Life on a Burr Oak

Today was a very rainy day.  I was on my own and I wanted to make the most of it.  My plan was to chase butterflies, but because of the rain and overcast conditions I thought I wouldn’t happen.  But late in the afternoon it got warmer and quit raining.  I thought I would at least try.

I went to Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve, which is a Jasper County (Iowa) park near Grinnell.  The ground was soggy, and only a few very common butterflies were flying.  So I walked around and basically got skunked with my butterfly photography.

But I stopped near a burr oak tree in the shelter area.  Since everything was still wet, the lichens (at least three species) were at their most spectacular colors.  I took some photos of some of the life forms on the trunk of this tree.


I noticed this jumping spider on the trunk.  It was somewhat active, and there seemed to be several of the same species.


Another smaller spider was present as well.


There were a couple of leafhopper species present.


The fruiting body of a fungus:


At least three species of ants, including this one:


And a snail:


I think the snail is Vallonia pulchella.

This was just an evening exercise in macro photography.  I have not taken the time to try to identify all of the organisms I saw.

Seems to me someone else (maybe Alex Wild?) recently did something similar but in a lot more depth.  I did a quick search on the internet, but did not find it immediately.

It might be cool sometime to do a biological inventory on a single tree–maybe a large oak or cottonwood–to catalog all of the organisms living on it.  Maybe some one has already done it.

Could be a project in the future, though…


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in ants, insects, invertebrates, snails and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life on a Burr Oak

  1. Wonderful project! Loved the translucent insects… probably would be completely overlooked without the macro equipment. Love your lichens and fungus photos. Such elegant beauty living together on the oak. Thank you for sharing… WG

  2. theresagreen says:

    So, some clouds do have silver linings!

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