Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tiger beetles actively digging burrow.

This is the salt panne where I came from. The plants around the edge of the open space is Disticulus spicata ... It somewhat appears to be like crab grass. It grows by runners. It never has tall blades. It grows along the edge of areas with salt water inundation occurs regularly and where the saline condition of the soil is extremely high. The water comes in and floods the basin, then evaporates until salt crystals form. Some crystals become sharp stilettos in the baked and dry mud and some become long strands of angle hair.

Disticulus is found along the California coastline where there are marshes which dry out now and then.... and, Disticulus grows in patches in Death Valley where there used to be ocean tides. Tiger beetles live there in the muds and sands of ancient ocean beaches.

This winter, the hundred year storms created lakes of water not seen for so long. Springs in the desert had pupfish mating, marsh plants - Disticulus and Salicornia sp. (pickleweed - edible for humans)- flourished, and tiger beetles ran.

In these holes larvae wait for small animals to walk by unaware of tiger beetle awaiting jaws. Adult tiger beetles dig holes under the plants and rocks for their night time refuge and rest. Solitary bees dig holes like these next to tiger beetles. Sometimes the bees become food for tigers. Tigers are maticulous about their appearance (they clean themselves all the time and when they are 'nervous') and their holes in the mud are dug in perfect cirlces - they are perfect!

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