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4141448737_dd280a71f2_s

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 02:29 PM EDT

Description

Abundant in this pool at Banias Springs. Mostly tiny little ones (~3 mm or less), but one larger one here. IDed by an IUCN naturalist as Melanopsis buccinoidea (large) & Theodoxus jordani (small). The water is cool here (it comes out of the ground at 15 C year-round).

Photos / Sounds

What

Crab Spiders Family Thomisidae

Observer

anita363

Date

October 25, 2009 12:37 PM EDT

Description

It's a little hard to parse, but (judging from this shot & others) I'm pretty sure the spider's abdomen is facing towards the right, & here the spider has twisted its cephalothorax so the palps & eyes are facing us. At any rate, the bee has obviously avoided the clutches of the 'claws' & seems to have turned the tables somehow.

I snapped a whole series of shots of this gorgeous little bee, of course never noticing the crab spider. So when I went looking thru the shots at home & got to this one, I gasped out loud: my bee had been seized by a crab spider! But no: subsequent shots showed the bee going merrily about its business. So what the heck is going on here??

A google search on "bee mandibles 'crab spider'" (more out of desperation than anything else!) turned up something in the scientific literature about bee mandibular gland secretions repelling spiders, at least temporarily -- long enough to give the bee a chance to get away, if it's lucky ( JH Cane, J Chem Ecol 12:1295, 1986; www.springerlink.com/content/hp9j7t4236822668/ ). When I have some time I'll use that as a starting point & do some more research -- anybody have any ideas or know any more about this?

This is #2 of 4 shots posted:
#1: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4430383911/ Pre-encounter
#2 www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431152726/ Encounter: bee bites spider??
#3: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431153364/ Post-encounter
#4: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431155208/ Bee from above (showing wings), spider well seen & hoping for better luck next time; & good shot showing flowers.

Posted these to BugGuide as well.
bugguide.net/node/view/379389 Behavior discussion thread started by Beatriz (mizzbee)
bugguide.net/node/view/379578 Photo #2

Bee was ID'ed by John Ascher as Augochlora pura. Couple of other interesting anecdotes posted, but nothing definitive re the behavior so far.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

anita363

Date

October 25, 2009 12:37 PM EDT

Description

It's a little hard to parse, but (judging from this shot & others) I'm pretty sure the spider's abdomen is facing towards the right, & here the spider has twisted its cephalothorax so the palps & eyes are facing us. At any rate, the bee has obviously avoided the clutches of the 'claws' & seems to have turned the tables somehow.

I snapped a whole series of shots of this gorgeous little bee, of course never noticing the crab spider. So when I went looking thru the shots at home & got to this one, I gasped out loud: my bee had been seized by a crab spider! But no: subsequent shots showed the bee going merrily about its business. So what the heck is going on here??

A google search on "bee mandibles 'crab spider'" (more out of desperation than anything else!) turned up something in the scientific literature about bee mandibular gland secretions repelling spiders, at least temporarily -- long enough to give the bee a chance to get away, if it's lucky ( JH Cane, J Chem Ecol 12:1295, 1986; www.springerlink.com/content/hp9j7t4236822668/ ). When I have some time I'll use that as a starting point & do some more research -- anybody have any ideas or know any more about this?

This is #2 of 4 shots posted:
#1: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4430383911/ Pre-encounter
#2 www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431152726/ Encounter: bee bites spider??
#3: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431153364/ Post-encounter
#4: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431155208/ Bee from above (showing wings), spider well seen & hoping for better luck next time; & good shot showing flowers.

Posted these to BugGuide as well.
bugguide.net/node/view/379389 Behavior discussion thread started by Beatriz (mizzbee)
bugguide.net/node/view/379578 Photo #2

Bee was ID'ed by John Ascher as Augochlora pura. Couple of other interesting anecdotes posted, but nothing definitive re the behavior so far.

Photos / Sounds

What

swamp aster Symphyotrichum puniceum

Observer

anita363

Date

October 25, 2009 12:38 PM EDT

Description

After doing whatever it did to the crab spider, the bee went back about its business. It stayed right on the neighboring flower head, & I couldn't believe how close it was to the spider initially (quite a bit closer than shown here) -- but with its abdomen pointed toward the spider, perhaps ready to sting.

