Posts Tagged 'turtles'

Everywhere You Look

HisteridaeFound in the salad spinner after washing some organic lettuce. A Histeridae family beetle, also known as hisser or clown beetles, even though they don’t wear much makeup. They eat the larvae of flies.OpuntiaA late-blooming Prickly Pear (Opuntia), one of my favorite local flowers. Speyeria cybeleA very beat-up Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), a new species for me. They’re rare in the city; this was at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and seemed to be flying pretty well, considering.Malaclemys terrapinDiamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) also at JBWR.Malaclemys terrapinOur only brackish water turtle. Only the females come to land, to lay their eggs. This one was heading back to the bay, so presumably she had spent the night digging a nest. Considering most of the JBWR nests are plundered by Raccoons (introduced by the highway), best wishes to her. MutillidaeI thought at first this was a large, fast-moving ant, but it’s actually a Red Velvet Ant of the Mutillidae family. Pardon the common name, these are actually wasps and are supposed to have a fierce sting, leading to their alternate name of, head’s up, people, “Cow Killer.” (This is why we have a telephoto lens.) Females are wingless; the winged males look a little more waspy. The larvae are ectoparasites on other wasps, including Cicada Killer Wasps.

Snout’s Up

Chelydra serpentinaSmall-to-medium-sized Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) peeking from the Duckweed and algae atop the perhaps deceptively named Lullwater in Prospect today.

Update: On second thought, and thoughtful suggestion, this is probably just another Red-eared Slider. All that yellow in the chin wouldn’t be on a Snapping T.

Turtlenecks

Trachemys scriptaThe all too-common Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta). Note those neck line patterns. TurtleOn the same day, close by, was this specimen. This one differs by having the yellow line go up past its eye.TurtleAnd by having an oval shape on the neck. Missing, too, is the red stripe behind the eyes which give Red-eareds their name. The stripe can fade with age, but this one is not so large/old. Still, I can’t figure out what species this could be if not a RES.

Two Turtles

How wonderful to be away from the tyranny of the Eastern Red-eared-slider! Great Swamp NWR management in fact urges you to report sightings of these invasive creatures. Meanwhile, the Swamp offers up several native species of turtles. Chrysemys pictaOn our recent trip, we saw a lot of Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta).Chrysemys pictaNot unknown in NYC waters, the Painted has these beautiful red markings on its body and shells, with the plastron (covering the belly) having the most elaborate patterns.Clemmys guttataWe saw a single Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata), which was once the most common species in the NYC area. I’ve never seen one here in the city. (The species is now one of Special Concern in NY). Clemmys guttataThe spots are on the body, even the tail, as well as the shell. Hatchlings generally have one yellow spot per scute, with more developing with age.

Young Snap

Chelydra serpentinaFour, count ’em four, Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta) were basking in the tiny, northernmost pond on Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park the other day. Fools keep releasing these invasive, potentially disease-carrying pet-trade animals. Some do it for religious (!) reasons! The effects of all this can be seen in the water course in Prospect Park. There were three dozen RES basking recently in the Pools. (I once counted 70 in the Lullwater.) Two Painted Turtles,a species native to the region, were seen among the most recent crowd, but the real discovery this day was this young Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).Chelydra serpentina I’ve seen snappers as little as a silver dollar and as big as a Fiat — no, make that a minibus — but not in-between, at least here in Brooklyn. Glad to see there are other generations in the mix. Chelydra serpentinaThe carapace (top shell) was about 6″ long. Snappers aren’t normally a basking species — but the winter was cold! — which is why it’s hard to say how many young ones there are in the park.

Snouty

Chelydra serpentinaA young Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) tests the air. Neither a wizened old warrior the size of a European subcompact nor a silver dollar-sized baby, this one was about 4″ long. Chelydra serpentina

Morning Stretch

IMG_5694Upward-facing turtle, with a keen eye on the photographer.


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