This is Cicindela limbalis, the green-margined tiger beetle. It’s very similar to the purple tiger beetle, Cicindela purpurea, which shares much of its range. The curve of the middle spot/stripe is more sharply angled in the former, like in this specimen.
C. limbalis prefers moist, steep clay soil, like that found near lakes and rivers. This is why it is also known as the common claybank tiger beetle. C. purpurea prefers upland habitats, forest clearings, and places with shale-based soil. This one, and many like it, was found at Sweet Briar Lake in Morton County, North Dakota.
Olympic Mountains From Seabeck, Washington
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In a setback to the US government’s long-running policy of converting abandoned railroads into public trails, the supreme court on Monday ruled for a Wyoming property owner who objected to a plan to extend a pathway across his land. In a decision that could affect similar cases across the United States, the court ruled on an 8-1 vote that the right-of-way across Marvin Brandt’s land that was established by a railroad was extinguished when the railroad was later abandoned.
As a result, the US forest service cannot build a public trail along a half-mile stretch of the railroad that crosses Brandt’s land in Fox Park. The land is in the Medicine Bow national forest, about 40 miles (64 kms) west of Laramie, Wyoming.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion that the decision “undermines the legality of thousands of miles of former rights of way that the public now enjoys as means of transportation and recreation”. She said the court’s decision could lead to more expensive litigation over other trails, including compensation claims filed by landowners.
The railroad in question, the Laramie, Hahn’s Peak and Pacific Railroad Co, was 66 miles (106 kms) long, running from Laramie to the Colorado border. The line was formally abandoned in 2004, prompting the government to seek title so it could transform the land into a trail, as it has done to former railroads throughout the country since the 1980s. There is currently a 21-mile (34-km) trail that includes a detour around Brandt’s property.
The Rails to Trails Conservancy, which backed the government in the case, had previously said a ruling for Brandt could affect popular trails, including the George S Mickelson Trail in South Dakota and the Rio Grande Trail in Colorado. There are currently about 20,000 miles of so-called rail trails, according to the conservancy. Some, including those that run through federally-owned land, would not be affected by the decision.
More than two dozen Democratic Senators signed on to participate in an all-night session of speeches on climate change which was scheduled to run from about 6.30pm on Monday night to the start of the working day on Tuesday.
It is not a filibuster, unlike September’s marathon speech against Obamacare by the Texas Republican Ted Cruz. The senators conceded that a climate bill in this Congress would almost certainly fail.
“Tonight is not about a specific legislative proposal,” said Sheldon Whitehouse, from Rhode Island and one of the leaders of the speech marathon.
“We have got a little bit more work to do to open up the political space on this. I think if we want immediately to a vote we wouldn’t be successful,” he told a conference call with reporters. “If we make this an issue in 2014, if we make this a debate that Republican presidential candidates have to address, I think we can do that.” For the moment, however, Whitehouse conceded: “It would be premature.”
André Rebouças (1838-1898) was a renowned Brazilian engineer, writer, and abolitionist and one of the founders of the Brazilian Anti-Slavery Society. Born a free man in Bahia, he was educated in Brazil’s military academy and served in the army during the Paraguayan War (also known as the War of the Triple Alliance). He eventually became well-known in Rio de Janeiro, then the country’s capital, for solving a problem regarding the city’s water supply.
Rebouças was active in the abolitionist cause, founding the Brazilian Anti-Slavery Society alongside Joaquim Nabuco (who went on to become Brazil’s ambassador to the US) and José do Patrocínio (a renowned abolitionist who was also of African descent). He followed the deposed Emperor Pedro II into exile in Europe following the 1889 coup d’état which abolished the Brazilian monarchy, and settled in the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon. There he worked as a journalist for local and international newspapers, including the Times of London. He then spent some time living in the city of Luanda in West Africa (present-day Angola), before ending his days in Funchal, Madeira, where he is said to have committed suicide at age 60 in 1898.
…is an unusual species of deep sea Ulamarid jellyfish that is typically found in Antarctic and near-Antarctic seas. However, D .engimatica has also been spotted in waters near the United Kingdom, at depths of 829 to 1830 meters. D. engimatica has a very thin and wide bell (60cm/23in) and lacks prominent tentacles. Instead of using tentacles to capture its prey D. engimatica engulfs its prey within its sheet-like bell which is lined with a web of vein-like channels which distribute nutrients throughout its body.
I am deeply emotionally invested in this post.
In the 1980s, moose numbered about 4,000 in the northwest part of the state; today, there are about 100. In Northeast Minnesota, the population has dropped by half since 2006, to 4,300 from more than 8,800. In 2012, the decline was steep enough — 35 percent — that the state and local Chippewa tribes, which rely on moose meat for subsistence, called off the moose hunt. The mortality rate rebounded slightly this year, but moose continue to die at twice the normal rate to sustain a population. Researchers elsewhere, along the southern edge of moose territory in New Hampshire and Montana, are also beginning to notice declines in the animals’ numbers.
Seth Moore, a wildlife biologist in Grand Portage, theorizes that recent years of warmer, shorter winters and hotter, longer summers have resulted in a twofold problem. The changing climate has stressed out the moose, compromising their immune systems. And warmer temperatures have allowed populations of white-tailed deer, carriers of brain worm — which is fatal to moose — to thrive. Still, “I’m not necessarily convinced that brain worm is the silver bullet that’s killing all of the moose,” Dr. Moore said. “There are a number of different issues.”
Michelle Carstensen, who is leading a $1.2 million moose mortality study by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that is now in its second year, has been trying to pinpoint an underlying cause. Dr. Carstensen’s team has captured and collared more than 200 moose, outfitting them with GPS devices that beam the animals’ coordinates and temperature data every few hours.
Yet the data coming back have been anything but conclusive, and Dr. Carstensen said that even if it can be confirmed that climate change is to blame, there may be little to be done. “If we can really pinpoint the overlying cause, then can we even do anything about it?” she said. “Or are we really just documenting a species on its way out of our state?”
The strongest explanation for why the wolves have made less of a difference than we expected comes from a long-term, experimental study by a research group at Colorado State University. This study, which focused on willows, showed that the decades without wolves changed Yellowstone too much to undo. After humans exterminated wolves nearly a century ago, elk grew so abundant that they all but eliminated willow shrubs. Without willows to eat, beavers declined. Without beaver dams, fast-flowing streams cut deeper into the terrain. The water table dropped below the reach of willow roots. Now it’s too late for even high levels of wolf predation to restore the willows.
A few small patches of Yellowstone’s trees do appear to have benefited from elk declines, but wolves are not the only cause of those declines. Human hunting, growing bear numbers and severe drought have also reduced elk populations. It even appears that the loss of cutthroat trout as a food source has driven grizzly bears to kill more elk calves. Amid this clutter of ecology, there is not a clear link from wolves to plants, songbirds and beavers.
Still, the story persists. Which brings up the question: Does it actually matter if it’s not true? After all, it has bolstered the case for conserving large carnivores in Yellowstone and elsewhere, which is important not just for ecological reasons, but for ethical ones, too. It has stimulated a flagging American interest in wildlife and ecosystem conservation. Next to these benefits, the story can seem only a fib. Besides, large carnivores clearly do cause trophic cascades in other places.
But by insisting that wolves fixed a broken Yellowstone, we distract attention from the area’s many other important conservation challenges. The warmest temperatures in 6,000 years are changing forests and grasslands. Fungus and beetle infestations are causing the decline of whitebark pine. Natural gas drilling is affecting the winter ranges of migratory wildlife. To protect cattle from disease, our government agencies still kill many bison that migrate out of the park in search of food. And invasive lake trout may be wreaking more havoc on the ecosystem than was ever caused by the loss of wolves. When we tell the wolf story, we get the Yellowstone story wrong.