The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations you have made of the natural world around you. Birds, bugs, moss, butterflies - you can report anything of interest going on in your natural neighborhood. All we ask is that let us know where you are located, as close as is comfortable for you.Seattle. April 10, 2014
Sometimes everything stops as you get caught up in a drama where the characters are unfamiliar and the plot makes no sense at all.
I collected water from the Wetland Pond on April 9, too impatient to wait for the monthly collection I'd planned for this project. The microscope sits prominently on my study desk now, inviting this kind of thing.
The first ten minutes were boring, just the fast little detritus eaters that tumble through the field too quickly to focus. I was about to give it up, clean the slide, and fix dinner when this popped into view.
Something appeared to be attacking something else. Note that I wasn't fast enough to get everything into focus before snapping this image, and that before the image was taken the two critters were definitely separate, and the squarish thing seemed to be trying to stab the round thing with its spike.
I clicked images for almost an hour and a half after that, adding more water when the slide began to dry out, trying to get enough details to figure out what I was looking at. Towards the end of that time I got this image, showing the posterior of the squarish thing in detail.
And that led to an internet search that went through last evening and into this morning, when I found An Image-Based Key To The Zooplankton Of North America, and a possible ID: a rotifer, Notholca foliacea.
More under the clot of orange algae --->
I haven't made an attempt to ID the round thing, mostly because I got caught up in what was happening between it and its attacker. There was such a struggle over the next hour and a half.
Notholcal would stab the round thing.
Then release it.
And yet they still seemed to be connected in some way, and would tumble around and around, over and over again, struggling.
I watched this pattern multiple times over the course of the evening. There was no resolution, and I had to eat, but before I shut down the microscope I flooded the slide with water from the sample and flushed it back into the collection container. This afternoon I poured everything back into the pond.
I still have no clue what I witnessed.
-- April 11, 2014 - The mystery might be solved. I looked up "rotifer egg case" on Google image this morning and found this picture, taken by John Moran. It's titled "Rotifer and egg; she couldn't seem to shake the egg loose."
Seattle. April 11, 2014. The rotifer Notholca sp is present in the wetland pond and seemed to have had difficulty releasing an egg.
I'll be here in the morning, then off until late afternoon. There's no need to stick to this rather arcane subject; everyone is welcome to add anything they've been witnessing in their natural neighborhood.
"Green Diary Rescue" is posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Green Diary Rescue has been good to Backyard Science, so take a minute to recommend, comment, and then link to your other off-Kos groups.