We had an absolutely lovely day for rock flipping today–I started with a bit of fence repair and garden cleanup. Here’s the view over the back fence toward our house–I planted hyacinth beans this year to try to dress up our boring wire fence. (Yes, we are still trying to sell our house.)
As a bonus to the nice day, I saw a hummingbird scouting around the blooms.
Alas, when I flipped my rocks, I didn’t find one of the garter snakes that are very common in my garden. I did find Pillbugs and Ants aplenty, though!
It’s not surprising that I found lots of ants–they are important in almost all terrestrial systems. Some estimates put them at 15-30% of the total biomass in ecosystems. That’s a lot of ants!
In the US, they are as or more important in turning soil and recycling debris as earthworms. (You did know most of the worms you see in the US are introduced species, right?) Ants are also important predators and biocontrol agents.
Your fun factoid about pillbugs is that they are land-living crustaceans–they have more in common with a shrimp than an insect! Because they breathe through gills, they must be in an area where they can stay damp. This is one of the reasons they are so common under rocks :)
What did you find in your rock flipping? Don’t forget to add them to the Flickr group!
IRFD Reports from around the World:
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