|Field of frantic ants -|
Click to enlarge - REK
Plunging into thick growth with John Miller (MDC) in search of amphibians and reptiles, we turned over boards planted weeks earlier as cover. The one board above exposed a large colony of frantic ants, now running in all directions and trying to protect their white larvae. After recording this video, I put several in a bug box as they nipped away at my hand, in a vain justifiable homicide attempt.
|"F. difficilis, meet James Trager"|
"Formica difficilis - An ecologically conservative grassland ant species that once was common in Missouri's prairies, now rare and spotty due to nearly total suitable habitat destruction. Note the small, coppery-gold queen; This is a member of the specialized Formica microgyna (Greek for small queen) species group." in Bi-State Bugs
|Behold the queen - Trager - Bi-State Bugs|
|Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad - MDC|
Consider this microcosm. An ant species that needs prairies and high quality grasslands. A toad that lives under structures around moist areas but can survive on drier and even glade-like environments to find ants. And lumbering humans, lifting up boards to appreciate them or under other circumstances wipe out their habitat to raise corn, fescue, or even shopping malls. And that is why we support the efforts of the Missouri Prairie Foundation to protect these ecological gems.
More finds from the Bioblitz are in this Flickr album.
Sorry if you missed this year's Missouri Prairie Foundation Bioblitz but there is always next year. Look for this and other MPF events, including the Annual Dinner on August 5th on their homepage at Moprairie.org.