Location: N. California, Sutter County, Sutter Buttes, valley oak woodland
March 5, 2012 2:27 pm
What is the story behind this photo? Taken Feb 2012 in a small valley in the Sutter Buttes, Sutter County, Northern California. I was thinking solitary bee or trapdoor spider?
While we are not certain what created this Mud Ball Mystery, we are relatively confident it is neither a Trapdoor Spider nor a Solitary Bee. Could you tell us a bit more about the terrain? Was this an area that floods in the spring? It reminds us a bit of a Crayfish burrow.
I cannot imagine that this is a crayfish burrow. As I remember both of the burrows we saw are in a veg area classified as California Prairie or Blue Oak in rather stony (about 30% up to fist sized cobble sub angular to angular) areas that I do not think flood in the spring. Would you agree with me Michael and Zack? Thanks for following up on this Jim. Leslie
Definately not crayfish, I saw two more at about 1000 feet elevation the other day.
I concur with comments below (Ed. Note: comments above) that this is far too dry environment for a crayfish. I will be in the field soon to get more photos with a ruler for scale, some capture tools. What additional information is needed and how do I go about obtaining it – e.g. pour water into the hole to encourage the critter up to show itself? I would rather not be too destructive in the investigation, so I am a bit reluctant to excavate the hole unless you think the animal will be OK to dig another.
California Department of Parks and Recreation, Northern Buttes District
We didn’t really think it was a crayfish, but that was a thought. We do not believe it is a Bee or a Spider.