Mojave Desert 4-20 -2003 #1 - FaunaClassifieds
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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 04-25-2003, 09:20 PM   #1
Gordon c. Snelling
Mojave Desert 4-20 -2003 #1

The place: Somewhere in the Mojave Desert… The mission: to seek out new life and new civilizations.. to boldly go where few myrmecologists have gone before. Ok a short intermissision, in addition to herps I am also heavy into entomology, esp. ants and am working on a revision of the new world army ants, hence the heavy emphasis on ants in the post. now back to the story.
Ok so I got bored and decide to take a trek on Sunday. My first stop was a location somewhere in the vicinity of Adelanto. My father and I have collected in this site with great success, it has the distinction of being the only “pinpointed” location where Neivamyrmex mojave, a species of army ant has been collected, the type locality just states “Mojave desert”. Actually there is now one other record from Southern Baja.
With all the rain the area is looking pretty good, nice, green and many flowers
<img src=http://www.krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/adelanto.jpg>


A small species of native poppy
<img src=http://www.krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/poppies.jpg>


Another little pretty
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/pinkflower.jpg>


. However after a couple of hours wandering around and flipping rocks it was apparent that it was a little early in the season for much to happening, few ants were visibly active mostly Pogonomyrmex californicus
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/colony1.jpg>



Found this little gal making a beeline for her nest, she was moving fast and stopping for nothing. Her load looked suspicious so I tried to get her to drop it, no way, no how was she going to let go so I collected her to id the prize.
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/pogofood1.jpg>



It turns out that this is what she was carrying, although not this particular one. Talk about the irony of the situation. Her item was fresh and I have no doubt that she collected it herself rather than finding it dead.
http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/antlion3.jpg>


<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/antlion2.jpg>
 
Old 04-25-2003, 09:24 PM   #2
Gordon c. Snelling
Mojave desert part 2

Pogonomyrmex was very common. Dont worry a few herps are coming.

<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/1pogo1.jpg>



<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/pogostem2.jpg>



<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/pogostem.jpg>


On the hillside I located a colony of Forelius under a rock,
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/forelius4.jpg>



<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/forelius2.jpg>



<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/forelius1.jpg>


Termites were fairly common under the rocks, which made it something of a shock that there was so little ant activity.
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/termite2.jpg>



I also managed to locate a couple of colonies of Myrmecocystus mimicus (Honey Pot Ants) , a very common species at this site.
I looked down and this was what I saw



Did find this cute hopping spider
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/hopper3.jpg>



And this neat Harvestman under a rock
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/harvestman1.jpg>



The very first rock I flipped had this under it
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/solpugid2.jpg>
 
Old 04-25-2003, 09:26 PM   #3
Gordon c. Snelling
Mojave desert part 3

One of the few LGLs (Little gray lizards)I saw

<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/lizard4.jpg>


<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/lizard2.jpg>


<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/lizard3.jpg>


<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/whiptail1.jpg>



Finally I gave up on the first site and decided to move on. I headed north for a while and then headed toward the Barstow area where I found this. Sorry forgot to take a GPs reading at this site.. Oooppss
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/gopher2.jpg>

One of the nicest looking gopher snakes I had ever seen in the Mojave desert, sadly this one had just had a run in with a car.. and lost.
A short distance away I drove past a very mangled Mashdicophis, another loser in battle for asphalt supremacy.

I finally found another area that looked to be worth checking out,
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/habitat2.jpg>
 
Old 04-25-2003, 09:28 PM   #4
Gordon c. Snelling
Mojave desert part 4

Sadly there was even less activity than at the last site. The only ants, which I saw at all, were more P. rugosus, which were quite abundant here. However this site looks to be very promising for future visits.

Three different blister beetle species were found here as well.
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/beetleflower2.jpg>


You usually hear these ones before you see them due to the way the wing covers rub on the abdominal segments.
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/bubblebeetle.jpg>


Breeding blister beetles. These guys are big.
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/2beetle1.jpg>


<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/2beetle2.jpg>



While wandering around I found this,
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/dead3.jpg>



<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/dead2.jpg>
The vial is about 60mm

A short time later I did manage to locate I rather livelier tortoise out for an afternoon stroll.
<img src=http://krungkuene.org/imgant/pic/tortoise4.jpg>


About this time my camera started to give me grief, telling me the battery was about dead, that and the rapidly lowering temps convinced me the day was over for this trip.
 
Old 08-10-2003, 06:27 PM   #5
Sybella
Thank you, Gordon! I loved this thread!!
 

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