Sunday, March 24, 2013

To the park and beyond

          Last Sunday I had an awesome picnic with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin at Cottonwood Park on the borders of Fresno. A couple years ago, this would be the same park that I spent many hours collecting at after school. It never disappointed, either! Going back this time with a camera in the early spring was a real treat too.

If there is ever a local river at the collecting site, I'm there. First, I'll scan the bank for possible tiger beetle habitats, if there are non, I'll shuffle through any leaf litter and flip over any objects that could conceal ground-dwelling beetles. After these first two ritual steps: I peal the bark off the logs, which is almost always worth the effort under warm and damp circumstances. It certainly was today, too.

Pacific Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer)

 Under the first strip of bark I photographed a young Gopher Snake (Which consequently lunged mouth open at me missing by a couple inches after a couple shots). This was a good picture and story for the general public, but for my entomological friends: I found something just as cool:

 Hololepta populnea LeConte, 1851

My first Hololepta. I didn't even have them in mind at all that day, but these two specimens are in there (my thoughts) now. This isn't really an uncommon genus, but it's one that has a glow about it. They are so flat you can even make out the reflection of what appears to be clouds on their backs. I found some other cool Histerids too, but non large enough for a photograph.

 Cottonwood Park: March, 2013

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