Good news! From the shoreline at Fawn Lake, Sarah and Michele spotted a Western Toad tadpole – small, all black, snout squarish, eyes not protruding from the head, narrow tail. There was no sign yet of developing hind legs.
At the adjacent little beach, Oren (going into grade 4) and Judith were watching the aquatic insects. They saw tiny Predaceous Diving Beetles, a Backswimmer and lots of Water Striders. The Backswimmer swims on its back and orients its front to light. Water striders (Gerridae) have hydrophobic microhairs covering their entire body. These microhairs repel water and keep the insects light. The front pair of legs is shortest, adapted for puncturing prey. The middle legs are a little longer, adapted for rapid propulsion using circular strokes. The hind legs are longest, spreading weight over a large surface area and steering the insect across the water. If the Water Strider is pushed under the water (for example, by a wave) the microhairs trap air enabling the insect to breathe until resurfacing.
One of the goals of this walk was to raise awareness of the Western Toad Monitoring Project at Edith and Fawn Lakes, a collaborative project of BC Parks and the Squamish Environment Society. Read more about this project and how you can contribute.
I have never seen Alice Lake Provincial Park so full of people!
Participants: Sarah Shephard, Michele Davidson, Judith Holm
Submitted by Judith Holm
Photo by Alison Wald: Western toad and sundew, taken at edge of Edith Lake.