Summer has come to an end and autumn has made itself known as the trees change to beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. CVC field staff have packed up their gear and have headed back to their desks to start analyzing their findings from the past five months. And it isn’t all numbers and charts. Field staff capture some incredible images while out in the Credit River Watershed and we want to share them with you:
Amazing diversity in the Credit River
This photo features just some of the amazing benthic macroinvertebrates that CVC field staff observed this summer. Benthic macroinvertebrates refer to organisms that live at the bottom of streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. We do a lot of research into these interesting creatures since they are indicator species. Looking at their presence, health, numbers and species diversity can tell us a lot about the overall health of a waterbody and the surrounding environment. Learn more about benthics in the Credit River Watershed.
In this photo going clockwise there is: fishfly (Megaloptera), water penny, also called a beetle larvae (Coleoptera), caddisfly (Trichoptera), flatheaded mayfly (Ephemeroptera), midge (Chironomidae), riffle beetle larvae (Coleoptera). Inside the circle there is another mayfly, two caddisflies and a clam.
Water scorpions are truly super
An insect we don’t often hear about is a type of true bug, also known as Nepidae or a water scorpion! What you think may be their antennae projecting forward are actually their forearms which they use to seize their prey. Once they grab hold of their prey, they use their needle-like beak and mouth parts to extract nutritious juices. They also have two long trailing appendages which are actually a pair of breathing tubes that act as a snorkel to help them to stay underwater for long periods of time.
Pickerel frogs are picture perfect
Pickerel frogs are medium sized and have smooth, beige skin with prominent bronze folds of skin running down each side of the back called dorsolateral folds. Interestingly, their call is a low nasal snore, similar to the mooing of a cow! We haven’t seen too many of this species this year, so this was an exciting find.
Look for these on the forest floor
These plants might be tiny, but they’re important. These photos are of ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora, white) and pinesap (Hypopitys monotropa, yellow). These plants do not make chlorophyll which is why they aren’t green. Like fungi, they are not dependent on light to produce energy so they can thrive in very shady places. Since they cannot produce their own food, they are sustained by the green plants around them. They rely on a special type of fungus called mycorrhizal fungi. This fungus connects the roots of the two plants and food is transferred from the host plant to the ghost pipe or pinesap. This fungi dependent relationship is called mycotropism.
These four fabulous field finds are just a snapshot of the amazing species we find while working in the Credit River Watershed. If you want to learn more about our findings from the field, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!
By Kimberley Laird, Associate, Marketing and Communications