|Randy and Robyn discussing Southern California weather|
Clouds in the sky announced the beginning of the monsoon season in Arizona to the east, but Robyn told us that summer rains would be quite unusual for this area. Nevertheless, besides the ubiquitously blooming buck-weed, we found some very nice wild flowers high above the creek where the trail passes among oaks and sage brush.
But there was something ominous about this canyon forest: Many of the biggest oaks were dead.
This is the sad result of Agrilus auroguttatus infestation . We found some of the rather pretty buprestids (metallic wood boring beetles) in lime traps. In California,. A. auroguttatus has a devastating effect, while the same speciesdoes not do much damage in its home range in Southern Arizona and Mexico. The reason may be a difference in climate and in prevalent species of oaks.
|Agrilus auroguttatus . Photo Mark Lewis|
Along the creek we found lush willows, blooming meadows, Yerba Mansa, very little Poison Oak, and wild California Roses. The pretty pale pink flowers were paradise for beetles and coleopterists.
|Merhynchites wickhami, Western Rose Curculio|
Many thanks to Robyn for sharing this great place with us! We will definitely stop there again on our next California trip.
I found that Wikipedia refers to the Agrilus that kills the oaks as A. coxalis, other sources call it A. auroguttata. Here is a paragraph from a paper by Henry Hespenheide et al that Henry sent to clarify this discrepancy:
"Agrilus auroguttatus Schaeffer 1905, Revalidated status (Figs. 34–36)