McCloud River fauna

We’ve been without net access for a couple of days, so I wasn’t able to post my follow-up on the fauna around our campsite on the McCloud River, so this is it. I had mentioned that we saw quite a lot of insect activity going on.

There was much grasshopper activity everywhere — which is pretty much what I would expect to see in late summer or early autumn just about everywhere. My friend found the above large green grasshopper in the foliage next to our campsite. It’s really quite handsome, so be sure to click on the image to see the larger view.

Also found around the site were jumping spiders such as the above. Of interest to me was that I think we found an identical spider at Standish-Hickey State Park on the Eel River near Leggett last year. I suppose it’s a common species here California. It’s sort of a rusty reddish brown with gray annulated legs and white markings on the cephalothorax, and with a pale band around the front of the abdomen. It’s a very bold spider. It will leap at and then bounce off your hand or the camera if it feels like its personal space is being invaded.

Also found everywhere around the campsite were lizards such as the above. I’m not sure what this one might be. I believe these may be what are referred to as “fence lizards” in this region, but I don’t have time to look up an ID right now. If anyone happens to know what this one might be, please feel free to post the info in a comment down below. Same goes for the above jumping spider, or any of the other creatures in these photos.

The sand and gravel bars along the river were populated my many Tiger Beetles. Unfortunately, the *only* photo I was able to get was the crappy one above (there’s no larger view of that one). I have no idea what species it might be as I just couldn’t get close enough to one of these to check it out. These were the most active Tiger Beetles I can ever remember seeing. Part of that might be due to the weather as it was very hot and dry along the river after the sun came up. I spent about an hour sitting on a sand and gravel bar out in the river watching these guys hunting. Great fun.

Although I wasn’t successful with the Tiger Beetles, I did get the above photo of a brilliant blue Damselfly. I have no idea of the species, but it was quite large for a damsel and seemed to be a very active and successful predator.

Also seen and photographed was the above fly. It was a real monster — jumbo-sized. I have to say I’ve never seen a fly that came anywhere near the size of this one. It had two distinctive golden patches on the upper side of the abdomen, and very conspicuous, spiky black hair. It was going from flower to flower on a plant that seemed to be some kind of Lady’s Thumb. Again, IDs are invited as I don’t have any insect field guides with me on this trip.

This is one of the grasshopper nymphs that we found on the gravel bars along the river. Other insects seen but not photographed were butterflies. I saw quite a number of California Sister and Black Swallowtails. I’m not certain if the Swallowtails were the same species we get back home in eastern Ontario, but they were quite similar. I also saw a butterfly that looked quite a bit like a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, but I’m not sure if there’s something like that in northern California.

And this little Mystery Creature was found wandering around on the inside of the tent on our last night at McCloud River. The little creature had quite a resemblance to a miniature lobster and roved about, almost non-stop over the tent fabric. We had great fun photographing it and then putting the images up on the screen of my laptop.

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7 Responses to “McCloud River fauna”

  1. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Well. That grasshopper nymph. If that doesn’t make a case for natural selection and adaptation – I don’t know what does. I’m still not sure that it isn’t an objet d’art that some enterprising sculptor dropped among the stones. Trouble is – he’s so devoid of grace, of loveliness . . . . ah, evolution – it didn’t ask my opinion. (Great pixes, Bev)

  2. Mike Mills Says:

    Looks a lot like tiger_beetle_cicindela_repanda the kind I find on hot sand. May 27 in Ontario.

  3. beetle_doc Says:

    The fly is some type of tachinid, possibly Paradejeania rutiliodes. The last insect is a microcoryphian, or jumping bristletail.

  4. DougT Says:

    My first inclination on the tiger beetle is to agree with Mike Mills. But I can’t do it with great confidence because of the angle. I completely empathize with the difficulties in photographing those guys. But you knew that already.

  5. bev Says:

    Cathy – Isn’t it a well camouflaged grasshopper.. but yes, there is something distinctly primitive looking about some of these gray grasshoppers.

    Mike – Yes, it does look a lot like C. repanda. I don’t have my field guide along on this trip, but I expect that those could be found in this part of California.

    beetle doc – Thanks! I just took a look at some online images of P. rutiliodes and they sure do look the same. Jumping bristletails are something new for me – I don’t think I’ve encountered them in the past.

    Doug – Yes, for sure — tiger beetles can be very difficult to photograph. These guys seemed to be the worst I’ve ever seen!

  6. Arthro_Angst Says:

    The unknown lobster-like creature appears to be a silverfish or a related species.

  7. Arthro_Angst Says:

    actually I count ten to twelve legs. Definately a silverfish.

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