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Creature Feature

Itching is the least of their nasty woes

Downed trees, dented houses and absent power are the larger consequence of Irene, Lee and their ilk. But the smaller consequences can also get under your skin. And keep you itching.     Mosquitoes are biting. Many kinds of mosquitoes.     The extraordinary amount of rain from the two storms is just what the eggs of opportunistic female fresh-floodwater mosquitoes have been waiting for to hatch.

$2.4 million federal grant resolves the conflict

The little Puritan tiger beetle has it way better than many other bugs in the news.         Stinkbugs and emerald ash borers: We’re dead-set on eliminating those alien destroyers.     But the Puritan tiger beetle was here long before us, and to keep it here we go to great lengths.     And great expense.

Pumpkin Ash found at Jug Bay adds to number of native species

When your official list of trees includes only 29 species, the addition of one more makes a big boost. Anne Arundel’s rise to 29 from 28 came from the addition of Fraxinus profunda.     Profunda, familiarly known as the pumpkin ash, was identified and measured at Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary this month by Maryland Big Tree volunteer Dan Wilson of Harford County.

Canine Candid Camera

We all think — make that know — that our dogs are the smartest, funniest, sassiest, most beautiful creatures in the world. To prove it, more and more of us are picking up video recorders to share our dearest with the planet.     The Internet makes it easy to become an international celebrity. Sites like YouTube allow millions to watch Fluffy shred toilet paper or see Spot chase the squirrel up a tree.

Like John Steinbeck, this osprey wanted to see America

In between migrations most osprey are homebodies. Conventional wisdom holds that male osprey almost always return to the vicinity of their nests to breed.     Not every osprey is conventional.

Endangered species squeeze through DC's budget war

Off limits to some members of Congress in the contentious budget war that’s been raging in Washington.     In a Republican proposal, the Endangered Species Act would have been amended so that no new species — regardless of numbers — could be added to the threatened or endangered list. The bill would, however, allow species to be removed from the list.

Whether mammals sweat or pant, heat gets us all down

You’re not the only species suffering in this summer’s dog days. Farm animals overheat much the same way you do, according to the Maryland Farm Bureau.     So Maryland farmers get creative to keep their charges cool.     You can’t sweat like a pig because, like dogs and cats, pigs don’t sweat. The species’ natural remedy, mud, not only cools them down but also works like sunscreen.

After an active spring, the native mosquito populations
are naturally declining. But not the Asian tiger mosquito.

A rainy March and April kept mosquito slappers busy.     “We had populations in larger numbers than expected this spring,” says Mike Cantwell, chief of Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Mosquito Control Program. “High rainfall brought out exceptionally large broods of woodland species. But these are single-generation species. Once they’re done, you don’t see them until next year.”

Download your widget and find out who’s out there

You may need to get down on your hands and knees for this one.         And you will definitely need your computer or smart phone.     Bee counting has gone hi-tech.

Disneyland Mousers get housing, food, health care — and a job

The cat’s out of the bag. And Calvert’s feral cats may be out of a home.         After nine mostly quiet years, Calvert County’s feral cat sanctuary is roiled by the national debate on birds vs. feral cat colonies. Now the county is divided over whether the managed population of cats should be allowed to stay on the county-owned tree farm in Prince Frederick — or be kicked out to fates unknown.