Spirit: Sending Love and Prayers

Worst Colorado wildfire in history burns 55,000 acres, 181 homes

Thinking of all the folks and animals affected by this disaster.

Photo by Mark Higgins (*)

“By Amy Hubbard

June 11, 2012, 1:50 p.m.

Amid the northern Colorado wildfire disaster, a more intimate drama is now playing out: Some wolves in a mountain rescue center and shelter were evacuated, while others were left behind.

Fans of Wolf Sanctuary have been waiting to hear the fate of those animals left to weather the wildfire.

“They were sheltered appropriately,” John Schulz, public information officer for the Larimer County sheriff’s department told The Times on Monday, “but that area’s totally closed off right now.”

As of Sunday, volunteers had removed 11 of the animals and were hoping the 19 left at the sanctuary would hide out in underground concrete bunkers called “fire dens,” according to the Associated Press.

The evacuated wolves were taken to kennels in Larimer County.

The sanctuary is on more than 180 acres in the Rocky Mountains, about 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins, Colo., according to the website.” (**)

I wish all the best, send all the love, and pray for all the people and animals effected by this disaster.

To keep tabs on the progress of the wolves go here: http://www.facebook.com/nocowolfsanctuary

(*) Source One: http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-colorado-wildfire-most-destructive-history-20120617,0,4418900.story

(**) Source Two: http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-colorado-wildfire-wolves-20120611,0,2185665.story

Red Foxes: Firefly Squid (Watasenia scintillans)

W. scintillans is a small squid that occurs only in the waters around Japan. It is a member of the mesopelagic boundary fauna in these waters and is fished commercially with set nets.

Brief diagnosis: 

An enoploteuthid …

  • with large, black photophores at the tips of arms IV.
  • with hooks of manus in one series.


Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

Figure. Ventral view of W. scintillans. © Kotaro Tsuchiya

From Young, et al., 1998.

  1. Arms
    1. Suckers absent from Arms IV (hooks present).*
      Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

  2. Tentacles
    1. Manus of club with hooks in one series (2-3 in number) and one series of suckers.
      Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

  3. Hectocotylus
    1. Right ventral arm of male hectocotylized.
    2. Hectocotylus with two subequal-sized offset flaps.
      Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

  4. Buccal crown
    1. Dark epithelial pigmentation on oral surface rather than typical chromatophores.*
  5. Head

    1. Beaks: Descriptions can be found here: Lower beak; upper beak.
  6. Photophores
    1. Two to four large organs covered by black chromatophores on tips of arms IV.*
    2. Five organs on eyeball.*
    3. Complex organs of integument, in life, probably with red-colored filters.*

*Characters shared with Abraliopsis.


Vertical distribution

Spawned eggs are mainly collected from the surface to 80 m depth.

Geographical distribution

W. scintllans seems to be a mesopelagic boundary species associated with shelf waters.

This species shows high endemism in the waters of Japan and adjacent areas. It is distributed in the northern sector of the East China Sea and the Kii Channel, Central Japan, northward to Japan Sea, Okhotsk Sea, southeast coast of Honshu, transition zone off Sanriku District to 165° E, and the southeast coast of Hokkaido.

Life History

Eggs and Egg masses

The eggs of W. scintillans is ovoidal, 1.5 mm L x 1 mm D, transparent, no coloration but with weak luster reflection. The adult female has several hundred to 20,000 mature eggs in its oviducts.

The egg mass is narrow gelatinous string more than 1 m with a simple row of eggs.


In Toyama Bay, middle of the Japan Sea, eggs occurred in the plankton in February – July and November – December. In the offshore area of Shimane Prefecture, western Japan Sea, eggs were found throughout the year except for December and January. The peak of egg occurrence is April to late May.

Spawning grounds in Japan Sea were recognized at the shelf edge in east and west of Oki Island and Toyama Bay. Some spawnings were recognized on Yamato-tai Bank.

Spent females were also collected from the open ocean off Sanriku, the Kuroshio-Oyashio transition zone.

Early development

Fertilized eggs hatch in 14 days at 9.7 °C, 8 days at 13.4 °C and 6 days at 16 °C water tempelature. Lower limit for normal development seems to be at 6 °C (Hayashi, 19**).

At 15 C water temperature:

  1. 1 hr after fertilized: Polar bodies appear.
  2. 6 hrs: First cleavage.
  3. ca. 10 hrs: 100 and more cells.
  4. ca. 16 hrs: Embryonic lobe developed.
  5. ca. 1.5 day: Embryonic lobe covers about half of the egg.
  6. ca. 4 days: Primordial eye appears; oral depression start.
  7. ca. 5 days: Primordial arms, mantle, funnel appear; chromatophore appears on mantle; funnel lobe fused to tube; eye developed.
  8. ca. 8-8.5 days: Hatching; chromatophores appear on head, arm; ink inject in inksac; gill, branchial heart, liver appear.

