Thursday, February 6, 2014

Walking Rain

Centipede strolling in this morning's rain.
A good rain invites centipedes out into the open instead of their usual habit of keeping hidden, moist and hunting small prey under rocks and logs, in leaf litter or underground. This one seemed quite content soaking in a puddle this morning as I was checking culverts for first-storm clogging.

Checking for snakes and newts under logs sometimes reveals other surprises, such as this centipede with newly hatched young in May. The females of some centipede species stay with their eggs to protect them from predators and lick them frequently to keep off fungi.  Sometimes they also guard the newly hatched young until they're ready to defend themselves in their dark, damp world (Ramel).
I slowed down on the drive home tonight after a somewhat drizzly day, but didn't see any newts crossing the road at the usual spot. Maybe they will start moving this weekend, I thought.

I drove onto the Dipper Ranch and as I walked back to close the second gate, I saw something dark on the ground. It was a small female coast range newt. I've never seen one close to the house before - there's no pond or creek nearby so I was surprised and glad that I didn't run her over on the dark dirt road. I helicoptered her to the other side of the drive and set her on her way wherever that is.

Female coast range newt
Three more days of rain coming up.  Any rain walkers out there up for a newt survey on Monday?

Chilopoda, The Earth Life Web, Gordon Ramel.

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