Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Historic Viaduct Footings: Bugs Are Busy - Dragonflies, Multiple Harvester Ant Colonies, Tarantula Hawk

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 27, 2014. From the Historic Landmark Viaduct Footings looking toward Griffith Park (the second hill in the background).  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Yesterday, I walked the Red Car Property with Daniel Marlos, A.K.A. "The Bugman of Mt. Washington."  The bugs at the north end of the property put on quite a show for him.  Marlos immediately spotted a swarm of large green dragonflies around one of the California Black Walnut Trees growing above the viaduct footings.   In 24 years of walking the Red Car Property I have never seen a swarm of dragonflies.  I was unable to get a clear photo.  See photos & read about Green Darner Dragonflies swarming: What's That Bug?
Photo: Diane Edwardson May 24, 2014.  California Harvester Ants above the viaduct footings.

The Harvester Ants were very busy collecting seeds & plant matter, bringing oversized bounty back to their nests.  We looked at 2 colonies, but acknowledged we were not sure if they were separate colonies or part of a supercolony.  The entrances to the colonies were several hundred feet apart.  Read more about this important "indicator species:" What's That Bug

Marlos caught sight of a large Tarantula Hawk, "flying casually" under the heritage Coast Live Oak Tree on Lot C.  I noted we've been seeing a lot more Tarantula Hawks than ever before on the Red Car Property, especially on the north end, where the soil is less compacted & the habitat  includes more native plant species.   Marlos commented that we must have a lot of tarantulas or even trapdoor spiders in the neighborhood since those are their preferred hosts for egg laying.