biodiversity in minnesota by: hailey oachs. american coot (fulica americana)

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  • Biodiversity in MinnesotaBy: Hailey Oachs

  • American Coot (Fulica americana)

  • DescriptionMale and Female, the American coot is a dark, duck-like bird. You can recognize it by its chicken-like white bill, red eye, and small red spot at the top of its bill.

  • Size, Color and SoundsSize: Coots are about 15 inches long.Color: Black and dark grey, white edge on their wings, white under their tail. Legs and feet are green.Sounds: Coots make many different noises. Sometimes its a ku-ku-ku sound. They also grunt, cluck, and croak.

  • ReproductionCoots build floating nests in marshes or shallow lakes. The female lays 9-12 eggs, light with brown spots. The eggs hatch after 21-25 days. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the young. The young fledge at about 50-55 days. Coots raise only one brood per year.

  • FoodCoots eat a variety of food such as insects and plants, ducking down on the waters surface, diving to the bottom, even nibbling on land.

  • PredatorsAmerican Coots have a certain sound to warn other birds of predators. They will also splash around in the water to discourage predators. They are preyed upon osprey and bald eagles as adults. Eggs and nestlings are preyed upon by raccoons, skunks, coyotes, snapping turtles, and many other small predators.

  • HabitatThe American Coot is a popular resident of the semi- open water in marshes, lakes and ponds. As well as rivers with similar vegitation.

  • Population

  • DiseasesNo know diseases.

  • Fun FactsCoots are not very good at taking off in flight.They migrate as far as Central America.They only fly short distances at a time.

  • Hunting RegulationsYou must be 16 years of age or older.You must have a firearms license, permit to carry.You also need a small game license.

  • Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis)

  • DescriptionThe lynx is a medium sized cat with long legs, large, well-furred paws, long tufts on the ears, and a short black tipped tail. It has very thick light brown or grey fur with black spots.

  • ReproductionDuring mating season, the male will follow the female. Lynx mate between February and March. Two months after mating, the female will give birth to 1-6 kittens. The kittens have soft streaked and spotted fur.

  • FoodAbout 75% of the lynxs diet is made up of the snowshoe hare. It also eats birds, meadow voles, carrion and sometimes larger animals like deer and caribou. Lynx often store leftover kill by covering it with snow.

  • Predators and HabitatPredators: The lynx is threated by loosing their natural habitat. The lack of guidance to conserve the species in current federal land management plans.Habitat: Lynx live deep in coniferous forests near rocky areas, bogs and swamps.

  • Population and DiseasesPopulation: The range of the lynx include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.Diseases: Lynx are prone to pneumonia.

  • Fun FactsLynx are very territorial and solitary. In the 1970s and 1980s the threat to lynx from trapping reached a new height when the price for hides rose to as much as 600.00 each.The link between the lynx and the hare is so tight in the north that the two species populations fluctuate in almost perfect synchrony.

  • Hunting RegulationsThe lynx cannot be hunted at the present time. They are on the verge of becoming endangered.

  • Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • DescriptionTrout have very small, fine scales on their torpedo-shaped body. They have silvery sides with a horizontal pinkish band that varies in intensity in different populations. The back is bluish to greenish with black spots on the back and sides. Rainbows have no teeth on the tongue. Rainbow trout belong to the family of fish known as salmon and are characterized by adipose fins and by an axillary process at the base of each pelvic fin. The caudal fin is not forked, and has radiating rows of black spots.

  • ReproductionThe trout of our mountain areas such as the Sierra Nevada are resident; that is they do not make long migrations to spawning grounds as do salmon and trout of many coastal streams. An interesting thing to note is the fact that the salmon spawn once and die, while trout may spawn for several successive seasons.

