Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Book Shelf

One of my favorite things to do is to take a jar full of water from a local stream, pond, or lake and examine all the tiny critters that make a living right under our noses; yet we rarely take notice of them.

Most of the tiny creatures are difficult to identify but with some practice and a good field guide the hidden wonder of your local wetland will be revealed.

One of the best fieldguides that I have found is A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America by J. Reese Voshell, Jr. This book does an outstanding job with detailed drawings, helpful size charts, and detailed life cycle information.

Because most of the aquatic creatures that are found in wetland waters metamorphose 2 or more times during their life cycle it can be difficult to identify a specimen in a juvenile stage without this informative and helpful reference.

The best time of the year to explore a jarful of water is in early spring. If you're lucky you can find mayfly or dragonfly larva ready to hatch. As the year progresses into summer, the population in the water changes with the season and more aquatic beetles, scuds, and even mosquito larva will be present.

With a copy of A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America,  you'll be able to identify them all. Happy hunting.   

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