Amphibious

Narceus millipede
Narceus millipede
Something in the toe of my shoe this morning when I put it on. A pebble, I think, but when I turn the shoe upside-down, a Narceus millipede falls out — the kind that lives under leaf duff and curls into tight spirals when disturbed. After a minute, it cautiously uncurls, rights itself and heads for a dark corner, gliding on a magic carpet of pseudopods.

Yes, it’s been damp. But so far only the north-facing roof of my house has moss on it. This is useful to know in case I ever get lost.

For weeks, thunderstorms in the late afternoon or early evening have been an almost daily occurence. This has meant not only lots of rainbows but some interesting lighting conditions as well. As I type this at 7:58 p.m., the sky is suffused with an amber glow even as rain continues to fall. I feel almost as if I’m trapped inside a glass of the ale I had before supper.

Due to all the rain, the big vernal pool at the top of the watershed is lasting much longer than usual this year — good news for the wood frog tadpoles, which have now become frogs with tails and are graduating at a steady rate. Every morning, my mom reports, there are fewer of them than there had been the day before, which presumably means they’re leaving the water under cover of darkness. It’s a relief to know that after so many springs when the pool dried up too soon, our aging population of wood frogs will finally get some new blood.

The young frogs will spread out, travelling up to several hundred meters in all directions, and make new homes in the leaf litter, preying on various arthropods, including millipedes. I wonder whether any of them will make it as far as the house.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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