Several readers responded to my call for photos, and most are post-worthy. There’s a diverse phylogenetic mixture today. For example, reader Jeremy sent some photos of the adorable pika in its mountain habitat, with an extra “spot the pika” feature (answer tomorrow):
I went hiking today around the Lake Louise area in the Canadian Rockies. I came across two of these little critters running around the rocks. They’re called “pikas” (Ochotona princeps). I would never have spotted them if they hadn’t been making high-pitched calls to one another across the rocky terrain.
Note: pikas are more closely related to rabbits than to rodents: they’re in the order Lagomorpha. One family of that order contains the bunnies and hares (Leporidae), and the other family the pikas (Ochotonidae). And damn if these little guys aren’t cute!:
I’ve included a shot of a pika zoomed in, and another at normal zoom to show how well these little guys blend into their surroundings. Can you spot it?
Answer later today. Try to find it!
And, across the Big Pond, from reader Elise:
If you are running low on reader wildlife pictures, here are two that you may be interested in. They are of starfish on Piha beach west of Auckland, NZ. They are on a rock that is only exposed during low tide and there are a ton of them! Piha beach is one of my favourite spots for tide pooling.
Butterflies from reader Jason:
Here are two piccies of a family Nymphalidae, Aglais io or Peacock butterfly that I took at the Harewood House stately home in Yorkshire today. I’m not a butterfly head but I managed to identify this one from the web. I could see its proboscis curling up and down into the flowers, it was amazing.
Finally, reader Chris sent a frog, with a needlessly self-deprecating caption:
Obviously not as professional as some, but in case you feel a need to include an amphibian! I believe it’s a pickerel frog (Rana palustris). [Readers?] Photo taken near Ithaca, NY with an iPhone 4S.
Frogs are lovely, and the kind of animal nobody could ever have predicted a priori would evolve. They’re an evolutionary mess: a jury-rigged amphibian.