And no birds sing
August 30, 2014 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles. The decline of birds might have something to do with this recent news that half the insects (and spiders, crustaceans, slugs, worms) are gone.
posted by sfenders (61 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Windshields. :/
posted by sexyrobot at 12:35 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't quite understand. If birds eat invertebrates, wouldn't their decline mean that there should be more invertebrates around?
posted by pravit at 12:37 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


The decline of birds might have something to do with this

Eh? Birds eat invertebrates. If anything fewer birds should mean more bugs. The decline in birds is due to the same factors as the decline in invertibrates, which the article spells out:

The decrease in invertebrate numbers is due to two main factors – habitat loss and climate disruption on a global scale.

posted by Sys Rq at 12:40 PM on August 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sorry for the wording; if birds eat invertebrates, the lack of food might mean fewer birds around.
posted by sfenders at 12:42 PM on August 30, 2014


That would make more sense, but it isn't really supported by either article.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't had any orb spiders for 2 years now. They used to be everywhere. And where did June bugs go? Been about 20 years since I have seen one. Also, i have LOTS of wildflowers and have seen very few bees this year.
posted by futz at 12:56 PM on August 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


:(
posted by The Whelk at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, i have LOTS of wildflowers and have seen very few bees this year.

Neonicotinoids are likely to blame for a lot of that, though the agricultural industry will fight to the last bee to say otherwise.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:09 PM on August 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


But there have been bees in years past. These flowers self seed and come back every year. That is why it is alarming.
posted by futz at 1:22 PM on August 30, 2014


Well, swarming termites seem to be doing well. Fuckers get through my screen.
posted by birdherder at 1:22 PM on August 30, 2014


The decline in birds could very much result in declines of the things they eat. This is broadly described as "top down control": birds may selectively consume some highly competitive invertebrates in an ecosystem allowing less competitive invertebrates to survive. In the absence of the birds, these highly competitive species may choke out the less competitive ones. This is a particularly likely scenario when you consider than many of the species that become less competitive when birds are absent are those that have costly adaptations to protect them from predation by birds. In general, when you radically change the ecosystem, many of the organisms that have finely tuned adaptations to the previous conditions will be maladapted to the new context. This isn't sophisticated logic, but it should underscore why it's absurd to think that removing an organism's predators can only benefit its growth.
posted by Buckt at 2:29 PM on August 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
β€˜Til it's gone
posted by arcticseal at 2:31 PM on August 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


Pesticides linked to bird declines: "Researchers posit that the pesticide affects these birds by killing off their bug food supply."
posted by sfenders at 2:44 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, as long as the Q3 P&L is looking good, who needs 'em?
posted by briank at 2:45 PM on August 30, 2014 [10 favorites]


This.

I haven't had any orb spiders for 2 years now. They used to be everywhere. And where did June bugs go? Been about 20 years since I have seen one. Also, i have LOTS of wildflowers and have seen very few bees this year.

At the house we've owned in Long Beach, just north of Seal Beach in SoCal, the drop off in insect life has been astonishing. Ten years ago we'd have a June bug breech the screens at least once a night. And the stone wall outside the kitchen would be populated with crickets, again one of which (whom?) would have made it indoors. Starting the next year there were maybe ten June bugs for the whole season, and thereafter none. Likewise there are no crickets on the wall most nights throughout the year. I used to love sitting on the patio and watching the sparrows and doves and the occasional hawk on our lawn, and they've been gone at least as long as the bugs.

Anybody know what's up? It was a drastic drop, not just a few less each year, but a real turning point.
posted by carping demon at 2:46 PM on August 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oho. I wonder if this has anything to do with why my wife was always nagging me not to dump my pipe ashes in the flower beds. Great. See also, http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/imidagen.html
posted by carping demon at 2:50 PM on August 30, 2014


I mean also
posted by carping demon at 2:58 PM on August 30, 2014


.
posted by the Real Dan at 3:13 PM on August 30, 2014


Things like june bugs and crickets go in cycles. About once a decade around here crickets are so thick that there are literally drifts of them a foot deep in parking lots. It smells terrible. We had a lot of june bugs 2 years ago too and not much since - I suspect that in these parts it's due to drought, they grow as grubs under your grass. Although also... we put out pesticide to kill grubs.

