Monday, September 2, 2013

A Diversion to the Anza Borrego Desert: About One Week Following the Local Monsoonal Rainfall

Some excellent rain has fallen in the Anza Borrego Desert in the past couple weeks, with spectacular flash flooding in some areas about one week ago.

I took a little day trip down there this Friday, August 30, to see what sort of flowering and insect activity might have been triggered by the rain.

The Scissors Crossing area clearly received quite a bit of precipitation, and about one mile west of Shelter Valley, the ground was very moist still, and mushrooms were popping up all over the landscape! Not too much flowering was occurring, and not too many insects were out and about, but that might change in the days and weeks to come. A lot of green growth was starting to appear on the damp landscape, though.

Below are some photographs of beetles found, and the wonderful mushroom "bloom."

Acmaeodera gibbula, Scissors Crossing, Anza Borrego Desert, August 30, 2013.

Plionoma suturalis pair, Scissors Crossing, Anza Borrego Desert. This female did not seem to enjoy being bitten in the face during copulation, and struggled to leave while I watched the pair. When this photo was taken, the male was trying to restrain her. In seconds she wriggled free and flew off, closely followed by the male. August 30, 2013.

Plionoma suturalis pair, Scissors Crossing, Anza Borrego Desert. August 30, 2013.

This white species of mushroom was the most abundant about one mile west of Shelter Valley. August 30, 2013.

A young, fresh pair of the species shown above. August 30, 2013.

Another undetermined mushroom species. One mile west of Shelter Valley. August 30, 2013.

A mystery-fungus. I'm not even completely sure that this IS a fungus! There were several of these hemispherical growths on the ground. They had no real stalk penetrating into the ground. The "hemisphere" sat on top of the fibrous mat seen below it here. August 30, 2013.

NOTE: Euphoria fascifera WERE flying associated with mesquite trees near Shelter Valley, but they were all flying too fast and high to photograph. I had seen this species in this location in late August 2007, in similar post-monsoonal conditions.

Euphoria fascifera from 2007, near Shelter Valley, Anza Borrego Desert.


  1. We get those round white ones here, too. I always thaught that it is the plasmodium of a Mycetozoa, a slime molds

    1. That makes sense. Will have to find a slime mold site of some sort.

  2. Again, very interesting finds. We went camping in Santa Paula over this weekend. I looked and looked for bugs. Nothing!! I did see a dead something caught in a web surrounding a dried flower of some sort. I took a photo. I will post it on FB for you to see.

    1. Well, a good rule of thumb is that the richer the natural surroundings (green, healthy, "natural"), the more insects are around. I timed this little trip for after the rains, as at this time in California, it can be pretty insect-deprived! Will watch out on FB for the photo...