Tiny Animals

Now that our seed collection season here at the BLM state office in Santa Fe is done, I can look back on our field season as a whole. And it has been excellent! Aside from learning a new flora, becoming familiar with a new landscape and new people, and collecting a massive quantity of wild seeds — I have also enjoyed the many casual and surprising encounters that happen while being outside. While my first focus is definitely plants, I also love tiny animals (bugs, macroinvertebrates, insects, arthropods; whatever category they are all tiny animals to me!). I don’t know if I will ever study them seriously or in detail, but I do love to notice their variety.

Following is a selection of the most surprising and fantastic tiny animals I was privileged to encounter while collecting seeds this summer and fall.

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An enormous grasshopper at El Malpais National Monument

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Somebody very strange at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

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A lady beetle with beautiful and interesting patterning at El Malpais National Monument

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Lady beetles exhibiting some interesting behavior — packing themselves tightly into a Thermopsis montana pod! (in the Santa Fe mountains)

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More interesting behavior by lady beetles — clustering themselves in very large groups (in the Sandia mountains)

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A delicate, elegant stick bug at the Quivira Coalition’s Red Canyon Ranch

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Mating monarchs at the Springs Preserve (Las Vegas, NV) butterfly habitat

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An excellent black and yellow garden spider near Socorro, NM

Laura Holloway
Santa Fe (New Mexico State Office), BLM

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