Oscar and the Fox Creek Slime Mold

Photo by Mary Power

Photo by Mary Power

doesn’t smell like scrambled eggs…

Oscar and the giant slime mold

Oscar Chang and I encountered this bright yellow spongy mass on a mossy rotten log on the south (left looking downstream) bank of Fox Creek, about 50 m up from the confluence with South Fork, in early June 2013, when we were helping Hiromi Uno install her mayfly-trout experiment. The vivid slime mold color got our attention! Slime molds, considered protists like ameoba even though they are societies rather than single celled organisms, deserve our attention. Some very clever Japanese scientists have made them seek food through mazes, and found out that foraging slime molds could eventually optimize traffic patterns through some major cities of the world—check out slime mold foraging here:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brainless-slime-molds.

Beetle that mimics appearance and movement of yellow jacket…

July 2014 was perhaps the most intense yellow jacket season we’ve ever experienced at Angelo. On July 17, 2014, Casey Huckins and Mary Power spotted a “yellow jacket” in a funnel web’s spider web on the road cut banks along the east side of Wilderness Lodge Road, between Skunk Creek and Elder Creek.

from BugGuide.net

from BugGuide.net

On closer inspection, the insect turned out to be a beetle–it had hard wing covers (elytra). This mimic looked and moved very much like a yellow jacket, close enough to fool us, almost. The closest match I (Mary) could find was Typocerus zebra, Zebra longhorn beetle, Cerambycidae, subfamily Lepturinae. I’m not sure whether they’re native here or not; the species in the photos occur in Tennessee and Texas. Joyce Gross was interested in whether this genus is expanding into

TexasEnt.net

TexasEnt.net

northwestern California, or has been introduced. Next time you see a solitary yellow jacket, look for the split of the elytra down the back.  If anyone knows more about this beetle, we’d be interested.   If you see a bunch of yellow jackets, though, run! (or rather, walk away, quickly) as you may have disturbed a nest.  Always smart to carry benadryl tablets (sold at Geigers in Laytonville), and an Epipen if you think you may be allergic~mep

Hauling batteries and hanging from trees: Angelo gets a wireless upgrade

Out with the old, in with the new.  Reserve Steward, Peter, CZO members, Collin and

Wireless relay in a redwood on top of a ridge.

Wireless relay in a redwood on top of a ridge.

Chris, have been working with our locally owned service provider, 101Netlink, to replace the aging network infrastructure.  Our equipment of choice is telecom-grade Ubiquiti wireless radios (UBNT Rocket M2, NanoBeam M2, and NanoStation M2).

The reserve’s rugged topography and tall trees make it extremely challenging to get internet connectivity.  With over 700 realtime sensors deployed, this is a critical component to the research infrastructure.

We use trees as towers and power our equipment with solar systems.   This can provide challenges, such as lugging two 70lbs deep cycle solar batteries up a mountainside.  It also is a great excuse to climb a redwood!