Gah, flash! Just wanted to look it up. Later...
Many thanks to Kojun Kanda on BugGuide for ID help: http://bugguide.net/node/view/624195
Continuing my ongoing series tentatively titled "Awful Pictures of Holes in the Ground," here's a trapdoor spider's trapdoor! Ok, I had a better picture of the door itself, but if you look closely here, I think you'll see a leg! Sadly, I hadn't noticed the leg when I took the picture. I was a little too busy congratulating myself on actually finding the damn door, which was only about 5 mm in diameter and looking pretty much identical to the rest of the mossy embankment it was in.
Vader never threatened anyone with his rear, though. To my knowledge.
I think this is some kind of assassin bug nymph (Reduviidae), but I'm not sure. About 1 cm long, found under a rock in a grassy meadow, near San Ramon, CA.
Another plant I should really nail down. I guess this is Fremont's camas (Zigadenus fremontii), what with its loose spike and pointed petals, but I'm not 100%.
Araneidae? Jesus, so bad... Metepeira, perhaps? This was about 0.5 - 1.0 cm in total body length. Observed in Death Valley at Salt Creek.
Sizable little man, under a rock around 4000 ft. Web was a bit chaotic, and it had just molted. Signs that it's Kukulcania: deep foveal groove, eyes clustered at center. Apparently males have these crazy long legs and palps.
Lots of this stuff growing along the roadsides. Nate has some nice shots of the whole plant.
These little fish were amazing. Note only do they live in this one salty creek in the middle of Death Valley, but they're bright, colorful, and super territorial. Too bad this was the best shot I got.
This guy was kind of gigantic, and was, in fact, chowing down when I caught him (he barfed up a grub).
Delicious grubs... Looks like I never figured out which species this is.
Pretty sure this is Phacelia crenulata Can anyone confirm from this photo? Observed on a roadside in Death Valley. Each flower was about 1 cm in diameter.
We were pretty surprised to find toads at the base of Darwin Falls. Possibly a remote population of Bufo boreas? Needs a little more research...
Looks a lot like the example of Camissonia brevipes in the desert flower guide I bought (Flowers and Shrubs of the Mojave Desert, by Bowers). It has the rounded stigma, it's in the right place, but it doesn't have the pinnate leaves described in the Peterson's guide. Then again, the Peterson's has proven itself to be kind of crap in the past.... Flower was no more than 2-3 cm in diameter, observed near the Emigrant campsite in Death Valley National Park, situated in a gravelly wash.
There are lots of paintbrushes, so I'm not even going to begin to sort out which one this is. Pretty, though.
I'm pretty positive this is Atrichoseris platyphylla. Gravel ghost is by far the coolest common name, and I don't know why anyone would use anything else after hearing it. Growing on the roadside in the wash, big long leafless stem with whorls of spiky-edged, mottled leaves at the base.
My first shooting stars of the Spring!
The were several of these seeking shelter among a neighbor's shrubbery today, alternately sunning themselves and getting blown about in the wind. My guide says they're a southern species that merely streays northward, but this is the second time I've seen them in the urban East Bay, so I begin to doubt...
Radical eyelids! Many thanks to n8 for letting me borrow his 200 mm lens.
One of the few spiders I collected (on BLM land, where it's legal). I just got it under the scope today which helped me make the ID. I'm not sure I could have done it in the field, though the curved tibiae are pretty distinctive.
Zebra-tailed Lizards are so awesome. Long toes, crazy tails, insanely fast.
Super cool little spider that uses tiny hairs to attach sand to itself for camouflage. Also, not being able to add inverts is really beginning to bug me (ahyur). I need to fix that...
Not sure what species this is, but it had these really cool projections from the flowers.
Possible in the family Desidae, but I'm not sure. Plenty of these in the amaryllis (?) in the median outside of Cheeseboard. Somewhat tangled, ladder-like webs, with retreats. I collected it for my spider biology class.
Update: Turns out it was a desid, and there's only one in the area. Noice! Also, I think there's a spelling error in my spider manual...
I need to figure out how to distinguish the White-tailed Kite from the lighter male Northern Harriers. This one had tapered wings and seemed slim overall, so I figured it was a kite, but another guy out there seemed to think it was a Harrier.
I found this wasp near a light on my house. The light was surrounded by araneid orb weavers (probably Araneus). Once the wasp got somewhat stuck, and the spider shot out to nab it, but being rather large and heavy, the wasp fell out of the web in the nick of time. This guy was pretty chunky, maybe 2-3 cm from head to the end of the abdomen.