Monthly Archives: November 2010

Random Plant: Hazelnut

Last month I discovered that some friends had a number of hazelnut shrubs (Corylus sp., Betulaceae) growing on their property.  While I’ve never been crazy about hazelnuts or hazelnut confections, I found the plants themselves to be interesting. Hazels are … Continue reading

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Textbook Syncline

In the Appalachian Mountains there is a region known as the ridge-and-valley province.  In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, this physiographic province is dominated by the Allegheny Mountains.  This area is characterized by long and narrow alternating sequences of ridges … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Broad-headed bug

On a recent trip to Pennsylvania I found this broad-headed bug (family Alydidae) outside my hotel at dusk.  These insects overwinter as adults, and this one may have been trying to gain entry into the hotel for the winter.  During … Continue reading

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Random Crustacean: Woodlouse

When people think of animals in the arthropod subphylum Crustacea, they probably think about crabs, lobsters, and shrimp.  That would be unsurprising since they’re the crustaceans most people come in contact with, usually as dinner.  For most people, however, there … Continue reading

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Random Plant: American pokeweed

While out in a local floodplain forest I came across an unusual plant I hadn’t noticed before.  It had huge leaves that were starting to turn red in the cool fall air, and it resembled a tropical plant.  After some … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Firefly larva

On Halloween I found this little monster inside a rotting log.  It’s a firefly larva (family Lampyridae), and it’s really only monstrous if you’re an organism on this predator’s dinner menu.  These beetle larvae feed on land snails, slugs, and … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Great rhododendron

On a recent trip I made a stop at Coopers Rock State Forest in northeastern West Virginia.  While walking to a scenic overlook of the Cheat River Gorge, I noticed many large shrubs with leaves that were still very green.  … Continue reading

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