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Daryl

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12 hours ago, amh said:

Homo sapiens var. Austrailiensis is another contender in this race to eschew sophistication.

Folks from Australia??   not any i went to school with ...Among some of the most popular, down to earth people i knew thru high school.. and family friends ( Husband, worked for a big Genetics company who played a part in unlocking the DNA code of COVID )  ..let alone all our fellow Aussie PT members..

If anything, they've been trying to understand the " peculiarities " of  specific parts of the U.S.    ..Similar places that make me scratch my head far too often.

Anyway, moving on..

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And here's yet another new species! "A New Hummingbird Was Discovered In 2017. Now There's a Race to Protect It. With its niche habitat in Ecuador under threat, the Blue-throated Hillstar was at risk from the moment it was identified":  https://www.audubon.org/magazine/spring-2021/a-new-hummingbird-was-discovered-2017-now-theres And some awesome Puya in habitat too!

 

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Bird of Prey,   ...and Aliens  ...that pray😁


Plenty hatched out successfully last spring, but many disappeared during wind events shortly afterwards. Out front yesterday morning, found one hanging out near the mailbox..  Found another while trimming the Mulberry outback later on.  Both did what Praying Mantis usually do whenever i find them ..climb around on me and the camera while relocating to safer places.  Charismatic as always..


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American Kestrel, Falco sparverius  enjoying the sunset from it's new evening perch, scouting the neighborhood for dinner.

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Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Dryobates scalaris   playing hide and seek in a neighbor's Leucanea leucocephala.. 

While they look very similar, Nuttall's Woodpecker replaces Ladder Back in coastal California, majority of the Sierra Nevada, and north of Calif.  Where the two sp. overlap in the mountains of S. Cal., a hard to distinguish hybrid can be seen.

Like Gila Woodpeckers and Gilded Flickers, Ladder Backs can be found scaling columnar cacti and utilize Saguaros for nests.


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On 11/13/2022 at 2:57 PM, Silas_Sancona said:

Folks from Australia??   not any i went to school with ...Among some of the most popular, down to earth people i knew thru high school.. and family friends ( Husband, worked for a big Genetics company who played a part in unlocking the DNA code of COVID )  ..let alone all our fellow Aussie PT members..

If anything, they've been trying to understand the " peculiarities " of  specific parts of the U.S.    ..Similar places that make me scratch my head far too often.

Anyway, moving on..

Roughly 30 years ago or so an Aussie friend of mine sent me a Mix CD with a track called Nobody Likes A Bogan. Bogans are apparently the US version of Joe Dirt. 

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On 11/28/2022 at 9:59 PM, JohnAndSancho said:

Roughly 30 years ago or so an Aussie friend of mine sent me a Mix CD with a track called Nobody Likes A Bogan. Bogans are apparently the US version of Joe Dirt. 

 

The feral man is cosmopolitan, but should be celebrated because he truly will live more than the rest of us.😃

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4 hours ago, amh said:

 

The feral man is cosmopolitan, but should be celebrated because he truly will live more than the rest of us.😃

I didn't remember much other than the chorus. I forgot how rad ska is. 

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Late- flying Tailed Orange, Pyrisitia proterpia,  or Mexican Yellow, Abaeis mexicana.   By December, majority of adults of both species would have either died out for the year, or migrated back into Mexico where it stays warmer over winter.  Abaeis boisduvaliana,  Boisduval's Yellow, looks very similar but has a slightly larger hind wing / slightly different markings.

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Duck, Duck, Goose?? ..Not quite today..

Some winter visitors:

Northern Pintail


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Ring neck Duck ..Male

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Lesser Scaup,  Female..

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Tough to get but "sleepy head" in the middle of the lake is a Ruddy Duck.. Not sure if male or female, but may be immature or in winter plumage..  Large White cheek, Black-ish cap, and stubby, pointed tail are easy visual clues to the species ( aside from the bright light blue bill ).

