Saturday, March 15, 2014

A couple of water bugs

In the vacant lot across the street, the ground is hard-pan clay mixed with old construction debris. It is marked on old maps as the headwater of Cougar Creek, but the creek has long since disappeared; all that's left is a shallow pond that dries up by summer, leaving cracked, hardened mud. After the spring rains, though, much of the lot is under an inch or two of water, and for a couple of months it teems with swimming and diving life.

It's early days, still, but the temperature is rising, and a few ambitious bugs are patrolling the newly-drowned roots and debris.

Still testing the new lens, I examined the water, where I could reach it without sinking in the mud. I saw a few water tigers, the larvae of predaceous diving beetles, about 1/2 an inch long, the same colour as the mud and only visible when they moved. The camera couldn't find them; it's not programmed to notice biological movement, as our eyes are.

I was surprised to see a water strider; it's really early for these, but this was a very small strider, a youngster.

This, the camera could see even when I couldn't.

The surface of the water in some areas was covered with tiny, sparkly dots that I only saw when I downloaded the photos. I'm thinking they're probably more ostracods, like I found there a couple of years ago, in June. If there's another dry day soon, I'll go over with a magnifying glass to check them out.

And there were a couple of the small diving beetles, Acilius semisculatus. These swim smoothly and quite fast near the bottom (although in 2 inches of water, the bottom is near the top). Usually, I see them but don't get a photo; they're mostly gone by the time the camera focuses, so I was pleased that this new lens is so fast, even when I'm shooting from several feet away, through muddy water.

Quick shot before he disappeared under the roots.

Test shot. Nothing there, I think; nothing but gravel and old plants under two inches of water.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!