I think there's good reason to believe that bug populations are dying. But you probably should not rely on your personal recollection of the last few years to decide what's actually going on. True patters are hidden the noise you actually observe.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:30 PM on August 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


One thing is certain: people don't let enough wild into their yards. Stop using pesticides and herbicides. Plant native flowers. Let some weeds grow. Don't kill insects or spiders. Leave the wreckage of this year's garden to decay into next year. Every little garden makes a difference.
posted by pracowity at 3:31 PM on August 30, 2014 [14 favorites]


In case it wasn't clear, I don't mean to say that invertebrate declines can't cause the decline of birds, just that it can go both ways. In general, it's impossible to predict what effect changing an aspect of an ecosystem, as every possible result has probably been theoretically demonstrated or seen in other situations.
posted by Buckt at 3:41 PM on August 30, 2014


Quite alarming
posted by Meatafoecure at 4:12 PM on August 30, 2014


Lightening bugs/ fireflies. They used to be numerous every summer (in Georgia). Less and less, then after a few years ago when we had a big drought - nothing. 2 years later they came back a bit last year, but I haven't seen any this year. :-(
posted by mkim at 4:59 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Birds, on the other hand, seem to be thriving in our yard. I recently purchased a guide to try and identify all of the interesting and beautiful birds outside my window. Of course, always wary of the Hawk family that also likes to summer here.
posted by mkim at 5:10 PM on August 30, 2014


Chilling, heart breaking and totally outrageous. The idea that, for planet earth, we humans really have become a life threatening cancer is not a metaphor. It is a horrifying fact. And the irony is that we are also killing ourselves off. It's just that, as a species, we are too stupid, too self-centered and too lazy to notice or care.
posted by chance at 5:20 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Has anyone read the paper? The UCL press release is terrible in terms of the actual content, and I'm struggling to understand what the paper says (although whatever it says is pretty plainly nightmarish). In particular, what does the following sentence from the abstract signify?

"67% of monitored populations show 45% mean abundance decline."

Did the other 33% hold steady? Increase? Are we only(!) seeing a terrifying loss of biodiversity or are we also seeing a loss of invertebrate biomass?
posted by howfar at 5:22 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just goes to show you... you have to have backbone to survive in this world.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:29 PM on August 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sparrows. I used to see flocks of them here in Australia. They were everywhere. You'd have a railway bridge, and the ground under it would be white with their droppings. I've probably seen one of them in the past year. Googling "where have the sparrows gone" gets lots of hits, from all over the world.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:07 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Our frog is being boiled. There's no stopping this.
posted by Joe Chip at 6:07 PM on August 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


I feel a sense of regret when some species go into decline and sometimes go extinct, because it offends my aesthetic sense of biofilia, but that's just my personal feelings.

In the overall scheme of things, our human existence on this planet is just an interesting little footnote in one of the latest waves of our study of Paleontology, where various cohorts of species rise and fall.
posted by ovvl at 6:18 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did the other 33% hold steady?

I believe the 67% refers to how many species were left after they excluded from their index of invertebrate abundance those for which some monitoring existed but didn't provide sufficient data.

There's a supplementary pdf that describes some of their methods. Looking at it and the main text, there's not a whole lot of good news for invertebrates to be found, but my feeling is that maybe the 45% is an even less precise estimate than I would have guessed before thinking about the practical difficulties of trying to measure global invertebrate populations.
posted by sfenders at 6:30 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just goes to show you... you have to have backbone to survive in this world.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles


What do you mean? Did I miss a joke?
posted by futz at 6:35 PM on August 30, 2014


I cannot get really upset by this news at all.

For every lovely orb spider or wildflower-pollinating bee buzzing around there are thousands of annoying (and even deadly) insects that could die off in a heartbeat and I'd never even bat an eye.

