Life in a Vernal Pool

We have a temporary wetland on our property.  The water is not very deep–three inches at its deepest.  It’s really just clumps of grass with water in between.  The area is enough of a wetland to attract frogs, but it will dry up rapidly if we go a week or two without rain.

I got about a cup of water from the wetland the other day and was surprised at the amount and variety of life in it.

There were three small aquatic snails (family Planorbidae) in the cup of water that I collected.  How did they get there?  The area is high enough it doesn’t get flood water from somewhere else.

Here we have a snail and an ostracod below the surface of the water, and a springtail resting on the surface.

Here we have a number of springtails clinging to a floating leaf.  The springtails are able to stay on the water without breaking through the surface film.

Here is a mosquito larva, an ostracod or seed shrimp, and a copepod.  In addition, I saw a beetle larvae  and some kind of red mite.  The ostracods were particularly numerous and were represented by several distinct sizes and different color patterns.  Whether that meant they were different species or just different ages of individuals I don’t know.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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