I snapped a whole series of shots of this gorgeous little bee, of course never noticing the crab spider. So when I went looking thru the shots at home & got to this one, I gasped out loud: my bee had been seized by a crab spider! But no: subsequent shots showed the bee going merrily about its business. So what the heck is going on here??

A google search on "bee mandibles 'crab spider'" (more out of desperation than anything else!) turned up something in the scientific literature about bee mandibular gland secretions repelling spiders, at least temporarily -- long enough to give the bee a chance to get away, if it's lucky ( JH Cane, J Chem Ecol 12:1295, 1986; www.springerlink.com/content/hp9j7t4236822668/ ). When I have some time I'll use that as a starting point & do some more research -- anybody have any ideas or know any more about this?

This is #2 of 4 shots posted:
#1: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4430383911/ Pre-encounter
#2 www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431152726/ Encounter: bee bites spider??
#3: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431153364/ Post-encounter
#4: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4431155208/ Bee from above (showing wings), spider well seen & hoping for better luck next time; & good shot showing flowers.

Posted these to BugGuide as well.
bugguide.net/node/view/379389 Behavior discussion thread started by Beatriz (mizzbee)
bugguide.net/node/view/379578 Photo #2

Bee was ID'ed by John Ascher as Augochlora pura. Couple of other interesting anecdotes posted, but nothing definitive re the behavior so far.

Photos / Sounds

4273533966_ecbc37a9df_s

What

Dicots Class Magnoliopsida

Observer

anita363

Date

October 13, 2009 12:20 PM EDT

Description

The lone tree in the Siq, growing at a wider spot where the sun can reach the bottom. Interestingly, in the early to mid 19th century, the Siq was entirely choked with underbrush, at least at its upper end (see www.jordanjubilee.com/history/earlyviews.htm). This source says that the climate was wetter and there was little or no foot traffic through the Siq -- but more importantly, I think they might also have repaired the Nabataean waterworks that channel flash floods away from the Siq. If so, that would certainly account for it being much drier.

Photos / Sounds

4289823174_3f1e20567c_s

What

Dromedary Camel Camelus dromedarius

Observer

anita363

Date

October 13, 2009 12:59 PM EDT

Description

The local Bedouin offer camel rides from the Treasury back up through the Siq (that's it in the background). Posted at low res to protect privacy, as this was just a random snap from a distance.

The dromedary camel survives only in domesticated form.

Photos / Sounds

What

Domestic Horse Equus caballus

Observer

anita363

Date

October 13, 2009 02:43 PM EDT

Description

Would love to know more about the horses. They don’t look entirely like classic Arabians. Have they been bred to outside saddle stock (larger, to accommodate us fat Americans, and more even-tempered)? Or are these simply less refined local horses than the high-bred Arabian?

The little sorrel was my ride for the last 700 meters back up the hill. And when this guy saw I was able to 'drive the vehicle' myself (or, rather, fake it credibly), he let me take the reins while he put another customer up on a spare animal and led that one up the hill. This was a huge thrill for my inner teenage girl. :-) And we even got to trot a bit. These guys hustle -- he's on foot, and I'm trotting to keep up!

The horse was a joy to ride, calm and steady enough for a novice like me, but eager and highly responsive. Quite to my surprise, she proceeded entirely at my direction, rather than simply following the horse in front up the slope, as I would have expected from previous 'horseback riding' experiences. Horses that go up and down the same path all day generally tend to proceed up and down that path regardless of what the human cargo on their back might be suggesting; furthermore, horses are social animals with a strong herd instinct and have a strong desire to follow the horse in front of them. I can see why Arabians are prized the world over -- and, to give well-deserved credit to trainer as well as horse, why Bedouin horsemanship is renowned the world over.

The horseback rides go from the mouth of the Siq (slot canyon) back up to the visitor center. Once you exit the Siq, there's a parallel bridle path so the horses are safely separated from the foot traffic. (I'm sure that serves to protect both parties, as horses are easily spooked.) Horseback riders are not allowed at all in the narrow, crowded siq itself, although they do use camels and horsedrawn carriages there. It was a long, hot hike back up though the Siq. I was dehydrated & glad for the ride, even for that short distance. Besides, I got to ride a horse! Rick, who is both in far better shape than I am and far less smitten with large, sexy, dangerous animals, opted to walk.

