Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tales from the Bioblitz - walk with the animals

Here are the long awaited animal photos from this summer's Southeast Colorado Canyonlands Bioblitz. Efforts from the Bioblitz may have identified over 320 plant species, but there were also over 590 animal species found! Getting good pictures of said critters, however, can be a real challenge, as animals have a habit of running/swimming/flying away, hiding, waiting until dark, or otherwise not cooperating with photographers. Luckily, we have our very own excellent photographer, Environmental Review Coordinator Michael Menefee, who took all of the photos below during the Bioblitz.

bullsnake skin
CNHP Ecologist Renée Rondeau and NatureServe Research Zoologist Geoffrey Hammerson display the shed skin of a rather healthy-sized bullsnake.

Crotaphytus collaris
A collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) strikes a pose.

Brad Lambert
CNHP Vertebrate Zoologist Brad Lambert tries to net amphibians at the edge of a pond.

A Killdeer enacts the classic "broken-wing" distraction behavior, intended to draw predators (and photographers) away from the nest.

Back at the ranch (so to speak), Renée holds up a mountain lion skull found during the Bioblitz. An employee of the ranch was able to determine, based on his long experience on the plains, that the great cat died a natural death. Renée is addressing the field crew and ranch hands during the post-Bioblitz debriefing (also known as "dinner") and discussing the importance of local knowledge and how much biologists and ranchers can learn from each other.

Dactylotum bicolor
Last, but not least, here is a great close-up shot of the very colorful painted grasshopper (Dactylotum bicolor). Thanks again to all who participated in the Canyonlands Bioblitz and thank you Michael for the great photos.

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