under the rocks   9 comments

In spite of some back problems, I did manage to get out to flip a few rocks on International Rock Flipping Day. I didn’t have such great luck this year, but the results were interesting enough. Beneath some loose, weathered bricks stacked against the foundation of the oldest section of the house, I found a few of the very dark, largish sowbugs that are common around the garden. I have no idea of their identity, but have posted the photo above (click on images for larger views).

My other interesting sighting was of a hapless male wolf spider, that to me, looks to be of the genus, Pardosa. Although the poor fellow was missing half of his legs, he was quite able to race over, under and around the fist-sized rocks in the ruins of the old cooper’s shed on the hillside next to the house (see below).

I had intended to flip a few rocks down in the river, with the hope of finding larvae of caddisflies and stoneflies, but by this time, my back was protesting too much, so I called it a day.

To see the blog posts and photos by others who wish to share the results of their own explorations, visit the following links:

Lynda at mainlymongoose
Kordite in the Flickr group
Bill Murphy at Fertanish Chatter
Malia at The Shell and Mantle
Rebecca In The Woods
Dave Bonta, on Via Negativa Here and here and on Flikr.
Paul, The Obligate Scientist
Susannah at Wanderin’ Weeta – Here and on Flickr.
Kate St. John on Outside My Window
Ontario Wanderer on Flickr
JayLeigh in Pacific Northwest Nature for Families
Fred Schueler: a Google document, copied here.
Rikaja in Slovakia
Bev Wigney at Journey to the Centre.
Hugh, at Rock, Paper, Lizard

Thanks to all of the participants, and a very special thanks to Susannah of Wanderin’ Weeta for coordinating this year’s event. Hope to see plenty of participants again in next year’s event.

Written by bev on September 14th, 2010

9 Responses to 'under the rocks'

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  1. Love the wolf spider photo! I drove my housemates nuts over the summer, because big wolf spiders would occasionally turn up in our bathroom and if I found one my reaction was to photograph it and let it go on its merry way.


    14 Sep 10 at 8:19 pm

  2. That’s interesting that he was still so ambulatory, especially considering that three out of the four legs were on one side.


    15 Sep 10 at 8:06 am

  3. I wonder how he lost the legs.

    I sympathize with the back pain. I did some heavy lifting over the weekend and I’m feeling the effects. Unlike the spiders, we do heal, but sometimes not so quickly and, these days, not so completely.


    15 Sep 10 at 9:19 am

  4. rebecca – I love wolf spiders. However, I know that some people don’t like their ability to run quite quickly!

    Dave – He was very agile and ran around and around the rock as I turned it. I thought the same thing – with only one leg on the left side, it seemed amazing that he could function so well.

    Mark – I frequently see spiders without one or two legs, but less frequently with 3 or 4 missing. I guess they lose them in various ways – while escaping predators, wrestling with prey and possibly fighting with each other. In the past, I’ve read that young spiders can regenerate a lost limb, but it takes a couple of molts to do so. Adult spiders are unable to regenerate a limb. I think some of the species will sacrifice a leg (autotomy) to escape from predators. I just did a bit of looking around for information on how well spiders can cope with missing legs and found this paper which is quite interesting. I also found another paper which I thought rather fascinating, or perhaps amusing – I’d like to read the methodology as it mentions showing video images of symmetric and asymmetric male wolf spiders to female spiders to gauge their reactions. !!???!!! I’m trying to figure out how on earth they managed to do that!

    I hope your back is recovering. Mine is still feeling a bit stiff. When it goes bad, I can only lean to one side and have to walk around leaning a little back and to one side. That’s how it was on Sunday when I tried to flip a few rocks. Not too much fun, especially this week as I try to get the house closed up for the season and load the van for our autumn trip. Grrh!!


    15 Sep 10 at 9:49 am

  5. I flipped one rock and found the hard red dirt of a long hot summer’s end. Nothing living under there. I think I’ll have to try a better rock next time!

    robin andrea

    15 Sep 10 at 10:23 am

  6. There are mostly slugs under the rocks around here. What are the ethics of flipping, photographing and then feeding to the ducks?!


    16 Sep 10 at 4:19 am

  7. robin – I had a year like that once too. Not much to be seen as the creatures must have dug in to moister soil for the winter.

    J-in-Wales – Yes, perhaps not so ethical if you’re being followed by hungry ducks! (-:


    16 Sep 10 at 9:26 am

  8. I know I should be focusing on your neat pixes and info, but I find myself wanting to know how your back is doing.

    You’re taking such wonderful care of Sabrina.

    I hope you’re back is getting some special consideration, too :0)

    Cathy Wilson

    20 Sep 10 at 7:25 pm

  9. Cathy – My back is fairly good now. I was rushing trying to get the place closed up and the van ready for our trip, but I was in quite a bit of pain. The weather turned nice on Saturday and is supposed to stay that way all this week, so I decided to slow down and take my time getting everything ready and wrapping up the last of the work here. I’m getting a lot done without stressing my body too much, so I think everything will be okay. Thanks for asking! (o:


    20 Sep 10 at 7:57 pm

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