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Male Coots  ...being Coots.. ( They like to chase each other )

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..El' Photo Bomber.. The Greater Roadrunner.  May be a younger-aged bird since adults aren't always this approachable ( Not that this one was, lol )

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Up close and personal w/ quite the personality..

Never fails, refill the feeder hanging in the Ficus and this Male Anna's Hummingbird immediately returns to defend it from another male hanging out in the yard.   Put up a different feeder under the patio and  ..one of them..  was feeding from it within 2 hours.

Not sure if it has to do w/ it being cool out but this guy has become very accustomed to both human and Canine presence.. I can now get within 3 feet of where he sits when hanging out near the feeder without him flushing.  Putting fresh nectar in it about an hour ago, he immediately flew to it, while i was hanging it back on the tree. 

Seemed to revel in having pictures taken earlier lol..  We'll see if his cousins are as cooperative when i head back south in the spring to hang out w/ them.

Adding 2 more feeders out back, 2 or 3 out front, where shade from both the Olive and house will keep them ( and the visitors ) out of the sun..  Goal is to draw in as many of these guys  ...and gals   as i can.. +  see what less common species will show up while in the neighborhood.


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2 males at the feeder, at the same time, = a battle to come.

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Harder to capture, oddly enough, but Verdins have returned to the feeder as well.. This one Male.

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It was a little cool yesterday afternoon, with the sun obscured by clouds and a bit of a breeze.  Rather than forage for brine shrimp, these two seemed settled in for the night in Pond 14.  Must be a lot of brine shrimp in this area as it has been there favorite spot the last couple of months.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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More yard bird action...

Gotta love a Hummingbird that lets you get less than a foot away ..and doesn't flinch when a flash is used, Most of the time.

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His girlfriend??

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...he'll chase her away from the feeder too 😁

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House Finch

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Flycatcher or Kingbird.. Possibly a female ..or immature  Vermilion Flycatcher, though hard to tell for sure w/ the lighting. Female Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, ( May be becoming more common in AZ ), Immature or Female Western, Cassin's, Tropical, and a couple other Kingbird / Flycatcher sp. that occur here  also look similar.

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Pair o' Red-Tailed Hawk disappearing into the blue..

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Finally some excellent shots of the Verdin at the feeder..  I guess when it is cool out, you have to be less shy around humans when there's an ample supply of tasty sugar water to be enjoyed, lol.

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Just Warm enough out,  for a Snout.. Probably the last of the fall cycle adults..

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  • 2 weeks later...

End of '22 "Winter Birds.."

Peach/Rosy-Faced Lovebird. Hard to attract, tougher to photograph, esp. at 8am when it is 39F out.


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The lone Female Anna's Hummingbird at the feeder sneaking in for a drink.. "Dominant" male that defends the feeder likes to chase her away, along with the other male that hangs around..

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Green Heron

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Solitary Sandpiper or Willet. Solitatries are common in marshy habitat here all year while Willets are normally winter visitors.

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A typical Roadrunner encounter ..Shy and doing everything to avoid being seen..

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Toss some seed in the water and attract all the Ringnecks, and Coots nearby..

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Finally a decent picture of the immature /winter plumage / female Ruddy Duck.

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While scouting out the ponds at the park today, thought i'd come across a group of what i thought might be female Scaups or Redheads until i was able to get better looks at the shots.. Even better than getting shots of either Duck?   Finding out i got shots of Green Winged Teal.. Unless raised around people, these birds are often nervous around humans and will often flush if approached closely.  This particular pond is surrounded in thick, tall vegetation making up close viewing quite difficult.. Regardless, a lifer duck sighting..  Spectacular when puttering around in the water, unforgettable when several, ...or hundreds.. of bright green flashes explode into the air at the same time. Green bar on the wings is hidden when the birds aren't in flight or stretching.

