This weekend I was busy with science outreach at the Science Rendezvous, where I gave a talk on caracara predation behaviour. I only got the chance for a short outing around the lab, and a quick visit to Hastings Park on Sunday before some heavy rain started. I did manage to return with some modest prizes, including some heron fishing footage.
A Mayfly in the headwaters of Stony Creek behind SFU.
This Mayfly lived much less than a day, before the water striders got it.
Julie Wray of the Elle Lab waits to deliver fresh science at the Science Rendezvous.
Believe it or not, this is a Neuropteran, family Coniopterygidae. They are often called Dustywings.
Found this under some plywood behind the Insectary Annex at SFU.
Totem Pole covered in algae, Hastings Park.
A Great Blue Heron fishes in Hastings Park
Below is the Heron Fishing video. Watch it in HD if you can, and see this impressive bird on goldfish patrol!
For all those interested, please come out to my talk today at the Science Rendezvous event at SFU today: 12:10 PM in AQ3005 at the Burnaby Campus. I will be discussing the foraging adaptations of this remarkable specialist predator of social wasps, with many exciting videos and pictures.
The other day, when I was out searching for aquatic insects for my new aquarium photography setup, I came to a small pond in the forest just below the school, and could have swore that a Red-legged Frog jumped into the water. I did not want to stir up the pond to much, so I told myself I would come back to confirm.
This morning, after sending my predation manuscript to my coauthors for their input, I went down for a peek. Sure enough, right at the border of the pond, was a beautiful Rana aurora! I took a few photos before letting the frog go on its way. I checked the pond with a net, and found that it was full of eggs and larvae, so this was not the only one! I am excited to see this, as this species has been declining across its range in BC (though they were quite abundant when I was a kid). It is good to know that despite the super pro-development forces at this school, that there still remain parklands that can support these frogs.
This weekend, I will be giving a talk at the Science Rendezvous at SFU (part of a national science festival), so perhaps in the morning I will do some more exploring of the wooded areas near the school. If anyone is interested in attending, my talk is at 12:30!
Isn’t it gratifying when the lessons you teach your students stick?
Antonia Musso, who was my entomology student in 2010, correctly identified this as a Stonefly (Order Plecoptera) and that they are best preserved in ethanol. She also remembered the most important lesson…Bring the cool insects to me! Adam Blake was quick on the species ID, determining it to be Pternarcys californica (family Pternarcydae). His photo is here.
Antonia and Adam wrangle the Stonefly
By the way, Antonia also has a cool tattoo!
SFU, supposedly an “architectural jewel“designed by Artur Erickson looks like a hideous Stalinist prison*, and in many ways it is. But being situated on a forested mountain means that the non-building areas are quite nice, and a great escape if you need to immerse yourself in nature.
The forests are all second growth, although a few old cedars were not chopped down. Most of the mountain is parkland.
The view down the sides of the mountain allow glimpses of Burrard Inlet, which is not as much of a toxic waste dump as you may have thought (although I would not eat the shellfish)
Out behind the Biology Buildings there are some nice wooded paths, where even on a cool February day you can find a firefly or two.
Seems like many insects were out soaking up the sun.
Spring is waiting to be sprung…Hang on spring, you will be called for in June.
This cranefly is a good example of a winter-active creature you can find out flying on a sunny day.
The weevil sunning on a railing rounds out the expedition.
And one more to show that blue skies can exist in Vancouver.
*I know, I know, I probably don’t “get” architecture. But I don’t “get” classical music either, but it still sounds nice to me. These buildings however, look like about the worst kind of ugly I can imagine.