Yes, I know about ecosystems. I also know that insects outnumber us humans by millions to one. With something like two hundred million of them for every one of us, there's still plenty of the aggressive little bastards left to make all our lives miserable. Trust me on this.

Aww, man, you know what? I'll bet the surviving ones we have left are the meanest suckers of the bunch, too! Nasty little bastards.

One thing is certain: people don't let enough wild into their yards....
Don't kill insects or spiders.

I have lots of nature around me. I have a thriving front and a back yard with oak trees (and too many weeds right now). And I like some spiders. Funnily enough, I like them because they kill the insects.

Right now, though, I have black widow spider egg sacs all over my back porch which are also thriving. Black widow bites are no fun, believe me. Yeah, I'm killing 'em.

As for insects, how about those fire ants?! Ever been bitten by one of these guys? Forget that weenie ant, spraying-a-bit-of-formic-acid-around-your-general-area stuff, these little dudes fill you up with burning fire pepper juice just for kicks. They get no sympathy from me, either.

Nor do mosquitoes, who, if the good spiders don't kill them, can spread lovely diseases Around. And, even if they don't, the itchy bites and incessant whining drone of mosquitoes will drive you nuts on an otherwise peaceful evening. Screw 'em.

And I haven't even touched on crazy leaping fleas, or ticks with their Lyme disease, fevers and even tetanus!

But if anyone here misses insects too much, I don't want you to have to do without. So I'll tell you what. You are welcome to come on down South and scoop up all the cockroaches and Palmetto bugs (Flying roaches! Yay!) you can find and take them home with you.

You're welcome.
posted by misha at 6:36 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bless your heart misha.
posted by futz at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2014 [13 favorites]


misha,

You like eating?

What, you think a pattern that causes an accidental mass dieoff of everything you don't eat, is going to somehow treat as sacred those calories you're sort of addicted to?

Accidentally killing off 99.9% of life and having no idea how or why is beyond national security risk. That's the sort of stuff that whoops, there's seven billion people and enough food for a few hundred million is made of.

But heh. Flying roaches.
posted by effugas at 6:48 PM on August 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


I stood in an English garden this summer; the flowers were in full bloom, and dazzling. And every single blossom was solitary. I'm old enough to remember that when you walked barefoot on the back lawn you had to keep an eye out for bees hunting for clover. When a flowering bush would be covered with bees. When you could hear them moving around the garden.

This year, an empty garden, not a single bee on a single flower head. It felt like desolation.
posted by jokeefe at 6:57 PM on August 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


And as usual, Mallory Ortberg at the Toast says it for me: Science Headlines I Would Like To See More Of.

"The Oceans Are Fine And Full Mostly Of Fish And Water, With A Very Small, Normal Amount Of Plastic In Them", "Everything In The Rainforest Is Normal And Great", "There Are Over 1300 Species Of Birds In Danger Of BIRTHDAY PARTIES"

And now I'll go and cry, thanks.
posted by jokeefe at 7:01 PM on August 30, 2014 [13 favorites]


Grim news all around. Luckily for us there's probably a new very-slightly-thinner iPhone coming out soon.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:01 PM on August 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


> Science Headlines I Would Like To See More Of

Funnily enough that list includes:
Mosquitos? Never Heard Of β€˜Em

Then again, mosquitoes don't seem to serve a unique ecological need.
posted by Monochrome at 7:09 PM on August 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Every insect, bird, mammal etc that we lose affects the entire ecosystem.

Hate flying roaches? You'll hate them even more once their natural predator is extinct.
posted by futz at 7:28 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Perhaps a Silent Spring grows ever closer.
posted by islander at 7:51 PM on August 30, 2014


I think we are closer to solving the Fermi Paradox
posted by Renoroc at 8:08 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The decrease in invertebrate numbers is due to two main factors – habitat loss and climate disruption on a global scale."

...and what's responsible for that?!

Mostly, deforestation and/followed by commercial agriculture, with its pesticides.

