Daily Archives: August 12, 2014

Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

Stripped Skun by Dan DZurisin

Stripped Skunk by Dan DZurisin

Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis).  Photo by Dan Drzurisin.

Skunks don’t care that you can see their conspicuous black & white stripes. They know you are aware of there potential for spraying you with a disgusting thiol laced liquid from their anal scent glands. Bears leave them alone. But Great horned owls have no problem hunting them. This smell is apparent even when you drive over a skunk carcass in the road. They are frequently the victim of vehicles because their sense of sight is so poor. Nevertheless, they have excellent senses of smell and hearing. They even make good pets. Skunks eat insects, larvae, earthworms, grubs, lizards moles, eggs and small rodents. They can even eat bees since their thick fur protects them from stings. The eastern spotted skunk has whites spots instead of strips and is rare in Kansas.

Sierra Club challenges loss of ozone pollution monitor in Flint Hills.

Here is an excerpt from Tim Carpenter of the Topeka Capital-Journal who wrote about the topic on August 11th (2014).

“The Sierra Club in Kansas asserted Monday that Kansas State University and the state’s health regulatory agency sought the shutdown of an ozone pollution monitoring site near Manhattan to block collection of data that might support federal limits of Flint Hills grassland pasture burns.

Air-quality equipment positioned on the Konza Prairie was taken offline April 5, 2013, in advance of the burn season after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment urged Kansas State, which manages the Konza, to help silence gear that had collected ozone information for more than a decade.”

To read the rest of the article, visit:



Katydid (Pterophyla camellifolia)

Katydid. Photo from  http://www.leaps.ms

Katydid. Photo from http://www.leaps.ms

Katydid (Pterophyla camellifolia) Photo from http://www.leaps.ms

The katydid’s wings resemble a leaf that operates as excellent camouflage in the tops of deciduous trees (especially Oak & Hickory) where they spend most of their lives. They can only fly short distances. They eat leaves, flowers, bark and seeds but some species are omnivorous and also eat other insects. In Kansas they are found mostly in the eastern third of the state.

Its “Katy-did, she-did” chirping is created by the male rubbing its wings together (stridulation). The male uses wingstrokes to rub a scaper on the base of one front wing over a file on the base of the other front wing. They are capable of hearing through a tympanum located just below the knee on their front leg.

Before dying in the early frost of October or November, the female lays rows of dark grey, oval-shaped eggs on vegetation.

The eggs survive the winter and hatch in the spring. The young are similar to adults but have less-developed wings. They begin chirping around July. Although they resemble grasshoppers, katydid are more closely related to crickets. Katydids have much longer antennae than grasshoppers.