FROM CATERPILLARS TO MARINE WORMS This morning I was out battling the mosquitoes to check on activity in my garden. I've planted a few Milkweed plants, and they have attracted egg laying Monarch butterflies. Here is one that has thrived. What was of particular interest was the fact that instead of eating the leaves, it was systematically chewing on one of the developing seed pods! By the way, which is the head end of this animal?
Yesterday we had our first official outing to Goose Rock. I don't know why I haven't explored this small island off Sand Dollar Beach. Maybe it is because you have to swim, snorkel or kayak over to the island. There is a small beach on the east side which is surrounding by shallow water, good for snorkeling. The rocky shore is also a great place to lift rocks and find animals hiding. The Hermit Crabs are so numerous that one can barely walk without stepping on them. We learned that small lobsters hide under the rocks, but are extremely difficult to net. They propel themselves backward and hide under anything available.
In our effort to find these crustaceans
we uncovered a large segmented Sand Worm nearly 8 inches in length!
You should have heard the squeals when that appeared! Here we
are in the pool that produced the worm.. and here is the worm,
itself. We watched the worm do a wriggly swim, and then dig into
moist sand with ease. It is equipped with paired parapodia on
each of its 200 segments. The head end has sensory bristles.
I will end with a picture shared by Rob Pierpont, from Connecticut. He is a long time camper and extraordinary photographer. It was he who caught our resident beaver nibbling on plant material in the Lily Pond at 7PM in the evening last week. Here is the proof that we have a beaver in our midst. Now we have to prove that he has a family or lives alone. This story has yet to play out. So far, the water in the pond has been well supplied with all too frequent rains. It has remained deep enough to protect the animal, but if history plays out, the pond becomes too shallow for swimming as the summer season winds down. In time, we may see beaver tracks on mud as it deals with that situation. By the way, beavers are vegetarians and would not have bit into the long worm we uncovered, as tasty as it may have been for a crab. Likewise, the Monarch caterpillar would have escaped consumption. But look out for lily pads! 8/6/06 Ronnie
8/1/06 Worm smitten Ronnie