Nature in L.A.

Showing posts with label : mosquitoes

July 26, 2016

Phytotelmata: Miniature Breeding Grounds for Mosquitoes and Rat-tailed Maggots

The author, Emily Hartop, investigating a phytotelma formed by exposed tree roots. Photo by Brian Brown.

One of the many benefits of doing research in urban environments is the ability to spend a day in "the field" by simply walking out your door. Brian Brown (Curator of Entomology at NHM) and I did just that on a recent morning, and found ourselves investigating some unexpected phytotelmata in the exposed roots of large Ficus trees growing in front of the Exposition Park Rose Garden next door to the NHM.

Phytotelma (plural phytotelmata) is a fancy word that translates as "plant pond" and refers to any captured water environments created by plants. Some plants have evolved specifically for this purpose, like...

May 17, 2012

Pond Babies: Dragonflies and Diving Beetles

Two weeks ago I told you I'd fill you in when I found dragonfly nymphs in our pond. I wasn't expecting to be able to give you this update so quickly, but SURPRISE, nature moves fast, people! In the last few weeks, I've found more than 50 dragonfly exuviae (the papery exoskeletons shed between molts) attached to the rocks of the pond. Of course, this prompted me to take out my dip net and look for nymphs in the water.

Here's a picture of one I found:

Variegated Meadowhawk, Sympetrum corruptum, nymph
Found May 5, 2012

While I was dipping for the dragonfly nymphs, I found a lot of other macro-invertebrates. The list isn't very long, yet, but includes immature mosquitoes, chironomid midges, mayflies, and predacious diving beetles!