is found throughout Indiana the Cottonmouth is found only in the southern tip of Indiana. These snakes are live-bearers and mate from April thru June and give birth from July thru September.
|The coloration of this melanistic Northern Water Snake is nearly black but many have an obvious banding and splotchy pattern.|
Thanks to Dr. Bruce Kingsbury, IPFW Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dir. of the Environmental Resources Center for his help with identifying this snake.
Photos: Fox Island Co. Park Nature Center Wetlands, 4-11-2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
|"Jeez, yesterday it was the water snake, today it's YOU!!"|
|"Whoa, you're kinda cute close up!!"|
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The midland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) is one of the first frogs to begin calling in the spring in Northern Indiana. The call sounds like someone running their thumb along the teeth of a plastic comb. This small frog (1.50" long) is nearly impossible to see as it calls for a mate in the ponds and wetlands where they live. It took me about 30 minutes to find this particular frog even though I knew I was within 6' of him and knew the exact area he was in. I finally spotted the frog by watching for the rippled water as he called. I was only able to get so close because the frog was facing away from me and I walked very softly as I searched the pond edge. Note the inflated throat and rippled water around this frog.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Friday, February 7, 2014
In a recent post on NATURE POSTS there were photos and information about the Cattail Moth Caterpillar that spends the winter snug in the seed heads of cattails. The post sparked a desire to see if I too could find these interesting little caterpillars, locally, and see how they were surviving the effects of of the"polar vortex". The caterpillar, once hatched inside the seed head has a abundant food supply in the seeds of the cattail. By binding the seed head fluff with silk the caterpillar insures that it will have protection in order to survive the winter winds-or will it. On this particular day the temperature was about +9 deg. F ( -13 C) with a NW wind at about 10 mph and bright sunshine. The cattails collected were along Ft. Wayne's Towpath Trail near Eagle Marsh restored wetland.
The fluffy seed head in upper center has been bound together with silk from the
Cattail Moth Caterpillar (Simyra insularis)
After gently pulling apart about 6 fluffy seed heads and finding only dead caterpillars and Cattail Bugs I found a live caterpillar that was very active in the warmth of out home. This caterpillar crawls across the fibers of the cattail seed fluff. The caterpillar was in a seed head that was about 75% intact and still very compact. I can only believe that the very low temperatures of the polar vortex were not survivable for caterpillars in the loosely structured fluffy seed heads.