  • FoodTrout are predators with a varied diet, and will eat nearly anything they can grab. Their image as selective eaters is only a legend. Trout are not quite as aggressive as brown trout or lake trout. Young Trout survive on insects, fish eggs, and smaller fish (up to 1/3 of their length), along with crayfish and other crustaceans. As they grow, though, the proportion of fish increases in most all populations. Some lake-dwelling lines may become planktonic feeders. While in flowing waters populated with salmonids, trout eat varied fish eggs, including salmon and cutthroat trout, as well as the eggs of other trout, alevin, fry, smollt and even leftover carcasses.

  • Predators Trout populations have declined due to human and natural causes.

  • HabitatMany trout live in just a short stretch of streamwe call this home area a trouts habitat. Trout need just a few basic things to survive: cold water, clean water, food to eat, places to hide from predators, and clean gravel to lay their eggs in. All the land around a stream that drains into a stream is called that streams watershed. Trout are affected by what happens in their whole watershed, because something that happens on the land can change one of those things they need in their stream habitat.

  • PopulationImproved soil conservation techniques and reduced erosion mean cleaner water and more trout with less stocking. It also means that there are more trout available now than at any time in the past 30 years. According to more than 2,400 DNR fish population surveys, the trout population in southeastern Minnesota has tripled since 1970 and the average number of browns more than 12 inches long increased from 26 per stream mile in the 1970s to 55 in the 1990s. But a general population increase doesn't guarantee good fishing every time. Trout populations still tend to fluctuate from year to year as floods and other factors affect natural reproduction. Three other factors: growth, fishing pressure, and habitat also affect trout populations, especially the number of large trout. Good growth and suitable habitat are needed for streams to support larger fish. Also, heavy fishing pressure and harvest can have a negative effect on trout size and numbers.

  • Diseases Sea lice is the common term used for one group of parasitic caligid copepods which occur naturally on fish world-wide. Most are planktonic, while others are found living in the sediments. Some species are specialized to live as parasites, on or in host organisms at some stage in the lifecycle, although one or more stages are free-living as plankton in the water, usually during the early stages of development.

  • Fun FactsThe trout is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains, but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world.They are members of the salmon family and, like their salmon cousins, can grow quite large. They prefer cool, clear rivers, streams, and lakes, though some will leave their freshwater homes and follow a river out to the sea.

  • Fishing RegulationsStream trout Fishing Opener (mid-May) to October 31.Lake trout Fishing opener (mid-May) to September 30.

  • Range of Trout in MN

  • Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

  • DescriptionBullfrogs are usually green to greenish-brown. Sometimes, partoicularly when found in the South, they are spotted. Their eyes are gold or brown and they have a broad flat head and body. They grow on average to be about 3 and a half to 6 inches (9-15 cm) long in bodylength (although there are records of some as big as 8 inches!!), legs add another 7-10 inches (17 - 25cm) to lenght! Females have an eardrum the same size as their eye. Males eardrums are larger.

  • ReproductionFertilization is external in ranid frogs. In the mating grasp the male rides on top of the female, grasping her with his forelimbs posterior to her forelimbs. The female bullfrog deposits her eggs in the water and the male is constantly releasing sperm.Breeding begins in late spring or early summer. Males defend and call from territories, attracting females into a territory to mate. The call is reminiscent of the roar of a bull, hence the frog's common name. A female may produce up to 20,000 eggs in one clutch.

  • FoodStomach content studies going back to 1913 suggest the bullfrog preys on any animal it can overpower and stuff down its throat. Bullfrog stomachs have been found to contain rodents, small turtles, snakes, frogs (including bullfrogs), birds, and a bat, as well as the many invertebrates, such as insects, which are the usual food of bullfrogs.

  • PredatorsPredators of young bullfrogs include snakes, turtles, fish and birds. Older bullfrogs can be taken by water birds such as herons, and even raccoons. However, there are far fewer predators of the mature bullfrog, which is why their population is so strong.

  • HabitatBullfrogs tend to live in freshwater ponds, lakes and swampy areas.Breeding habitat: Breeding occurs in permanent bodies of water.Summer habitat: This highly aquatic frog prefers large bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, sluggish streams, and backwaters of rivers. Although introduced local populations occur in several counties in central and southern Minnesota, this species is on