Archive for the 'Invertebrates' Category

Citizen Scientists Take Biological Inventories

Monday, March 21st, 2016
Getting up close and personal with Texas critters.

Getting up close and personal with Texas critters.

This is Passport to Texas

With the help of biological inventory teams of citizen scientists, Texas Parks and Wildlife monitors plants… herps…

Which are the amphibians and reptiles…

…birds and invertebrates…

…and that would mainly be: butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, bumblebees and such….

…in Texas’ 8 wildlife districts; Biologist Marsha May oversees the program. She says she’s recruiting experts statewide to join these monitoring teams.

Mostly, we’re looking at hobbyists; people who have joined herp societies. They know their herps. As well as birders. There’re people involved in Audubon Society that know their birds. So those are the types of people [as well as those with expertise in native plants and invertebrates] that we’re looking for, for these projects.

These biological inventory teams will monitor species on private land.

So, my plan is to start with organizing teams throughout the state. And once we get good, solid teams in place, then we’re going to go out there and open it up to the landowners, and let them know that these teams are available to come and do surveys on their property.

Knowing what’s on the land helps landowners become better stewards. Find out how to volunteer when you log visit the Nature Trackers page on the TPW website.

Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Benefits of Scorpions

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
Scorpion on leaf litter.

Scorpion on leaf litter.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas boasts a fair number of scorpion species.

06— There are about 18 species in Texas. Depending on where you’re at – you may have more or less.

Ben Hutchins is an invertebrate biologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

10— In all of Texas, we don’t have scorpions that are considered life threatening. As with any animal that has venom, there’s always the possibility of an allergic reaction.

To healthy non-allergic people a scorpion sting may simply cause short-term discomfort. In nature, scorpions are highly beneficial.

23— Scorpions are predators, and so they feed on a variety of potential pest organisms. Some scorpions also feed on other scorpions, so they do have an important role in the environment potentially controlling pest populations…insects…spiders…other arachnids. There’s also potential medical utility for scorpions as well – using venom to treat medical conditions.

Therefore, if a scorpion inadvertently wanders into your home some evening while foraging…

12— There’s really no cause for alarm. What I usually do is use a cup [and place it over the scorpion and use a] piece of paper that you kind of slide under there to pick up the scorpion. And then you can just remove it and put it in an area where it can do its business.

That’s our show…For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Scorpions: Cool or Creepy

Monday, September 14th, 2015
Scorpion in Texas

Scorpion in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

I find scorpions in my house from time to time. With their crablike pincers and barbed tails, they’re scary little guys.

04— I think we have a natural reaction to anything with different body morphology.

Ben Hutchins is an invertebrate biologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says scorpions dwell in a wide variety of habitats.

03— Pretty much any habitat except Alpine environments.

Although we have several species this arachnid in Texas, Hutchins says we’re not likely to run into them.

18— Usually, we don’t run into them that often because they’re mainly active at night; during the day they’re usually hiding under rocks, under logs – deep in leaf litter as well. So, we don’t run into them a lot, except when perhaps we’re in the yard gardening, or they might wander into our house at night.

Why do they come into our homes?

08— It’s not really intentional; during their foraging, they might see a crack under your door as just another crevice that they’ll be traveling through in search of prey.

Once they’re inside, they could make themselves comfy.

08— If you have a room with the lights off and lots of boxes – places to hide – that mirrors their natural environment with lots of secure hiding place for them.

How scorpions are beneficial in the environment. That’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.