Asking price (before negotiation, which seems to be de rigeur) is ~$10. It seemed like a lot at first for such a short ride, but I don't begrudge them the money. First of all, as our Jordanian tourguide was at pains to point out, these are the local Bedouin, whose village used to be down amongst the Nabataean tombs. It was moved by the Jordanian government, in exchange for the right to earnings from the park. And these guys hustle hard, in the desert heat, leading a horse up that slope on foot and then galloping down to pick up the next customer.

But beyond that, horses are expensive to breed, and raise, and train. Even in the US, horses tend to be a wealthy person's hobby. It must be even more costly in the desert, where food doesn't grow on trees. And it takes years to gentle a saddle horse to the point where it can be trusted with a rank amateur like me -- years of highly skilled work, drawing on a great tradition of horsemanship. So I’ve decided that these folks earn their money.

Photos / Sounds

4092000900_2bf2281b22_s

Observer

anita363

Date

October 7, 2009 08:27 AM EDT

Description

Little guy (only 13 mm long), found in daylight on the back porch. Thank you to Tristan for the ID!

Photos / Sounds

4141448737_dd280a71f2_s

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 02:29 PM EDT

Description

Abundant in this pool at Banias Springs. Mostly tiny little ones (~3 mm or less), but one larger one here. IDed by an IUCN naturalist as Melanopsis buccinoidea (large) & Theodoxus jordani (small). The water is cool here (it comes out of the ground at 15 C year-round).

Photos / Sounds

4088693750_07741603b7_s

Observer

anita363

Date

October 6, 2009 09:56 PM EDT

Description

A large, showy tiger moth at our B&B porch light. Apparently endemic to Israel, tho info on the net is sketchy.

Photos / Sounds

4151584857_c0459835ab_s

What

papiro Cyperus papyrus

Observer

anita363

Date

October 10, 2009 12:08 PM EDT

Description

Cyperus papyrus, a large sedge and the original source of paper -- i.e., where all the trouble started.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 12:48 PM EDT

Description

Hanging along with maidenhair ferns from the wall of a spring. Bonus crab spider (amazing how often you find those lurking after you get your pictures home!) -- maybe Thomisus onustus? (do those occur here?).

This site is one of the sources of the Jordan -- incredibly lush, especially after coming from the semiarid Mediterranean scrubland of the central Galilee.

Photos / Sounds

4212523734_042cf13c8f_s

Observer

anita363

Date

October 12, 2009 07:03 AM EDT

Description

Might or might not be native; it's not cultivated per se, but it's growing as part of the desert scrub on the kibbutz grounds, & they might well be experimenting with what'll grow here.

Aha! Found a Senna that looks similar. That's definitely the right neighborhood.

Photos / Sounds

What

Apple-pie Epilobium hirsutum

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 12:52 PM EDT

Description

Hanging along with maidenhair ferns from the wall of a spring.

This site is one of the sources of the Jordan -- incredibly lush, especially after coming from the semiarid Mediterranean scrubland of the central Galilee.

Photos / Sounds

4138871071_1d2dece0a0_s

What

Hemp Agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 02:10 PM EDT

Description

Eupatorium cannabinum. In the US we call similar Eupatorium species "Joe-Pye Weed". Large bushy stand by the side of a pool ( www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/4142224804/ shows the site, tho the stand itself is out of frame).

Photos / Sounds

4139617185_b9eda89c71_s

What

carob tree Ceratonia siliqua

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 01:43 PM EDT

Description

Gnarly!

Photos / Sounds

4136942159_3830ae3757_s

What

arabian pea Bituminaria bituminosa

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 11:29 AM EDT

Description

ID looks right, although www.flowersinisrael.com/Bituminariabituminosa_page.htm lists it as flowering only in the spring (but none of the autumn flowerers it lists are even close). This site is one of the sources of the Jordan -- incredibly lush, especially after coming from the semiarid Mediterranean scrubland of the central Galilee, seeing the ancient water tunnel at Megiddo, imagining women making that daily trip down rock steps cut into the sheer side of the vertical shaft and climbing back up them with a jug of water on their head. This must have seemed like Eden.

Photos / Sounds

4137793670_7f703f2b71_s

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 12:49 PM EDT

Description

In fruit too, & delicious.