And what drives that?

Mostly, meat. Grazing occupies 26 percent of the Earth's terrestrial surface, while feed crop production requires about a third of all arable land.

Meat is also a major source of global warming, due to methane -- produced by most livestock -- being a greenhouse gas. According to the United Nations: "The livestock sector is... the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to eutrophication, 'dead' zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others."

It's also a huge source of the problems we have with drought, and groundwater depletion. For example, agriculture accounts for 83% of all water used in California, with residential usage only at 4%. And despite the fact that California grows the majority of America's fruits and vegetables, growing feed for cattle is the predominant agricultural use of water in California.

A single pound of beef takes up to 5000 gallons to produce, with grassfed beef towards the high end of the spectrum. That's the equivalent of 9 1/2 months worth of daily showers, and a water footprint equal to buying five pounds of tofu, five pounds of rice, five pounds of lettuce, 5 lbs. of tomatoes, 5 lbs. of bananas, a pound of fresh avocados, two lbs. of whole wheat bread, a pound of apples, a pound of cucumbers, a pound of fresh peaches, five pounds of cabbage, and a pound of oranges COMBINED.

Something to think about, next time you feel pressured to use a low-flow showerhead...
posted by markkraft at 8:40 PM on August 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


Except that water used isn't gone.

I see a lot of anecdotal evidence in this thread, and it's making the science nerd in me sad. Yes, this is probably a Very Bad Thing. But also, just as local weather != climate, local bug populations do not equal global trends. Insect populations wax and wane over the years based on localized factors. For instant, dry summers we rarely have slug damaged hostas. But this spring was a positive boon for them. And the June bugs here in WI are doing fine, as are the lightening bugs.

I'm not disputing the thesis of the article, but I suspect the local insect changes many of you are reporting are not actually what you think they are.

(also, might I posit at least some of the insects re: June bugs and lightening bugs are night time and evening bugs, and as time passes, both in age and calling of electronic screens, you are not out during the times these bugs are, and not for as long. And when you are, well, that's what your device screens are for.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:56 PM on August 30, 2014 [8 favorites]


Those aquifers had to get filled from somewhere. They don't necessarily need to get refilled recoverably.
posted by effugas at 9:05 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anecdotal: I have had a gorgeous amount of lightening beetles, crickets, and tree frogs.

Where did the bees, spiders and june bugs go? My screen door used to have June bugs clinging to it all through the summer. The orb spiders that used to inhabit my porch and flowers just aren't there anymore regardless of my electronic screen time.

I photograph insects as a hobby. My hobby is currently at a standstill. I am very very aware of the insect life in my yard/garden.
posted by futz at 9:11 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Except that water used isn't gone. "

My response to this would be... nobody ever said it was? Howver, fresh water used isn't generally available as fresh water anymore. One might even consider fresh water as a valuable resource, worth protecting... but hey, I am not a scientist. I'm just someone who appreciates the benefits of fresh water, food, sanitation, etc.

I'll have a lot more appreciation for the science involved, once we efficiently use recycled water to make synthetic meat in a vat.

And it's true that local insect populations vary. I'm sure they'll come back stronger than ever, once all the humans die off.
posted by markkraft at 9:12 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Are we talking diversity or abundance of invertebrates here? The press release and resulting discussion aren't very clear. For the record, the abundance is just sheer numbers of all invertebrates whereas diversity is less tightly-defined but generally is conveyed by an index which accounts for both species richness ("how many invertebrate species are there?") and "evenness" ("are all species more or less equally abundant, or do a few species dominate?").

These are two rather different things, and while sudden changes in either one are generally a sign of big trouble for an ecosystem, the most likely causes for each are somewhat different. For instance, the top-down control that Buckt speaks of is most likely to cause an increase in abundance with a drop in diversity (though other scenarios are certainly possible). Incidental deaths from pesticide use would most likely decrease both abundance and diversity. Both types of decline are fairly broad though, and don't in themselves provide much insight into their causes. We know of many things that can cause abindance, diversity, or both to decline -- the question is what is doing it in this case?

