Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fossorial Vertebrates

This morning I took some pictures of a couple of semi-fossorial or fossorial vertebrates that wandered into the dugout around my kitchen window.

A toad, who got stuck between two pieces of glass of my window. I rescued it and released it in the back yard.


A mole, I think, though possibly a shrew. Much more active than the toad, this one climbed out of the dugout on its own, after several failed attempts.

6 comments:

Carlo said...

I only get pigeons on my balcony... and they shit everywhere.

King Aardvark said...

All I've got is the neighbour's cat. Not interesting at all. Hell, even when I lived in a basement, all I got were thousands of spiders.

TheBrummell said...

I get pigeons (probably mourning doves, Zenaida macroura), Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), robins (Turdus migratorius), and other birds on the roof of the house and in the trees in the back yard, as well as the occassional squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Plus lots of big, black spiders, long-legged spindly spiders, very small spiders, and pillbugs (probably Armadillidium vulgare) and the occassional carabid beetle inside. The joys of basement living. I think I may qualify as "semi-fossorial".

I've been a little over-exuberant with the species names lately because I'm trying to identify the various squishy things I've been catching for dissection and genome-size measurement. The common names are basically useless - how many genera of snails are called "pond snail"? And snails are relatively well-studied! I've got some oligochaete annelids ("earthworms") in ethanol that I hope I'll be able to I.D., but I'm not very optimistic.

King Aardvark said...

Oh, you crazy naturalists and your names. Nothing more than a bunch of glorified stamp collectors anyway ;-)

Hey, can you ID those spindly lightly coloured spiders? Those damn things are everywhere, not just in my old basement apartment (where there where literally thousands of them) but in my new above ground place as well. They are damned annoying because their light colour camouflages effectively with our generic eggshell-coloured walls and ceiling. I'd like to know what I'm up against.

TR Gregory said...

Next time you sample that mole!

TheBrummell said...

Next time you sample that mole!

Jill looked at the picture and determined it's a shrew, not a mole, and told me the species name which I promptly forgot (meh, bony things). I asked her if she wanted me to capture it for her if I see it again, she said not to worry about it. Need I remind you that I lack rabies vaccination, and you'd be responsible for paying for my shots were they to become necessary?

I thought you'd be more concerned about me sampling the various arthropods I described.

Hey, can you ID those spindly lightly coloured spiders?

I will try. As soon as I find a protocol for extracting cells from spiders, I'll try to smear a few onto slides. While the total diversity of spiders (and isopods, and ants, and snails, and...) is staggeringly large, there seems to be a fairly limited number of species that inhabit indoor environments in Ontario, so I don't anticipate huge trouble finding a name.