This site is one of the sources of the Jordan -- incredibly lush, especially after coming from the semiarid semiarid Mediterranean scrubland of the central Galilee, seeing the ancient water tunnel at Megiddo, imagining women making the daily trip down rock steps cut into the side of the vertical shaft. It must have seemed like Eden.

Photos / Sounds

4087007153_9546420937_s

What

Mission Prickly-pear Opuntia ficus-indica

Observer

anita363

Date

October 6, 2009 04:25 PM EDT

Description

The red edible fruit of this prickly pear cactus -- prickly on the outside, sweet on the inside -- has lent its name to the native-born Israeli: sabra.

Thank you to Patrick for calling my attention to its New World origin. This is actually a pre-Columbian domesticated species. From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Fig_Opuntia#Biogeography : "Recent DNA analysis indicates that O. ficus-indica was domesticated from Opuntia species that are native to central Mexico. The plant spread to many parts of the Americas in pre-Columbian times, and since Columbus has spread to many parts of the world, especially the Mediterranean where it has become naturalized (and in fact was believed to be native by many). This spread was facilitated by the carrying of nopales on ships to prevent scurvy."

Photos / Sounds

4143066061_c3e74ae98b_s

What

black maidenhair fern Adiantum capillus-veneris

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 12:51 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii

Observer

anita363

Date

October 15, 2009 01:58 PM EDT

Description

A desert specialty commonly seen at Masada. Good view of the female. Unfortunately a little overexposed; camera was set on spot-meter, & I just got this 1 shot off. But good detail; best viewed large.

Photos / Sounds

4201633375_43c17d3492_s

What

White-spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos

Observer

anita363

Date

October 11, 2009 09:06 AM EDT

Description

Abundant around human habitation. Talented songster too; clear, fluty, thrush-like song.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

anita363

Date

October 14, 2009 07:05 AM EDT

Description

A somewhat ruffled & distinctly displeased Eurasian Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus, in the hand of Noam Weiss, ornithologist and alpha birder extraordinaire. If you are birding southern Israel, Noam is the go-to guy.

The bird, which was captured in a mist net, has been measured and fitted with a numbered leg band; it's now about to be released.

Photos / Sounds

4070469397_31d4df7704_s

What

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

Observer

anita363

Date

October 6, 2009 07:34 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

4383991564_e0bd46ac9b_s

What

Corvus cornix Genus Corvus

Observer

anita363

Date

October 20, 2009 11:42 AM EDT

Description

Abundant, intelligent & playful, these guys were very entertaining.

Photos / Sounds

4071233498_dc32c44ea0_s

What

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

Observer

anita363

Date

October 6, 2009 07:45 AM EDT

Description

Hooded Crows -- abundant in Israel, intelligent and playful. These were having fun in the stiff breeze off the sea. The object of this game shown above seemed to be trying to land and balance on the guy wire, a very challenging perch. We also saw ones in Haifa playing in the updraft near the crest of the ridge. They were carrying toys that they would drop and then recapture in midair.

Photos / Sounds

4304768453_94f23873af_s

What

Subspecies Merops orientalis cyanophrys Merops orientalis ssp. cyanophrys

Observer

anita363

Date

October 14, 2009 06:28 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

4132651232_a4e651f7fb_s

What

Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri

Observer

anita363

Date

October 9, 2009 07:53 AM EDT

Description

Not a great shot, but it's a pretty bird. Introduced species here (escapees from the pet trade), very common as you get into hill country with some trees. (And yes, there's lots of eucalyptus. It was the answer to all sorts of questions, way back when.)

Photos / Sounds

What

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

Observer

anita363

Date

October 10, 2009 11:21 AM EDT

Description

A population of these is kept in a enclosure on the nature reserve. As you can see, they create a very rich type of bird habitat! Especially good for the Cattle Egrets. :-) Also Glossy Ibis, Common Moorhen & Mallard in this shot (did I miss anything?).

Photos / Sounds

4148485705_e3ffc161a7_s

What

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Observer

anita363

Date

October 10, 2009 11:21 AM EDT

Description

A population of these is kept in a enclosure on the nature reserve. As you can see, they create a very rich type of bird habitat! Especially good for the Cattle Egrets. :-) Also Glossy Ibis, Common Moorhen & Mallard in this shot (did I miss anything?).

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