One of many very similar Agaricus, this individual was identified by its broad, persistent veil, slightly fibrous cap, and the yellow staining that appeared when the cap was rubbed and when the base of the stalk was cut.
It was found in a suburban yard near downtown Salinas.
Unlike many thistles which are introduced and invasive, Cobweb Thistle is a native species with numerous subspecies endemic to California.
California Sagebrush is one of the most common plants in the coastal sage scrub habitat along with Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) and Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis).
The Elegant Clarkia (family Onagraceae) is one of the last of the "spring" wildflowers. A small patch were found on the Fort Ord National Monument along a shaded NW facing slope.
Both male and female Fiery Skippers were seen feeding on garden flowers.
California Oak Moths (family Notodontidae) can be extremely common on the central California coast, occasionally emerging by the tens of millions where their caterpillars defoliate (but don't kill) large numbers of Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia). This appears to be another boom year for these moths with some oaks surrounded by huge fluttering swarms.
A female wolf spider, Pardosa tuoba (Lycosidae). Identification was made by collecting several specimens (M&F) and both keying them out and comparing them directly to specimens at the California Academy of Sciences.
Red flowering tree near Amtrak station in Salinas, CA. Group of Amish traveling in train wondered what it is.
This adult female was found on my front porch. It was collected and its identity confirmed through an examination of its epyginum. To my knowledge it represented the first record of this introduced European species to central California.
While hiking at Fort Ord National Monument (Coast Oak woodlands and chaparral) I saw at least half a dozen Sinuous Bee Flies (Family Bombyliidae) that appeared to be acting territorially along the sandy trails.
The species was identified by the "blob-like" dark marking near the apex of the wing.
Pelegrina aeneola is one of the most common jumping spiders in California. This adult female was found on some shrubbery in my backyard. I collected it as a voucher and confirmed its identity by looking at its fine details under a microscope.
An exceptionally dark penultimate female found under a rotting oak branch. Specimen was collected and identification made by Darrel Ubick, spider expert at the California Academy of Sciences.
Psilochorus male found under the eaves of a public restroom near the Creekview Terrace parking lot. After photographing the spider I brought it home and identified it using:
Slowik, J. 2009. A review of the cellar spider genus Psilochorus Simon 1893 in America north of Mexico (Araneae: Pholcidae). Zootaxa 2144: 1-53.
Identifying features included the shape and placement of the cheliceral spurs and details of the pedipalps. The habitat was chaparral with scattered groves of Coast Live Oak.
Found under an old pile of carpet on a bed of rotting iceplant.
All of these were found under some old bricks and fence boards in my backyard. Identification based almost entirely on location, and to a lesser degree, morphology. Three were found.
A California Racer (also known as a Striped Coachwhip) rapidly moving through low brush on the Fort Ord Public Lands. Monterey Co., CA
Very dark and skittish individual. Identified by eye color and distinctly keeled back scales.