Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea

Old Man Cactus

Slightly less common that Opuntia basilaris is Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea, also known as Old Man Cactus or Grizzlybear Pricklypear. Unlike O. basilaris, this plant has much more of the typical cactus appearance, with multiple long spines projecting from its areoles. At a distance, this dense "foliage" gives the plant a grizzled, white appearance, hence the common name.

The flowers are typically orange to yellow in color, emerging early to mid summer.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lichanura trivirgata

Rosy Boa

One of two spcies of Boidae native to the united states, L. trivirgata is an uncommon sight in the canyons of the Mojave. Found occupying rocky, granitic outcrops, these snakes are almost obligately ambush predators, being too slow moving to hunt down and capture prey. Like all members of Boidae, these snakes are non-venomous constrictors, capturing prey and
suffocating it by progressively tightening its body as the prey exhales.

They tend to be active during the warmer parts of the day, while staying under shelter during the hottest and coldest times of the year. These boas, like most members of the family, are ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young, usually in broods of six.