Mullet Lake - inland salt flats

Mullet Lake Park borders the St Johns River, and Mullet Lake is an oxbow between Lake Harney and Lake Jesup in northeastern Seminole County.

The park contains extensive salt flats even though the river is freshwater. Here is a map of the aquifer, which shows chloride intrusion extending inland along the St Johns River valley, which contains eastern Seminole County and Mullet Lake. (Seminole County is northeast of Orlando)

I suspect there are salt seeps in this area, which allow for salt-tolerant species to thrive next to a freshwater river. The groundwater chloride concentration according to this figure would be mesohaline (brackish).

I visited the park to check on the Eastern Pygmy-Blues I found there in 2020, and I found six individuals in different parks of the park. Their host plant are pickleweeds (Salicornia), a salt-obligate species. I also found Marl Pennant, a dragonfly that requires alkaline water, and a lot of Needham's Skimmers, which I've found to only occur in coastal, alkaline, or eutrophic waters in Florida. I expect to find Seaside Dragonlet here, but I haven't found them yet. It's interesting to see these coastal species alongside Two-striped Forceptails, a freshwater species. There also are plenty of Salt Marsh Mosquitoes here too - ha!

The highlight for me was finding a couple Brown Wasp Mantidflys (Climaciella brunnea). They are unrelated to mantids, and their mantis-like forelimbs are an example of convergent evolution.

Posted on May 30, 2022 03:47 PM by stevecollins stevecollins

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito (Aedes sollicitans)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 11:27 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Perennial Glasswort (Salicornia ambigua)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 09:45 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 09:47 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 09:41 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Jagged Ambush Bugs (Genus Phymata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 09:53 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium pseudofea)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 10:02 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 10:17 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 10:20 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Brown Wasp Mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 11:13 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Spike (Elliptio jayensis)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 11:18 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 11:22 AM EDT

Comments

Steve, awesome! I have thought I needed to do the is too. Super cool on the mantid flies, and all the rest of the details. The Forceptails I also found in the New Orleans area, close to the brackish marshes of Lake Pontchartrain, they seem to be a bit tolerant in my opinion. The interesting thing here is in spite of being absolutely coastal, the red skimmer of choose seems to be Golden-winged if my memory serves me right(things are still just starting to fly), but totally different from the mid Atlantic and further south. Anyhow, you’ve inspired me. More to follow. -Hans

Posted by hholbrook almost 2 years ago

That's awesome. I need to get back over there.

Posted by scottsimmons almost 2 years ago

@hholbrook I've found Golden-winged Skimmer to be really common on inland wetlands, and Needham's Skimmer can be really common at coastal or eutrophic wetlands, but I rarely find one in the 'opposite' habitat. Two-striped Forceptails can be common at lakes and rivers, but I haven't seen them in coastal environments. I think it would be really interesting to try to figure out the salinity (and other) thresholds for species based on known records and water quality data.

I look forward to seeing more updates from you this year.

@scottsimmons Find something good! : )

Posted by stevecollins over 1 year ago

This is great, Steve, and is likely to inspire me to share more via the journal. It will be nice to review things in this format in the future, as well. Our last decade-plus of tech upgrades has been magical, but I do miss re-reading listserve posts summarizing awesome field days and weekends out exploring. It wouldn't be a bad thing to find a nice medium to get some of that going.

Posted by billhubick over 1 year ago

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