Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 2: Borrego Palm Canyon

Continued from Part 1...
Our next venture was to Borrego Palm Canyon. At 2:00 in the afternoon, the temperature was intense, but we had plenty of water and dared the hike. My first interesting find was a beautiful snail that had attached itself firmly to a log. This proved to be a Borrego Desertsnail (Sonorelix borregoensis), a “lifer” for me. I know nothing about the biology of this species, but I assume that the specimen I found was in estivation (or whatever the proper term is for snails), and that it would become active when prompted by rain or moisture.
My next observation was of a small, prettily patterned Cobweb Spider in the genus Asagena, found by Boaz. Another lifer for me! In the meantime, Boaz had observed several plants, such as Desert Lavender, Brittlebush, and Mesquite, as well as a Straight-faced Windscorpion (family Eremobatidae) and some Harvester Ants (Pogonomyrmex). The Windscorpion proved too fast for me to photograph. Rachel then pointed out a black-and-yellow checkered Spiny Lizard clinging to the trunk of a shrubby tree, which I discovered was a Desert Spiny (Sceloporus magister). Next up was a “Dusty Desert” spider, a female, species Homalonychus theologus. I find members of this genus intriguing. Females and juveniles are coated in sand that sticks to their “hair” (setae). This makes them rather hard to spot, and also makes them pretty well unmistakable when you do spot them. Shortly after this I found the empty shell of another snail, probably also a Sonorelix.
By now we were approaching the stream, and the surrounding vegetation was getting increasingly lush and green. Here we found one of the animals dependent on this water in the desert- a Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus). It hopped away madly whenever approached, making picture-taking very difficult. I finally gave up without a single shot, but Boaz persevered and was rewarded with several good ones.
At last we arrived at the oasis, a grove of verdant palms shading the stream. This oasis, an anomaly in the barren desert that surrounded it, owed its existence to the precious water that flowed here. The palms were California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera), unique in being the only palm native to Anza-Borrego and to California. Under their fronds was another world, cooler, greener, and shaded from the desert sun. We wandered here, climbing from boulder to boulder in pursuit of life.
The stream was teeming with tadpoles, presumably of Red-spotted Toads, and the occasional Giant Water Bug (Belostomatidae), perhaps Abedus indentatus. There were plenty of flies and other insects, too. Boaz discovered several gaudily colored harvestman, their bodies rotund and orange but their legs spindly and striped black and white. These were likely in the genus Eurybunus. Before leaving the oasis, we found another Red-spotted Toad, which Rachel and Boaz both photographed; I, however, was feeling a little run-down and opted to sit and watch them instead.
Eventually we began the trek back to the car. The last find of the trip was a small brown scorpion under a rock which turned out to be Stahnkeus subtilimanus, another lifer for me.

To be continued…

Publicado por ectothermist ectothermist, 04 de julio de 2021

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

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ectothermist

Fecha

Abril 28, 2021 03:53 PM PDT

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ectothermist

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Abril 28, 2021 03:34 PM PDT

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ectothermist

Fecha

Abril 28, 2021 02:41 PM PDT

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Qué

Lagartija Espinosa del Desierto (Sceloporus magister)

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ectothermist

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Abril 28, 2021 02:50 PM PDT

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ectothermist

Fecha

Abril 28, 2021 03:28 PM PDT

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

ectothermist

Fecha

Abril 2021

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