The Marshalls Creek mastodon was excavated from a commercial peat mine in 1968. It’s been on display at the State Museum of Pennsylvania ever since, originally as a relief mount and more recently as a complete, free-standing mount. The tail was damaged while the animal was alive by a crushing and/or twisting force, perhaps in a fight with another mastodon.


Spring ephemerals are something that are here one moment then gone the next. But this year I’m fortunate because I am already seeing them pop up in North Carolina, then I get to experience them all over again when I head to northern Wisconsin in May.

Species names are in the captions. Taken this morning at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. (Still need to figure out where I can find my precious skunk cabbages around here!)


The genus Erythronium or fawn lily, trout lily, dog’s-tooth violet, and adder’s tongue, is native to Eurasia and North America. It’s in the lily family.

Erythronium bulbs are edible as a root vegetable. The bulb is cooked or dried, and can be ground into flour. The leaves can also be cooked as a leaf vegetable. In Japan, Erythronium japonicum is called katakuri, and the bulb is processed to produce starch, which is used for food and other purposes. Propagation is best by seed in autumn or by division of bulbs, depending on species. Some species propagate vegetatively.

From top to bottom:
1) Erythronium americanum
2 & 3) Erythronium albidum

4) Erythronium revolutum

** Not responsible for allergic reactions or misidentification mishaps. Consume at your own risk!

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a nasty disease.

“It’s super, super scary,” says F. Scott Dahlgren, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If you don’t treat for Rocky Mountain spotted fever by the fifth day of illness, there’s a really good chance you’re going to die,” says Dahlgren. “And it’s an ugly, ugly death, too,” he adds. “It’s a horrific thing to go through and to see a loved one go through.”

The Lone Star Tick May Be Spreading A New Disease Across America

Photo: James Gathany/CDC
Caption: The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is spreading north, carrying bacteria with it.

Trout Lily - Erythronium americanum. Watercolor on Illustration Board.

A common and beautiful woodland wildflower native to eastern North America. Named for its unique dappled leaves, the trout lily blooms in early spring and is sometimes found in huge colonies of plants that have spread via underground offsets from their bulbs.

“Striped Bumblebee Shrimp” (Ghathophyllum americanum)

a beautiful species of Gnathophyllid shrimp which boasts a very large range, that ranges from the Caribbean to the Indo Pacific, including the southern coast of Africa, India and Australia. Striped bumblebee shrimp typically inhabit tropical lagoons, bays, and coral and other reefs. Where, like other shrimp, they will scavenger for a wide range of organic materials. Due to their unusual black striped appearance, striped bumblebee shrimp have become common in the aquarium trade. 


Animalia-Arthropoda-Crustacea-Malacostraca-Decapoda-Caridea-Gnathophyllidae-Gnathophyllum-G. americanum

Image: Chad Ordelheide


Just a leafy hillside, right?

Wrong! It’s absolutely covered with these intriguing yellow flowers with mottled leaves. They were EVERYWHERE up that hillside and others by the river, but only briefly. I took these pictures around March 15th, and when I went back a week later they were all but gone. I’m so glad I went hiking that day.

I have successfully googled these, and they go by many names: trout lily, dogtooth violet, yellow adder’s tongue, amberbell: all erythronium americanum. I love them.



Carabidae (Ground Beetles)-Omophron (Round Sand Beetles)- Omophron americanum (American Round Sand Beetle) 5.3mm

Willl they bite. Yep, did I get bit Yep. Aggressive  little buggers, and amazingly fast!!!

First one I have found.

Range NF-AB to FL-AZ, Mexico

Habitat immediate vicinity of water on bare or sparsely vegetated sandy substrates, sometimes saline, at 260-2,200 m altitudes.

Season Adults Apr-Dec; copulating pairs, Apr-May; gravid females, May-Jun; teneral adults, Jul-Sep. Life Cycle nocturnal, adults take cover during the day in burrows dug in the ground; adults are gregarious, often come to lights; they also stridulate. The most common and widespread Omophron in NA


Plant of the Day
Tuesday 27 January 2015

The amazing bark of Zanthoxylum americanum (prickly ash, toothache tree)
a small tree or large shrub. Grown mainly for the trunk it has spiny young shoots with small yellowish green flowers crowded around the joints of the previous season’s shoots. The bark and fruit have a pungent acrid taste that is said to numb the mouth. Here it is underplanted by Danae racemosa
(Alexandrian laurel) which can cope well with the dry shade. I find the contrast of this planting makes me smile as the tough persona created by the tree bark is embraced by a plant often called ‘soft ruscus’ in the floristry trade.

Jill Raggett