Deer Tick, a Questing Bloodsucker

In California, the Western gray squirrel is known to harbor the bacterium –Borrelia burgdorferi– that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks pick this up during their first or second blood meal. Lizards – Western Lyme Heros   While in the larva or nymph stage, ticks frequently find lizard hosts.  A protein in lizard blood kills the Lyme disease causing bacteria.   Lizards … Read More

Bat – a Colonial Insectivore

Bats are the only flying mammals. Wing membranes are attached to their fingers. After rodents, they are the largest order of Earth animals.  Microbats live in California. they are insectivores and can eat their weight in insects daily. (Large bats, such as the Fruit Bat, also known as a Flying Fox, live in tropical climates.) Roost/Colony: Roosts, which can contain … Read More

Ladybugs Wind Sail into the Hills

Ladybugs are members of the Coccinellidae family. The Latin translation means ‘scarlet.’ In the US, they’re called Ladybugs. In Europe, they’re Ladybirds. Legend (or internet rumor) says in the middle ages in Europe, farmers prayed to Mother Mary to save blighted crops. Prayers must have been made in spring because Ladybugs came along to save the day.  In this case, … Read More

Incense Cedar, the Pencil Tree

A burned, sometimes smoldering,  Incense Cedar tree is one of the few places the Cedar Wood Wasp, lays its eggs. This insect is the only living species of its family, making it a ‘living fossil.’ Cedar is commonly used for building and fencing materials. Because the wood is pliable for gripping and resists splintering, it may be best known for its … Read More

Dragonfly & Damselfly – Moving Object Pathway Predictors

Dragonflies have been around longer than dinosaurs. Except for size, they’ve changed little through time. They’ve gone from a wingspan about the size of an adult shin (between knee and ankle), to palm-sized (stretching between a fully extended thumb and pinky). Evolutionary biologists believe that size reduction is connected with decreased oxygen levels in the atmosphere. Dragonflies are fierce hunters, … Read More