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  • What am I shows a tiny creature that I saw under some moist leaf litter near Mendenhall Lake.
  • I sent the photo to BugGuide Net and Bugs and Plants of Alaska and learned that it is a fly larva, probably from the Family Fanniidae
  • For interesting and fun information about them look at /sites/default/files/Fanniidae.pdf
  • Bald Eagle Eating a Bird shows one eating a small whitish bird in Juneau on November 27, 2021.
  • I could not tell for sure what species of bird it was eating. The only two whitish birds that visit this area are Bufflehead Ducks and Marbled Murrelet. 
  • It appears to be a murrelet.
  • Beaver working on a Cottonwood Tree in the Snow was taken in Juneau, Alaska.
  • This beaver worked for one hour and 21 minutes on this cottonwood tree. It started about 2 a.m. in the morning. There was about a foot of new snow on the ground and the temperature was about 30 degrees.
  • Why do Snow Midges emerge in Winter shows them near Nugget Falls in Juneau, Alaska.
  • A stream flowing from beneath a glacier is a very inhospitable place for life. Compared to others, glacier-fed streams are very fast, very muddy, and very cold. Like the water, some portion of the streambed is in constant motion as boulders, cobbles, and gravels shift and roll downstream. The places were life might live – on the surfaces of rocks and the spaces between them – are unstable and unpredictable. Despite the harsh nature of a glacial stream, a few well-adapted species not only survive, but thrive in these conditions. One of them is an insect, a nonbiting midge called Diamesa. Diamesa are true flies. Females lay eggs on wet rocks at the edge of the stream. Larvae hatch from eggs as elongate, worm-like creatures with hard heads and soft bodies. Lacking true legs, they cling to rocks using short appendages equipped with hooks. Larvae transform into pupae and the pupae transform into adult flies that somewhat resemble mosquitos. •
  • Diamesa is often the first animal to colonize streams exposed by retreating glaciers. •
  • The glacier-fed streams where they live may only reach 36 F by late summer.
  •  Near glaciers Diamesa feed mainly on a thin film of microbes scraped from the surfaces of rocks.
  •  Diamesa is often the sole inhabitant of the upper reaches of glacial streams.
  •  Larvae have unusually long appendages which help them cling to rocks in high-velocity water
  •  As glaciers melt and retreat, streams get clearer, warmer, and more stable allowing other insects to out compete and replace Diamesa.
  •  By shedding water and producing sugars for antifreeze, larvae can survive winter frozen in ice
  •  While most adult midges have wings and take part in mating swarms, some adult Diamesa have reduced wings or no wings at all.
  •  Some Diamesa emerge from streams as adults in mid-winter; mating may take place under shelf ice or shoreline rocks
  •  Adults can be seen walking on glaciers at temperature down to 3 F. When held in a warm hand, these adults will quickly die.
  • Snow Sedge shows one walking on the snow in Mendenhall Glacier area in Juneau, Alaska on December 5, 2021.
  • The snow sedge Psychoglypha subborealis.
  • Sedge flies, or caddisflies, belong to the insect order Trichoptera and are best known for the portable cases constructed by the aquatic larvae of most species. The cases provide camouflage, safety from predators, and a place to transform into the adult form. Adult caddisflies are moth-like with hairy wings that are held like a pitched roof over the body. Most adult caddisflies emerge from the water in spring or summer, mate, lay eggs, and die before fall; the next generation overwinters in the egg or larval stage. The few species that overwinter as adults are called snow sedges and may be seen crawling on snow in subfreezing temperatures. ·
  • Dr. George Roemhild noticed adult snow sedges at the bottom of holes in the snow, their dark wings having absorbed the sun caused them to melt out of sight. ·
  • Snow sedge larvae are commonly found in water bodies that shrink in size or dry up during winter.
  • Caddisflies that use temporary water bodies usually have egg masses that are protected from desiccation by a skin. Snow sedge egg masses lack an outer skin and must remain in water for the egg and newly hatched larvae to survive. ·
  • The overwintering snow sedge adult may be an adaptation for keeping the eggs safe (inside the female) from desiccation or freezing until they can be laid the following spring. · The snow sedge Glyphopsyche irrorata lives for up to 9 months as an adult, 9 times longer than the typical caddisfly.
  • Looking for Snow Midges at Nugget Falls shows Diamesa midges as adults and larvae.
  • A stream flowing from beneath a glacier is a very inhospitable place for life. Compared to others, glacier-fed streams are very fast, very muddy, and very cold. Like the water, some portion of the streambed is in constant motion as boulders, cobbles, and gravels shift and roll downstream. The places were life might live – on the surfaces of rocks and the spaces between them – are unstable and unpredictable. Despite the harsh nature of a glacial stream, a few well-adapted species not only survive, but thrive in these conditions. One of them is an insect, a nonbiting midge called Diamesa.
  • Diamesa are true flies. Females lay eggs on wet rocks at the edge of the stream. Larvae hatch from eggs as elongate, worm-like creatures with hard heads and soft bodies. Lacking true legs, they cling to rocks using short appendages equipped with hooks.
  • Larvae transform into pupae and the pupae transform into adult flies that somewhat resemble mosquitos. 
  • Diamesa is often the first animal to colonize streams exposed by retreating glaciers. • The glacier-fed streams where they live may only reach 36 F by late summer. 
  • Near glaciers Diamesa feed mainly on a thin film of microbes scraped from the surfaces of rocks. 
  • Diamesa is often the sole inhabitant of the upper reaches of glacial streams. 
  • Larvae have unusually long appendages which help them cling to rocks in high-velocity water 
  • As glaciers melt and retreat, streams get clearer, warmer, and more stable allowing other insects to outcompete and replace Diamesa. 
  • By shedding water and producing sugars for antifreeze, larvae can survive winter frozen in ice 
  • While most adult midges have wings and take part in mating swarms, some adult Diamesa have reduced wings or no wings at all. 
  • Some Diamesa emerge from streams as adults in mid-winter; mating may take place under shelf ice or shoreline rocks 
  • Adults can be seen walking on glaciers at temperature down to 3 F. When held in a warm hand, these adults will quickly die.
  • Goats in Juneau, Alaska by Richard Carstensen shows the behavior and habitat of goats near the city of Juneau from September 1 to December 28, 2021.
  • For more information about Juneau's Goats and great information about nature in Juneau go to http://juneaunature.discoverysoutheast.org/

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