24 March 2009

A Trip to Kaintuck Hollow

On our recent trip to Missouri, we spent the better part of a beautiful spring day at Kaintuck Hollow in Mark Twain National Forest. Below are a few photos of the fauna we saw... I could use a little help identifying a couple of these.

As soon as we got out of the car, I heard rustling of leaves and found a Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans v. blanchardi). In northern Indiana, cricket frogs have become pretty uncommon in the past quarter of a century; as you go farther south in the state, their metallic "gick-gick-gick" calls frequent the spring and summer air. The couple of times I have seen these inch-long frogs in the past, they have had an obvious green stripe down the center of their backs, like the one shown in my post here. Cricket frogs often have this colored stripe; sometimes it is red, yellow, or brown, but sometimes it is absent. You'll notice the warty texture to the skin, another helpful identification character. The feature to look for to obtain a positive ID, however, is the dark triangle between the eyes on the top of the head.

It wasn't long before I noticed another hop and commotion in the leaf litter, but this time the culprit was a russet-colored grasshopper. What a beautiful and well camouflaged creature! Thanks to Ted MacRae of Beetles in the Bush for identifying this as a Mischievous Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca damnifica).

A bit later, while we were botanizing in an oak-hickory woodland, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. After flipping over a few leaves, I found this approximately 1 inch long beetle. Thanks again to Ted MacRae for identifying this as a Ground Beetle (Carabus sylvosus).

Finally, we were lucky enough to see one of the Show-Me State's most unique mammals, the Missouri endemic Ozark Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys thomasii). This species bears little resemblance to the Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) or Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans), and in fact, unlike its relatives, is diurnal. Like its relatives, the Ozark Flying Squirrel shows an affinity towards lichens, acorns, and flowers.

9 comments:

Scott said...

Can someone explain to me how to add photos that can be clicked on an enlarged?? I can't figure it out.

beetlesinthebush said...

Hi Scott,

To link your photos to the larger version, go to "visual" mode on your post edit window and click on the image - you will see two buttons in the upper left corner of the image. Move the cursor over them and one will say "edit image", the other will say "delete image" - click on the one that says edit (don't click on the one that says delete!). In the window that opens, click on "Link to image", then click on "Update" to save the change to the image and click on "Update Post" to save the changes to the post.

If you do that and allow me to see bigger photos - I might be able to ID the bugs ;-)

regards--ted

Justin said...

Ha, Ha! That Ozark Flying Squirrel bears a striking resemblence to the Cook Meadow Prairie Chicken. Convergent evolution at it's best!

Scott said...

Ah, yes... the famous Cook Meadow Prairie Chicken...

Scott said...

The photos should be able to be enlarged now... but what a pain. Ted, your directions didn't seem to apply when using this blog platform, but thanks anyways. There's got to be an easier way than what i just went through.

Allison Vaughn said...

Excellent--Kaintuck is pretty neat during the growing season. Unfortunately, the fen proper has a bit of a sericea problem, but they keep up with fires there (which, of course, just helps sericea...sigh.) and it remains pretty diverse. Did you make it to Western Star Savanna nearby? It's a flatwoods!

Scott said...

Hi Allison. Yes, we noticed a lot of sericea in the fen and especially around the fen. We don't have as big of a problem with it up here in northern Indiana (yet), but I know of several locations where it was accidentally introduced. At one of the locations, the landowner has been fighting it for years, but he can't eradicate it. It's just a matter of time...

Yes, we visited Western Star as well. I'd been there once before, during the growing season. I was amazed at the rich flora, and it seemed like species I would never expect to see growing together in northern Indiana were very happy that way at Western Star.

Ted C. MacRae said...

Hi Scott, thanks for going through the trouble. Not sure what your platform is like, but with my hosted WordPress platform the image link is set by default when I upload the photo - maybe there's a setting you can specify for this.

Anyway, the large photos help a lot. For the grasshopper, it is in the family Acrididae (shorthorned grasshoppers). The light vertical stripe beneath the eye suggests the genus Schistocerca, and the uniform coloration, medium size, and light stripe on the pronotal ridge suggest the species S. damnifica. As for the beetle, it is a ground beetle (family Carabidae), and the bluish lateral marking suggests the species Carabus sylvosus. Ironically, Allison posted a picture of this very species just yesterday on FaceBook.

regards--ted

Scott said...

Hi Ted. Thanks for identifying the insects for me. I'd never knowingly seen either of these before. Appreciate your help!