Dragonflies are one of my favorite harbingers of summer. Especially the common green darner (Anax junius). The latin name translates to master and lord of June which I find fitting. You might agree, if you've ever watched one hawking over a wetland. Adult dragonflies are extraordinary fliers and voracious predators, able to move in all directions, change course in a flash and hover before zipping after prey like mosquitos and other flying insects. In the aquatic larval stage, dragonfly nymphs are fierce predators and equally adept in movement. They are well adapted for ambush hunting and will eat most anything that moves including other other aquatic insect larvae, even tadpoles and small fish! Depending on the species, the larval stage can last for several years, with the exoskeleton shed multiple times before emerging into terrestrial life as adults. Happy Solstice, everyone. Enjoy the days ahead.
- Mar 14, 2020
The American badger (Taxidea taxus) belongs to the mustelidae family along with weasels and wolverines (and skunks and mink). They are carnivores and feed on smaller mammals like voles, mice and chipmunks. In the U.S., it ranges from western to central states using a variety of open habitats such as prairies or old fields.
Badgers are one of ~130 species of mammals that use delayed implantation as a reproductive strategy, mating mid- to late summer with implantation delayed until winter. Cubs, also called kits, are born in spring when it is warmer and more food is available to feed them. The family unit remains together until fall.
If you are out and about in open grassy habitats and happen on a hole in the ground similar in size and shape to a football with an adjacent mound of dirt, it may be a badger den. Take note, keep your distance and move on.