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Northern Shoveler

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American Wigeon, both male and female

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One handsome dude..
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A little unusual when a Pied-Billed Grebe can be approached closely and not dive to get away from an assumed threat.

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Eared grebe, immature, or winter plumage. Small and not always easy to capture ( like to dive a lot )

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American White Pelican.. Odd that none hang out in any of the lakes at the park, but are numerous in some of the man-made "lakes" in some housing developments nearby..

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Posting the last picture to make a sobering point ..Where ever you fish, and  any   water-loving birds are present,   Don't be a ********* and toss broken line / tackle into the pond, lake, other body of water you're fishing at..  This is what often ends up happening..  Do the right thing, and dispose of un-usable line or hooks responsibility.   If it were warmer, i would have dove into the water to corral and untangle this unfortunate bird.

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Ever present Canada Geese touring ponds and yards around the East Valley on a nice afternoon..

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  • 2 weeks later...

Caught this ring-necked snake Diadophis punctatus (a colubrid) in my dining room area. It's smaller in diameter than a pen and about 6 in. in length. While not technically a "garden visitor" at the time, I have found them in my garden, both front and back for years.  More on this reptile:  https://animalia.bio/ring-necked-snake  They must compete with the alligator lizards for insects.

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Some how there was a spider in my greenhouse that thought it was spring and made a web! (Sorry for the bad photo)

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An Autistic 18 year old who has an obsession with Palms!

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On 9/21/2022 at 4:54 PM, steve99 said:

Most birds around here become accustomed to humans over time, but some more than others.    Bowerbirds and Pale Headed Rosella, for example, are usually quite timid and will quickly fly off as soon as they're approached.  And the other hand, Kookaburras, Rainbow Lorikeets and Sulphur Crested Cockatoo will allow you to get very close - that close they will take food out of your hand.

Not to mention the Pied Butcher Birds Steve...around here they sing for their supper to get your attention, then come and eat out of your hand 😀

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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Living in a coastal location, we see a few Sea Eagles and Ospreys in these parts... I keep missing the eagles, but managed to get this Osprey...

 

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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Edited by Daryl
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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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Eastern Water Dragons...

The last three places I've lived in had these...they like to be close to creeks and waterways...I was surprised to see them at my current place as the nearest creek is a couple of hundred metres away and is basically a concrete channel...

First photo was from a few years ago, but I love the look of how prehistoric they look!

The second photo was taken at the Botanical Gardens, thought it was funny that it was resting on a massive concrete one..LOL

 

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Edited by Daryl
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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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Nathan, thanks for the waterfowl images.  Duck and goose hunting was an integral part of the rural culture of my upbringing.  In my callow youth. while walking along the Sacramento river I absentmindedly shot a male wood duck.   I was so overwhelmed by its beauty  and so remorseful that I had killed such a magnificent bird that I never hunted waterfowl again. 

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San Francisco, California

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I have a resident Red Necked Wallaby that has decided to call my place home.

 

 

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Edited by steve99
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A pretty local moth in my yard atm....the caterpillar's are feeding on shrub in my garden, I counted 23 of the hungry critters and they have just about defoliated the plant. ( Carallia brachiata  )
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Appears to be a bit of action in the Lepidoptera world here in Leanyer Heights...
( as opposed to the Homo sapiens species at the same address.... lol )
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  • 4 weeks later...

Duck, Duck,  ...Hare??


Good shot of the immature, male Ruddy Duck i've been stalking whenever at the park this winter.


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Fuzzy shot timeAnother, fully mature Drake and female Ruddy out in the middle of the main lake. I'll get a money shot of him one of these days, lol..

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Black Tailed Jackrabbit.. #2 seen today. Usually see one on most visits. 

