My field season has started, which means that I’m suddenly spending a lot of time playing outside. While I was mucking around in the pond today, it occurred to me that my wonderful blog audience might like to follow along from home. So, in addition to posting about cool parasite ecology literature and related interesting tidbits, I’m going to spice it up with some notes about my field adventures. (It’d be great to get some feedback about which post categories people like the best, so if you have a preference, please let me know!)
To kick off the field adventure stories, let’s start with something really exciting: MUSKRATS! Today, I scared the crap out of a muskrat, and it scared me too! I was sitting quite still in the pond for a while, thinking about the best way to set up my field equipment. I heard a little splish-splash behind me, and turned around to find a muskrat practically touching me! The muskrat retreated upstream, and I finished what I was doing. Then I moved further into the pond, and I waited for the muskrat to come back. It did return, and I took a few pictures before it disappeared. I’m so glad I brought my camera today!
Now, I should probably tell you why muskrats are so exciting from a parasite ecology prospective. Muskrats are one definitive host for echinostome trematodes, and echinostomes happen to be some of my favorite parasites. SO – this muskrat might be a good omen for cool parasite ecology to come!