Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 6, 2010

Blog hiatus whilst brothers here

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:31 am
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Adieu for now -- Kathryn (r) with friend Sara (l)

Tomorrow my three beloved brothers arrive, driving straight through from the midwest to spend a week adventuring with me. It’s been about a quarter century since we’ve gotten to spend protracted time together, so we are all looking forward to it greatly. We aim to be far off the beaten path. I guarantee that I shall not be blogging during this time; none of our campgrounds have electricity or internet.

Looking further ahead, my time at Arches is drawing to a close and I must check out of housing this afternoon. My next assignment, up at Canyonlands NP, doesn’t start for several weeks. Be advised that my blogging until then will be non-existent or very intermittent, depending on what I decide to do in the interim.

Thank you for joining me on my adventures thus far. I hope you’ll return in early June for the next installments! It will be a whole new world up there, and I’ll look forward to having you along for “Ranger Kathryn’s Island in the Sky.”

Tent-making caterpillars

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:05 am
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Writhing mass of adult tent caterpillars in their silk pod

Here’s a photo NOT for the easily-grossed-out, and you know who you are. It’s the destructive larvae of certain moths, all rolled into a fist-sized bundle of squishy goodness, surrounded by their night shelter of very strong silk. It took me and a stick about three minutes to break one tent open for inspection, so that is powerful stuff they spin.

Silken pods were glued to many branches of every cottonwood. Tent-making caterpillars defoliate portions of the tree but do not kill it. Birds that feast on these caterpillars are less frequently found here now, due to habitat fragmentation.  (Insert frowny face here.)

Up an idyllic side canyon off of Horseshoe. Maybe there is rock art there, too...

According to Wikipedia, tent caterpillars can detect vibrations at the frequency of wing beats of one of their natural enemies. Wow. My question is: what do they then DO about it?!?

And, finally, your most fascinating caterpillar fact for the day: they have 4ooo muscles! (Humans have 629.)

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