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On a similar note, Taking a Desert Cottontail that somehow ended up in the yard late Friday night, and my " Beast of the Congo"  may ...or may not... have killed,  after find it / chasing it   out to the desert to bury tomorrow.  First furry critter he has been able to get his paws ..and or teeth on since moving here.  ..More accurately, ever.. Since i live nowhere close to open desert, where Rabbits ending up in yards occurs fairly often,  assuming an Owl may have dropped it in the yard.  Never seen any others in either yard in all the years here in AZ. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

BLack Throated Sparrow,  Amphispiza bilineata.   Caught up with this guy out east of Florence, but a few occasionally pass through the neighborhood every so often. Common here in the Southwest U.S., Intermountain West, and most of Mexico, but may be expanding it's range toward the north and west in California, Oregon, and Washington State. Also fairly common in West / Southern Texas.

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Female Anna's Hummingbird visiting the Tropical Sage out front

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Another sure sign of Spring?, Tree Lizards are out, filling up on bugs.. No pesticides necessary.

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Fascinating to watch a 4 O'Clock moth (Dysphania fenestrata)  laying eggs on my recently stripped food source tree ( Carallia brachiata ) in the back yard.She fluttered around a dozen other species planted nearby, but obviously the food source plant was the goal.The Caterpillar's completely stripped this young plant back in late Jan/early Feb in fact I relocated the caterpillar's to a mature tree on my nature strip.Some even managed to make it to the pupate stage....

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Garden Visitors   ..The " Squirm in your chair while you sweat and shriek a little " addition..

As much as we enjoy the companty of most things that show up in the yard ..or can,  there are a few things we might not appreciate so much.  Here Scorpions are one of those things we have to deal with,  some  neighborhoods more than others..  While most Scorps native here aren't much of a worry, our native Bark Scorpions can be more concerning. While the " Notoriously deadly " reputation given is somewhat overblown, you still don't want them around anywhere you'd be hanging out.  Unlike many species, Bark Scorps have the ability to climb seemingly smooth surfaces including the walls inside homes /other buildings.. They also like to face head down which can lead to them falling on someone that startles them.

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Because they don't move around much compared with other critters, you can have a situation where someone 2 blocks over has an issue with them while you have none ..or maybe see one occasionally.  Since they prefer cool / moist places, if you water your landscape alot, you're creating the perfect microclimate for them.

Despite the Unicorn-esque fairy tale, having Palms in your yard does not mean Bark Scorpions will magically appear.  Yes, the attached boots of some slow-shedding palms can create a nice hideout for them ..and what they like to eat, but they prefer staying close to the ground vs. high in a Washingtonia for example..  Wood piles, the dark, humid confines of water meter boxes, and under larger rocks are the preferred spots.

Other, more intimidating Scorpions like the Desert Hairy will consume Bark Scorps.  While potentially hazardous if one has an allergy, the sting from a Desert Hairy is no more bothersome than a Bee sting.  Sting from a Bark Scorpion can be much more painful but it is extremely rare that it will end in anything serious. Even the worst of the symptoms a healthy person may suffer typically subside within a few days..  Despite many people being stung each year here and in New Mexico, only 2 recorded fatalities attributed to them have been recorded since 1968. The species may be turning up in / around the Los Angeles Basin / closer to the coast in San Diego and Orange Counties as well.




Another, potentially bigger hazard while working in the yard is encountering another creepy, venomous creepy crawly,  the Western Black Widow, or the other two native sp. back east.. Seeing the web of this Spider is intimidating enough.. Seeing the resident of that web would make anyone's skin crawl.. As big and ugly as they look, they're typically shy and will run and hide if you accidentally stumble into part of a web.

In recent years, another member of the Genus, the Brown Widow,  has been steadily expanding it's territory across portions of the U.S.  As creepy as this Spider may be, it's movement into traditional Black Widow territory may be a bit of a blessing as a bite from one is considered less of a hazard / less potent..  Unlike Black Widows however, Browns can take up residence in places that puts them in direct conflict with people or pets..  ...out in the open under the arm / bottom of a lawn chair, between stacks of pots, or in them.. / under a plant bench ..etc, etc...  Have found them hanging out between plants growing in full sun near the street as well..

