This adult male Megahexura fulva was collected Branden Runyan, October 2017, Dorrington, Calaveras County, CA. Thanks to Dr. Marshal Hedin for the identification.
This is from Wikipedia: “Megahexura is a genus of spiders in the family Mecicobothriidae, with the sole species Megahexura fulva. Native to the United States, the spiders build an exposed sheet web with a funnel-shaped retreat in holes and crevices along ravine banks.”
This is a link to an image of the female, taken by Dr. Marshall Hedin.
Jason Price set some rat traps in a garage in Sonora. On one trap, there was a dead rat, with only the head left in the trap. All that was left was the head, and even the back of skull had been eaten away. In another trap was a large, big-bellied rat, un-eaten. Apparently the first rat was eaten by the second, and nobody was around to eat the second rat. We presume he was the cannibal rat. 30 October 2017.
Specimens collected by Ryles Richards, 7 August 2017, Groveland California, from dead pine trees along a road. Thanks to Dr. Lynn Kimsey for the ID.
We got a report of a booklouse infestation in a buckwheat hull mattress, in Sonora California. The mattress is composed of long, twisted tubes of buckwheat hulls, and it is harboring booklice. See images below.
There is some discussion and debate about whether or not booklice are a problem on hull mattresses, online. See “Are there any problems with insects getting into a hull mattress or pillow?” Despite claims from those who sell these mattresses as not being conducive to booklice survival, these mattresses can indeed support booklice.
The literature shows that booklice like buckwheat, as shown in this paper: Food-selection by the booklouse, Liposcelis bostrychophila Badonnel (Psocoptera : Liposcelididae) . We can assume, from the presence of the booklice, that although this is a hull mattress, there is sufficient residue of the buckwheat to support a population of booklice. July 18, 2017.
A home in Sonora had an interior support post, approximately eight feet tall, made from the truck of an oak tree. This oak wood had the bark removed, and there were large, emergence holes in it. The beetle that did the damage was the oak cordwood borer, Xylotrechus nauticus. Specimen collected by David Katosic, 13 July 2017.
While working in the yard on a hot afternoon, July 9, 2017, a couple of these eye gnats (probably Liohippelates) came after me, so to speak. They were incredibly aggressive, flying all around my face, and landing on me. I was very sweaty. I killed one, and then this second fly came. I went inside, got my bug net and a vial of alcohol, and within a minute of two, this fly was all over me again. When it flew near my ear, I could hear the high pitch of its wings beating (but not as high a pitch as a mosquito). He is preserved in the vial now. Columbia California, 9 July 2017. Thanks to Dr. Lynn Kimsey with the ID.