Scary Things

There are’t too many creatures that are dangerous in West Michigan. However, I was visiting a nature web site and noticed that black widow spiders lived in my county. It said that they lived along wood piles and in attics, so I looked in these places around my house. When I came to a barn attic, I shined a flashlight into a crevice and saw a large spider with lustrous black legs and a brilliant red hourglass on its abdomen. These were the tell tale signs of a northern black widow, Latrodectus Variolus. It made me really nervous getting close enough to capture this image.
I can only think of one time on the river this spring when I felt this uneasy. I was trying to get a good picture of sea lamprey spawning. Suddenly, one affixed itself to the port of my underwater camera. The image above was created when the camera was turned skyward with the lamprey attached.

Sea lamprey are one of our original invasive species. They did tremendous damage to our native fish species such as lake trout. Though you may catch steelhead and salmon with lamprey hits on them, sea lampreys do not feed while they are in the river. One interesting thing that I have learned about them is that they die soon after spawning, just like salmon.

Kevin Feenstra