If it were me, I would want to look at some more sophisticated metrics of ecosystem health. Specifically I'd be interested in looking for changes in community composition (what species are present, and in what amounts? How has that changed, and which species have become more or less abundant? What do they have in common?) and trophic networks (the food web -- who is eating who, and in what amounts, and how has that changed? Is the overall network becoming simpler or more complex? Who were the major players 35 years ago as opposed to today?). That's more complicated research to do than just looking at abundance or diversity, but it might provide some solid leads in the search for the cause of these declines.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:16 PM on August 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


(also, might I posit at least some of the insects re: June bugs and lightening bugs are night time and evening bugs, and as time passes, both in age and calling of electronic screens, you are not out during the times these bugs are, and not for as long. And when you are, well, that's what your device screens are for.)
posted by [insert clever name here]


Whew. So glad that my iphone keeps me from seeing what goes on around me instead of the reality of what I see when I open my door every day.

You are failing to give us self reporters credit and assuming a lot of things that just aren't true.

But, hey, you are a science nerd.
posted by futz at 9:23 PM on August 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


One might even consider fresh water as a valuable resource, worth protecting...

Or, perhaps, privatizing and selling to the highest bidder, who (of course, I don't know about you in particular, but...) won't be us.
posted by carping demon at 10:52 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


there are thousands of annoying (and even deadly) insects that could die off in a heartbeat and I'd never even bat an eye.

Or eye a bat. Everything is interconnected. Every time you poison a bug or a plant you don't personally happen to like, you're putting that poison into everyone's environment.
posted by pracowity at 12:38 AM on August 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


Futz, point taken. I was trying to suggest that, as always, the plural of anecdote isn't data, and there are any numbers of factors that color people's perceptions of localized events over time. This may include the change of lifestyle as one ages or just simply modern changes in behavior and environment, not an absolute change in localized insect populations. Which is why self reported information is at best an unreliable observation that you might be able to build a hypothesis from.

The screen point was glib; but yes, I would argue that a culture that spends a majority of idle time observing one's pocket computer has left little time staring at empty space and admiring the insect life.

(For my anecdote, June bugs and lightening bugs have been plentiful in SE Wisconsin, though June bugs were late to emerge. I suspect due to the cooler spring. Lightening bugs were out en mass in early July and are still prevalent at dusk or shortly after. And I have a honey bee colony that moved into the back shed that I'm not sure what to do about.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:03 AM on August 31, 2014


Or eye a bat. Everything is interconnected. Every time you poison a bug or a plant you don't personally happen to like, you're putting that poison into everyone's environment.

Sure, but I would argue that's nothing compared to, say, the significant and large scale damage that fracking does to poison our water and environment.

Also, I don't actually go around spraying DDT or anything, of course. We pretty much just smush the black widow egg sacs. And if a cockroach were to show up, the cats would probably take it on, so there's the ecosystem interconnecting in a natural way for you.
posted by misha at 2:41 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


I cannot get really upset by this news at all.

For every lovely orb spider or wildflower-pollinating bee buzzing around there are thousands of annoying (and even deadly) insects that could die off in a heartbeat and I'd never even bat an eye.


You don't have any idea how many species of insects there are in the world, do you? I mean, nobody does, but estimates are at 80-100 million. You named five types of insects (one of which is invasive) and two arachnids that you have a problem with. Only a small fraction of mosquito species can transmit malaria, and only two tick species transmit lyme disease. I mean, like 40% of all insect species are just beetles (cockroaches are not beetles). What do you have against them?

And actually, this study wasn't even limited to insects. They were looking at invertebrates. Mussels are invetebrates. Worms are invertebrates. Crabs are invertebrates. You're not upset about loosing any of this stuff? Because I'm upset.
posted by gueneverey at 7:51 AM on August 31, 2014 [3 favorites]


I imagine a fair number of commenters in this thread live in an apartment building closer to some urban center than a natural environment. That may make it harder for us to empathize with each other to begin with. But just consider that it might be easier to give lip service to the, "Hey, let's fight for the insects!" theme when you aren't that personally affected by them on a daily basis in the first place.

