Monthly Archives: August 2013

Random Plant: Rubber rabbitbrush

Rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa, Asteraceae) is a native of arid, open areas of the North American west. Often a prolific pioneer of disturbed locations, this perennial shrub can form dense stands up to eight feet in height. The thick foliage … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Random Plant | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Plant-Insect Interaction: Striped willow leaf beetle larvae on a sandbar willow

When I visited Great Sand Dunes National Park earlier this month the sandbar willows (Salix exigua, Salicaceae) along Medano Creek caught my attention. I noticed a lot of the leaves had been heavily foraged by some insect, and it didn’t take … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, National Parks, Organism Interactions | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Random Insect: White-dotted prominent

The other morning I found this white-dotted prominent (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae: Nadata gibbosa) resting near my porch light. Like many other insects these moths are drawn to light at night, and they often stick around awhile after the sun comes up. Although … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Entomology, Random Insect | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rocky Mountain National Park

Hidden among the high peaks of north-central Colorado’s Front Range is a breathtaking sanctuary for wildlife. Moose, elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bears, and mountain lions roam this primeval haven in such large numbers that most are almost impossible … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Geology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology, Weather and Climate | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Random Plant: Curlycup gumweed

Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa, Asteraceae) is relatively common among grasslands, pastures, and disturbed areas in the Great Plains and Intermountain West. Although native to western North America, human activity has helped it spread across much of the continent. It easily establishes … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Culture, National Parks, Random Plant | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Dinosaur National Monument

Along the border of Colorado and Utah is a natural wonderland spanning over 300 square miles. Here the Green and Yampa Rivers cut through the arid eastern edge of the Uinta Mountains, exposing hundreds of millions of years of geologic … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, National Parks, Paleontology, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Colorado National Monument

Along the edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau of west-central Colorado is a haven of colossal red rock cliffs and monoliths. Scenic vistas overlook the Grand Valley of the Colorado River, providing distant views of the Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa. In … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Geology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Insect: Plume moth

Plume moths (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) are easy to recognize thanks to their unique appearance. These insects fold up their feathery wings and hold them out horizontally while at rest, making them look T-shaped. While the adult moths feed on pollen and nectar, … Continue reading

Posted in Entomology, Random Insect | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

For millions of years the Gunnison River has relentlessly carved its way down through rocks nearly two billion years in age. Along 48 miles of its course in west-central Colorado it has cut one of the deepest, steepest canyons in … Continue reading

Posted in Geology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Plant-Insect Interaction: Milkweed tussock moth larvae feeding on a common milkweed

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a number of milkweed tussock moth larvae (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Euchaetes egle) feeding on a common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca, Apocynaceae) near the edge of my yard. As with a number of other insects, these caterpillars have learned to … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Nestled against the western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of south-central Colorado are the tallest sand dunes in North America. Covering 30 square miles and rising to 750 feet in height, the dunes are the centerpiece in a … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Culture, Ecology, Entomology, Geology, National Parks, Weather and Climate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bull moose foraging at Rocky Mountain National Park

I recently returned from a trip across much of Colorado, and one highlight was seeing this bull moose (Artiodactyla: Cervidae: Alces alces) at Rocky Mountain National Park. This largest member of the deer family was foraging along Trail Ridge Road in … Continue reading

Posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Endangered Whooping Crane with more common Sandhill Cranes

It’s estimated there were over 10,000 Whooping Cranes (Gruiformes: Gruidae: Grus americana) living in North America prior to European discovery and settlement. Subsequent decades of habitat loss and overhunting decimated their population. By 1941 Whooping Cranes were one of the rarest and … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Happy Anniversary

3 years 4.2 GB of photos 500 posts 0.46 posts per day 65,545 views 46 mammals 9 reptiles 6 amphibians 7 fish 13 spiders 219 insects 261 plants 73 trees 26 national parks 114 travel posts 302 comments 16,059 spam … Continue reading

Posted in General | 6 Comments

Plant-Insect Interaction: Insidious flower bugs on a white aster

Insidious flower bugs (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae: Orius insidiosus) are probably one of the best-known members of the minute pirate bug family. These tiny insects only reach about 2 mm in length but they’re of significant economic importance to agriculture. They feed predominantly … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments