Thursday, January 28, 2010

Damage to Homes After California Rain

A stroll through the yard revealed that the recent rains affected residents in the yard even more than they affected us. Oh sure, we were concerned with diverting water and the mud flow that came down the canyon. Mud.

But this trapdoor spider had the door of her home slide down the hill and completely off her tunnel.

If you look closely, however, you can see she is connecting a new tunnel to the soggy door. Apparently, the well-constructed door is more difficult to replace than the tunnel. Rather than make a new door, she is building a new home beneath the relocated door.

Even the slightest erosion of the clay substrate reveals the soil that has been reinforced by the trapdoor spider's handiwork. Here a burrow door sticks up, slightly raised, from the surrounding level of the dirt. This spider didn't loose its home, but some of its security has been temporarily washed away. Trapdoor spiders

For both spiders the ground, and therefore the trapdoors that protect them, remain soggy and soft. With their tunnels exposed and damaged, they have suffered much more than we have from the week-long rain.

Meanwhile the green lynx spider has survived, but her offspring have not. Will she lay another egg sac? And the preying mantis eggs laid in November? They remain safe on the twig where their mother laid them.

Eight inches of rain on a southern California hillside over 6 days can be a challenge for the creatures living on that hillside. We humans tend to think only of ourselves when we are faced with challenges or discomfort. But extreme weather events can be life threatening for smaller creatures. They are directly connected to a small area of habitat. For them the ramifications of climate change are more immediate.

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