Maybe I can better illustrate the difference with some figures, put this in perspective that way.

gueneverey, you mention how many species of insects there are in the world.

In your state (according to your profile), it is estimated there are approximately 260 different species of insects.

Do you know how many species of insects there are in Florida, where I live? At least 12,500. Almost 50 times as many.

So, when you say, "You're not upset about loosing [sic] any of this stuff?", well, as far as the insects go, as I said, no, I'm really not.

I did not say anything about the crustaceans, though. We have lots of crabs here. I don't catch them, I don't eat them I don't even go in for crab legs (do you? Are you willing to stop any of that to keep them from extinction?). Additionally, my county alone is looking at 50 species of wildlife that are currently endangered, mostly because of overdevelopment, which I do consistently fight against.

If I were to ask you what you personally are doing to keep the manatee on the endangered list despite recent attempts to have it removed, which is a HUGE issue here, I wouldn't imagine you would be as invested in that as I am. I wouldn't expect you to be.
posted by misha at 10:00 AM on August 31, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm currently listening to the late-summer susurrus of cicadas in St. Louis and enjoying the hell out of it. I don't want the bugs to die.
posted by limeonaire at 5:31 PM on August 31, 2014


Misha, I am not even going to pull quote from your comment. I am going to point out the flaws in it though.

I care a shitload about manatees and elephants and bees and wolves and...you get the point I hope?

You only seem to care about what directly affects you which is incredibly myopic and selfish.

Do I like a lot of insects? No I don't. Do I realize that we and other species rely on them in an intricate way that we often can't comprehend? Yes.

Just because something is not in your backyard doesn't mean you can't care deeply about it. There are whole ecosystems that have been changed for the worse by the removal of just one insect or mammal. It is freaking depressing.
posted by futz at 6:47 PM on August 31, 2014


Dust (1998) by Charles Pellegrino: It all starts with massive die-off of fungus gnats...
posted by cenoxo at 8:01 PM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


FYI, I did my graduate research in forested wetlands in Maine. The mosquitoes and ticks and deer flies were so thick at times it was hard to get a photograph of my field sites without an insect injecting itself right in front of the camera lens. One of the professors in my department has traveled all over the world and said the bugs in Maine were probably the worst he's encountered. So save your armchair environmentalist jab for someone else...I can empathize with hating certain insects. But to be like, phsh, insects can all go to hell (essentially)...that's really narrow-minded. Perhaps you should try to learn about a few of the 12,500 species of insects in your state. I promise you they're not all out to get you, and a lot of them are really freaking cool.
posted by gueneverey at 7:25 AM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


And actually, I have no idea where you got the 260 species of insects in Illinois figure. Try 17 thousand. I probably have 260 just in boxes in my apartment, and I am not even a serious insect collector.
posted by gueneverey at 7:38 AM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Windshields. :/

I wonder about that. If you ride down the road on a bike in the summer and look down you can see millions of butterflies, bees, dragonflies and god knows what else dead on the side of the road. In addition to the ones plastered all over the front of every vehicle. Some days it's like the cars are driving through a soup of insects, especially where the insects like to gather over the nice warm road in the evening.

What effect does this have? Production of offspring is geared towards survival of a minimum number of individuals after predation, food supply, cars and other effects. Do the factors that cause population cycles just take over and ramp up production to make up for it? How much of the annual biomass production of a swamp beside a busy highway ends up going down the drain at the carwash?

Last weekend we went to a (somewhat) isolated forest area to do some camping. There are few paved roads nearby, and probably not much pesticide use in the neighbourhood, but it's not very remote. We all noticed the large number of dragonflies relative to anywhere else we've visited in the last few years. And we saw some snakes and frogs too, which we don't see that often. And yes, we drove there.
posted by sneebler at 10:30 PM on September 1, 2014


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