Here in AZ, while it may have gone un-noticed for years since finding it's way here, Brown Widow occurrence in the state has only been documented since roughly the mid- 2010's,  while quickly expanding their range north in California at the same time..

I'd thought some of the Widow Spiders i've been encountering the last few years were Browns instead of younger Blacks.. Eliminating a good sized one the other night, decided to bring it's dead body inside for some closer up shots to confirm or deny my suspicion the next morning. Defining markings on the Thorax, Dark " stripes" near the leg Joints look pretty close to the main defining characteristics for the species...  Mature, female Black Widow are of course ..solid black.. Younger aged specimens can look similar to Browns, though the Thorax on them will exhibit a different patterning arrangement.


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While not nearly as dangerous as Black Widows can be, still not allowed in the yard, lol.  Unlike a Brown Recluse i thought i'd killed years ago after it tried to climb my leg while taking a shower ( in KS ), this thing did not " rise from the dead " and lunge at me when i picked it up from where i'd zapped it, nor when i placed it on the napkin for pictures..

An interesting article related to the battle of Brown vs. Black Widows:


https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/13/science/brown-widows-black-widows.html

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I can relate to the issue with scorpions. Some years back I was stung by one on the hand. The pain was intense and lasted about three days. After about a day you start to worry that you're not going to die and that the pain won't go away. None of the ones here have fatal stings as far as I'm aware. But there's always a possibility that some sensitive people could go into anaphylectic shock.

One of our locals, Hormurus longimanus

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And another Lychas armatus

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8 minutes ago, tropicbreeze said:

I can relate to the issue with scorpions. Some years back I was stung by one on the hand. The pain was intense and lasted about three days. After about a day you start to worry that you're not going to die and that the pain won't go away. None of the ones here have fatal stings as far as I'm aware. But there's always a possibility that some sensitive people could go into anaphylectic shock.

One of our locals, Hormurus longimanus

gh12120490.thumb.jpg.6604b2b901ddcb6e07f66a2c0b57a68f.jpg

 

And another Lychas armatus

sbk050906013.jpg.27df03d4951c303066e1e657aad70bb9.jpg

I've come across a few in town, but have avoided getting stung -by bigger ones at least  ...There was an incident though where i came across a baby while adjusting things in an irrigation box a couple years ago. Didn't think i got stung but a finger felt like it had been zapped by electricity, and was a bit numb for about 3 or 4 days.  I'd hate being in some of the neighborhoods here where they find dozens of Bark Scorps. on a regular basis during the summer. Those neighborhoods are usually closer to open desert, and/or Golf courses ...or newly developed areas close to open desert..

Agree, like Bees, Stinging Ants, Hornets, or Wasps, while a majority of Scorpions aren't too big of a concern, getting stung by the "harmless" ones can be a big deal if someone is allergic to the venom.  Glad we don't have the species that can supposedly squirt their venom at a threat, lol.

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22 minutes ago, tropicbreeze said:

I can relate to the issue with scorpions. Some years back I was stung by one on the hand. The pain was intense and lasted about three days. After about a day you start to worry that you're not going to die and that the pain won't go away. None of the ones here have fatal stings as far as I'm aware. But there's always a possibility that some sensitive people could go into anaphylectic shock.

One of our locals, Hormurus longimanus

gh12120490.thumb.jpg.6604b2b901ddcb6e07f66a2c0b57a68f.jpg

 

And another Lychas armatus

sbk050906013.jpg.27df03d4951c303066e1e657aad70bb9.jpg

If the pain lasted for 3 days it's likely in the buthidae genus.

 

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A few things from the canary Islands. Tried to get a photo of a few baby Mediterranean black widows (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus) but the phone camera wouldn't focus on them, since they were so small and they were on a twig blowing in the wind. Unfortunately there is no point in uploading that since it's too blurry to see anything.  

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