Hatchling is 1.2-1.4 mm DML, arms, beak, radula, intestinal tract is still primordial; lecithotropic.


This species is an important food items for bottom fishes and large salmonid fishes in the coastal waters of northern Japan (Yamamura, 1993).

Fisheries Interest

W. scintillans is fished commercially in Japan. Total catches in Japan during 1990-1999 are 4,804 to 6,822 tons per year.

In the Toyama Bay, central Japan Sea, squid are cought by fixed net during March to June (the main fishing period is mid-April to early May). The average catch per year is 2,000 tons (250 million individuals) but the catch is variable in each year around from 500 to 4,000 tons.

In the southwestern coast of Japan Sea, squid are caught by bottom trawl. The amount of the catch during 1990-1999 was 1,873 to 3,638 tons per year.“*

Info Source (*): http://tolweb.org/Watasenia_scintillans/19645

For Videos of Firefly Squid: http://www.arkive.org/firefly-squid/watasenia-scintillans/

Picture Sources (from top): http://wordlesstech.com/2012/04/07/firefly-squid-in-toyama-bay/, http://robertang.blogspot.com/2012/04/firefly-squids-in-toyama-bay-japan.html, http://www.kh-vids.net/showthread.php?123105-The-Glowing-Firefly-Squid-of-Toyama-Japan, http://upall.co/firefly-squid-463.php


Red Foxes: Spottings in Dayton, MD

No pictures, sorry. But, we spotted, at least five Herons altogether, three Kingfishers, very colorful birds, Karp, tons of baby turtles or all sizes, and a good ten deer any maybe more though I couldn’t tell if we had seen any bucks because some were pretty far away. I found a nice skull too that I’ll post a picture of tomorrow or the next day when I identify what it came from. My dad and I think it could be a opossum, but I’ll look it up. Happy spotting everyone and hope everyone had a nice weekend, first since Midsummer.

Favorite Local Places: Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area, Dayton, MD

The Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area in Dayton, MD has been one of my favorite spots since I was a little kid. It’s not far from my Grandfather’s house so I went there a lot growing up and I’ve always liked it. You can hike, kayak, canoe, fish, take pictures, or just look around. There’s even a playground. It’s great for spotting wildlife and if you hike back to the big bend where the Patuxent opens up more, you’ll spot eagles ospreys, and even a family of otters (which is rare in Maryland, at least in these parts as far as I’m aware of). Herons, hawks, turtles, karp, King Fishers, snakes, and deer boast frequent spottings though you’ll probably have to hike to see the deer. I’ve seen the osprey and the more frequent spotted animals though I’ve only seen a dead snake there. I can’t wait to hike back far enough to see the otters. Beavers can be seen too, though I’m not much a fan of them. Of course, The Reservoir offers good bird watching and even watching the dragonflys’ is cool too. Check the place out. It’s on Triadelphia Rd in Dayton, MD.

Red Foxes: King Fishers, a Hawk, a Heron, Turtles, and a Karp spotted in Dayton, MD

This, Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area in Dayton, MD, is one of my favorite places too and I love nature watching here. It was just yesterday (Father’s Day) that I was here with my dad and we spotted three King Fishers, a Hawk, a Heron, penty of Turtles and Karp all in the areas where these two photos were taken. The top picture actually was taken of the three King Fishers but my camera phone is too crappy to pick them up. Two were sitting on the branch of the tree that hangs over to and above the water, the third sitting on the sandy bank near it. They were too far away for my camera to pick up.

Herons frequent this part of the Patuxent (right where the photos are taken) as well as the King Fishers. The King Fishers are camera shy but out of the three or four herons that frequent it, all but one are VERY shy in general.

The turtles are unlike the ones I came across at Centennial Lake and will run at the sound of someone in 30 or 40 feet away. I saw at least two species of turtle, one I know was a snapping turtle, the others were smaller and too far away for me to tell.

Karp are still spawning so this is a good time to watch for them near the banks/shores. Earlier this year I saw many more though spawning season then was in higher gear.

Art and Red Foxes: Photography; Sei Whale Skull in Chile (National Geographic)

“Photograph by Maria Stenzel

Inland ice fields give way along Chile’s coast to a maze of islands and fjords. The weather here is rarely calm. On Byron Island, the skull of a sei whale rests in a tidal creek—until the next storm.”