Saturday, March 7, 2015

18.08% of the time elapsed - 35.1% of the species count done!

Of course, the number of species is always fluctuating. Not a week goes by without my deleting, adding, or changing a species name from the (so far) 461 observations I logged with

It's been a good few weeks for mollusks, with 59 species so far!!!!

An outstanding mollusk seen since the last blog post is the orange peel nudibranch, Tochuina tetraquetra:

Orange peel nudibranch - Tochuina tetraquetra - Sitka, AK
Brooke also found an American three-toed woodpecker on Kruzof (three-toed woodpeckers are rare in the Sitka area):

American three-toed woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis - Kruzof Island, AK

The day after the three-toed woodpecker, we saw hundreds of harbor porpoises. Usually if we see a lot of porpoises in Southeast, they are Dall's porpoises. Yes - the black dots in the background are also porpoises!

Harbor porpoise, Phocoena phocoena - South of Kruzof Island, AK

There were also some good news in the tunicate side of things. So far I have seen 16 species of tunicates, including two species I hadn't found before (Styela yakutatensis and Didemnum albidum), and two specimens of this amazing parasitic flatworm inside the solitary ascidian Corella willmeriana (you can see its ventral surface through the tunic of the individual in the left side of the picture):

Eurylepta leoparda, a parasitic flatworm in tunicates, inside Corella willmeriana. Jamestown Bay, Sitka, Alaska

Platyheminthes, parasitic in ascidians, Eurylepta leoparda
I also got to 22 mosses and four liverworts, from almost none of either group, mainly thanks to Matt Goff. Matt went on a short walk with me to show me some common mosses, and gave me detailed instructions on how to find a few more species. Also, Kari Sagel loaned me her dissecting microscope for the year, which helps me take diagnostic photos of mosses, such as of this Rhytidiadelphus loreus from Starrigavan Valley:

Rhytidiadelphus loreus - Sitka, Alaska

And thanks to Brooke, too, of course!