Quail Hollow Ranch County Park pond critters

On July 10th I met up with Christian Schwarz and Tony Iwane at Quail Hollow Ranch County Park in Santa Cruz County, CA to do a dry run of what we might find if we did a public event for the community around the microscopic world of the park. The Park itself has some interesting biology with some rare and endangered plants due to sandhill habitats of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Most of our sampling focused in on the pond in the center of the park.

Quail Hollow Ranch County Park

At the edge of the pond I could see some sort of annelid waving around wildly just beneath the surface in groups of 5-10. Using a petri dish I tried to scoop them up which proved to be more difficult then I could have possible imagined.  If you have any leads on what this organism is beyond annelid, please help by adding your knowledge to the iNaturalist post for this organism: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3656725


In pond scoops in the same are a variety of ciliates were fond including this very large, multi segmented ciliate (iNaturalist: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3659156):

Another smaller ciliate was found interacting with this large ciliate (iNaturalist: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3659157):

Also so these  Phacus swimming around everywhere (iNaturalist: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3659160 ):

We also some some diatoms:













And checked out some pollen grains from Ludwigia peploides:

ludwigialudwigia pollen

Hopefully we’ll have a short weekend course to offer this fall around using Foldscope and some other microscopy techniques to see more of the world around us.








3 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Wow @Damon, you really take great videos. I love the phacus video especially, exquisite. The “multi-celled ciliate” and the little one look like flatworms to me. Perhaps the multi-celled chap is dividing, although I have never seen flatworms divide this way.

  2. Manu Prakash says:

    @Damon: what an incredible post. Love all the data sets – just fantastic.

    The first contracting ciliate is – the identification key is the fast contractile nature. This is one of the “large” ciliates. What a beautiful find @Damon. I will look at the video carefully and ID the exact subspecies. In the lab; we are studying the contraction mechanism – so we will share a lot more about this little guy over time.

    @saad: please take a look at this video – beautiful ecological interaction.


  3. jlpappas says:

    Hi Damontighe,

    The diatom you show could be an Amphipleura pellucida both on its side (girdle view of the cingula) and on its front (valve view of its theca).

    Keep posting diatoms–you do a fabulous job with your Foldscope!

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