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    • February 28, 2020

    A closeup of a fuzzy bumblebee harvesting from small white and purple flowers

    Bombus crotchii – Crotch bumble bee

    Submitted by Nancy Hamlett, Friends of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park

    Nancy was able to get a close-up shot of this Crotch bumble bee in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park in Los Angeles County. Crotch bumble bees are an imperiled invertebrate species and their populations are said to be declining like many other pollinators. During the summer of 2019, the California Fish and Game Commission petitioned to list the Crotch bumble bee as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act making it a candidate endangered species. Studies have shown that over the last decade, the species has suffered steep population declines due to agricultural intensification and urbanization of its native range. Crotch bumble bees are native to the lower two-thirds of California but are thought to be extinct in their natural northern range. Nesting occurs underground for this species, so conservation actions include restoring high-quality habitat to include abundant nesting and overwintering resources. This is unfortunately only one of the many pollinators in peril, but the CNDDB is proud to aid in the fight to protect this species and the lands it uses to survive. Thank you, Nancy, for this great observation!

    A patch of little white Calistoga popcornflower in a grassy field

    Plagiobothrys strictus – Calistoga popcornflower

    Submitted by Aimee Wyrick-Brownworth

    This delicate plant was found by Aimee Wyrick-Brownworth in Napa County. It is listed as a 1B.1 (rare or endangered in California and elsewhere, seriously endangered in California) in the California Rare Plant Ranking system. Plagiobothrys strictus can be found found in alkaline areas near thermal springs in meadows and seeps, valley and foothill grasslands, and vernal pools. It blooms from March to June, so keep an eye out for these little white flowers in the next few weeks. Thank you Aimee for all the amazing work you send our way and all the great work you do!

    Do you have some great photos of rare plants or wildlife detections? Submit them along with your findings through our Online Field Survey Form and see if your photos get showcased!

    Categories: Contributor Spotlight
    • February 6, 2020

    2020 is here, and we continue our monthly spotlight of talented photographers and their wonderful photos of rare plants and animals submitted through the Online Field Survey Form. Here are a couple of our favorites to start off the year with:

    Closeup of Navarretia ojaiensis which has spiky leaf clusters and small white flowers

    Navarretia ojaiensis – Ojai navarretia

    Submitted by Ryan Myers, SWCA Environmental Consultants

    This extremely rare, endemic plant was found by Ryan Myers in Ventura County. It is listed as a 1B.1 (rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere, seriously threatened in California) in the California Rare Plant Ranking system. Navarretia ojaiensis can be found in openings in chaparral and coastal scrub as well as valley and foothill grasslands. It blooms from May to July, bringing a little color to those summer hikes. A big thank you to Ryan for this amazing photo and all the hard work you do!

    Top-down photo of northern red-legged frog on the forest floor that's covered in fallen leaves and pine needles

    Rana aurora – northern red-legged frog

    Submitted by Risa Okuyama, Mother Earth Engineering

    Risa came across this camouflaged northern red-legged frog near Big Lagoon in Humboldt county. The northern red-legged frog inhabits the northwest portion of the state in Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties and is one of nine true frog species the database tracks. Their relatively long rear legs allow them to leap far distances making this their main mode of defense from escaping predators. They can be found in grasslands, woodlands, humid forests, and plant covered stream sides. Populations of Rana aurora face threats such as predation by the introduced American bullfrog and poor water quality. The northern red-legged frog was previously known as a subspecies of Rana aurora along with the California red-legged frog before being split into two separate species. Currently, CNDDB has 292 mapped occurrences of the northern red-legged frog all along the northern coast. Thank you, Risa, for catching a picture of this steadily posed amphibian!

    Do you have some great photos of rare plants or wildlife detections? Submit them along with your findings through our Online Field Survey Form and see if your photos get showcased!

    Categories: Contributor Spotlight
    • December 31, 2019

    The end of the year is often a time of reflection and appreciation and we at the California Natural Diversity Database appreciate all the species detection data we receive throughout the year. We are thankful for contributors like you for helping us conserve California’s many sensitive species. We rarely get the opportunity to get out of the office and do field work ourselves, so we appreciate your awesome photos as a welcome reminder of what makes this job worth doing. We couldn't do it without your continued efforts!

    Closeup of Santa Susana tarplant flower

    Deinandra minthornii (Hemizonia minthornii) – Santa Susana tarplant

    Submitted by Chris Dunn and Patrick Crooks, Padre Associates Inc.

    This interesting plant was found at the Boeing Santa Susana Field Laboratory site in Ventura County. The site formerly housed everything needed to test rocket engines, but ten years ago Boeing decided to preserve the site as open space habitat. It has since become a sanctuary for plants and animals alike. Deinandra minthornii is endemic to California and is listed as 1B.2 (rare or endangered in California and elsewhere, fairly endangered in California) in the California Rare Plant Ranking system. It is commonly found in rocky areas of chaparral and coastal scrub. Chris assisted in some interesting work on the conservation of D. minthornii. In a study of the plant, it was determined that D. minthornii was highly pollinator dependent, having a much better seed viability when greater numbers of pollinators visited the plant. Plants found near areas of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory that had been seeded with native forbs were found to have greater numbers of pollinators visiting. This led to the enhanced viability of D. minthornii seeds in those areas. The study concludes by encouraging the use of local forb seed mixes in general restoration practices to help in the conservation of plants that are pollinator dependent. Thank you, Chris and Patrick, for sharing this amazing work that you do!

    For those interested in the study: Galea, M., V. Wojcik, and C. Dunn. 2016. Using Pollinator Seed Mixes in Landscape Restoration Boosts Bee Visitation and Reproduction in the Rare Local Endemic Santa Susana Tarweed, Deinandra minthornii. BioOne. Vol. 36 (4).

    Closeup of coast ranged newt

    Taricha torosa – Coast Range newt

    Submitted by Peter Gaede

    Peter found this Coast Range newt, also commonly known as the California newt, out and about near Las Llagas Canyon in Santa Barbara County. This species is endemic to California and research has shown that coastal populations in Monterey County and south are suffering from habitat loss and because of this, is considered a California Special Species of Concern. Coast Range newts are terrestrial during warmer months and migrate to bodies of water to breed from December through March. Their rough skin gives off a poisonous neurotoxin known as tetrodotoxin to ward off predators. Tetrodotoxin is found throughout their skin, muscles, and blood and is strong enough to kill animals and even people. A study was conducted that showed the neurotoxin found in a single Coast Range newt’s skin is powerful enough to kill around 2,000 mice! Their sticky tongue helps them catch prey like worms, snails, slugs, and even their own eggs and larvae. They are found in chaparral, woodland, and grassland habitat. Currently, the database has 88 mapped occurrences along the southern coast from Monterey county to San Diego county. Thank you, Peter, for catching such a detailed look of this awesome amphibian!

    Do you have some great photos of rare plants or wildlife detections? Submit them along with your findings through our Online Field Survey Form and see if your photos get showcased!

    Categories: Contributor Spotlight