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It’s slug season. I’ve already had them eating on some of my plants including one fresh from the garden center.
A new species of jumping slug has been discovered in the coldest glades of the Selkirk Mountains. It was named Skade’s jumping slug after a girl who will experience significiant climate change during her lifetime.
Black sea hares – the largest of the sea slug species – appear to be showing up on Orange County beaches in greater numbers.
Gardening is such a delightful pastime that rewards us with fresh produce and beautiful flowers. When occasional problems crop up, they can dampen our enthusiasm.
After five years of work, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist recently finished one of the most comprehensive records ever compiled about what lives in the Idaho Panhandle’s forests, fields and wetlands. Michael Lucid and collaborators found nearly 200 species at 2,300 survey sites across millions of acres of public and private lands.
Molly Wiebush knelt in a shady spot by a downed log, turning over rocks and shredding rotten wood as she searched for signs of gastropod life. Spending the summer chasing snails and slugs has given the Idaho Fish and Game technician an appreciation for how elusive the forest decomposers can be. Snails the size of sequins are difficult to spot. And with their camouflage coloring, slugs blend into the leaf litter on the forest floor.
Researchers are putting the spotlight on reclusive creatures in the Inland Northwest, ranging from slugs and frogs to lynx and wolverines. How climate change and other modern threats will impact these critters is the million-dollar question the Idaho Fish and Game Department and other scientists are studying with the help of a federal grant and hundreds of citizen scientists.
Researchers are tapping citizen scientists to survey reclusive creatures in the Idaho Panhandle, ranging from slugs and frogs to lynx and wolverines. (See story.) Outdoors editor Rich Landers tagged along with a group of volunteers who snowshoed into the backcountry for a winter check on a bait station that's part of North Idaho's Multi-species Baseline Initiative. The group downloaded photos from a motion activated camera set up to capture images of wolverines or other critters scientists are studying. The collected hair from the bait station for DNA testing. Then they rebaited the station with a fresh, frozen beaver carcass and left, to return again weeks later. Landers' photos are combined here with images from the many Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness volunteers who trek far into the backcountry tending dozens of monitoring sites for the project organized by the Idaho Fish and Game Department. The best photos, though, are the trail-cam images of various critters that wander the winter backcountry of the Selkirk, Purcell and Cabinet mountains.
This cool, wet spring has been perfect for slugs. I saw my first baby ones in early March under some old wood. It didn’t take them long to find my hostas and ligularias. Delphiniums, lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries weren’t far behind. Slugs are active from early spring until the fall frosts. In our climate, they can grow to be 5 inches long and can live for five or more years. They can be gray, black, yellow or brown in color.