Friday, July 4, 2014

Aquatic Adventures

A hot summer day in July is perfect for a little kayak trip and some aquatic adventures. So let's proceed to the findings of the North East Ohio Naturalist's bio-bitz on a private pond near Kent, Ohio.  

Judy Semroc gathers plant samples.
Much of my time was spent with Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Judy Semroc and Larry Rosche.  If you like dragonflies, you'll immediately recognize them as the primary authors of the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio.  Buying it might be the best $24.00 you'll ever spend.

Water Lilies floating like mini islands. 

The water lilies created mini islands for micro habitats.  There was a myriad of beetles, bugs, damsel and dragonflies all worth investigating more closely.  Today's post is mostly "bugs", so I'll spend some time with aquatic plants on a later post.

A water born moth.
 This moth, which became a specimen, had already expired by the time I found it.  But let's take a closer look at it in the photo below.

Unknown moth species.
Judy had alerted me to watching  for water-born moths.  I did not know about the moth species which have larva that live and feed underwater.  The adult moths lay their eggs in or near the water, and the first half of their offspring's life cycle is aquatic.  Fascinating!  If you are able to click on the photo you might take an even closer look at the barbs on the legs.  Some moths have remainders of breathing tubes from their aquatic life.  It makes me curious to learn more about these lepidoptera.

A dragonfly exuvia.
 It is not unusual to find dragonfly exuvia on aquatic vegetaion, like water lilies.  The exuvia is the cast off exoskeleton left behind when a damsel or dragonfly shed to become their adult form. You can often find them in cat-tail stands.Those white stripes are the left-over, underwater breathing tubes!

State endangered:   Lilypad Forktails (I. kellicotti)  (male above, female below)
We were most fortunate to have Larry Rosche along, as he quickly noted this State Endangered- and extremely rare forktail.  In fact, this damselfly is not even in his book, as there were no known populations in Ohio when it went to press.
Dragon-master, Larry Rosche.
Dragonfly watching is always good entertainment and being eye-level and a just paddle's-length-away is one of the best ways to observe them.

The  lilypad's "heart"!
We had many wonderful discoveries, and I love to photograph the aquatic plant life.  I will be trying to sort the plants out in the next blog.  For now I am content to have this happy take-home message: Do what you like and like what you do!

On the goods days you'll have some great discoveries, too. 

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