Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Microclimate

Went for a hike yesterday along Spanish Creek in freezing weather.  I was not dressed warmly enough for patient photography.  However, even though the air temperature was undoubtedly below freezing, I had occasion to lay my hand on the bark of a large Ponderosa Pine and noticed it was warm.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was near what we call "room" temperature, say 70 degrees F or so.  Nearby was a stump of a Ponderosa and I got curious enough to pull off a few slabs of bark.  Sure enough, there was lots of invertebrate activity.  Here I'm posting just a sample.  The top photo features a Silverfish in the center and a termite in the upper left.  While I was composing this shot at least three centipedes whizzed by and disappeared in various cracks and holes.  The second photo features a sow bug which together with pill bugs is sometimes called a Roly Poly.  The sow bugs can only partially curl up, whereas the pill bugs can curl up into a sphere.  There are other differences, of course.  The third photo features another termite, and the last features a centipede, approximately an inch long.  Before long there will be several species of centipedes here that exceed 3" in length and are often reported as exceeding 6".  That's called enthusiasm!  I try to include accuracy in my enthusiasm, but don't always succeed.

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