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California And Giant Sequoias

The week before last (09-19 thru 09-26) I went to California to visit some of my wife's family.
While there we went to Sequoia State Park to see the giant Sequoia trees. They are absolutely beyond belief.
Pictures just don't do them justice. You have to see them in person to appreciate their true enormity. Yes, I realize these are not arthropods. However, I thought some of you might enjoy seeing some of the pics since these are truly a wonder of nature.

Giant Forest Lodge and museum area.


Inside the museum.


Random Sequoia.


The Sentinel.


The Sentinel.


The Sentinel.


The Sentinel.


Giant Forest Lodge and museum area.


This is a burl on the side of a random Sequoia tree. It's bigger than a truck tire!


BEAR!!


BEAR!!


If a tree falls across the trail don't re-route the trail. Just cut a hole through the tree.


General Sherman. The largest living thing on planet Earth.


General Sherman.


General Sherman.


General Sherman.


General Sherman.


General Sherman.


General Sherman.


General Sherman.


Limb from General Sherman (notice the woman on the other side on the right. HUGE limb).


Fire damage on General Sherman.


General Sherman. The black spots are actually lightning strikes. The spots are huge but appear small due to the gigantic size of General Sherman.


General Sherman.

Thanks for sharing these photos, Sam -
This reminds me of some of the insects (many spp. found but role of most seems to be little known) that play a role in the life of giant sequoias: Sequoiadendron cones remain green on the tree for many years without releasing seeds. The cerambycid Phymatodes nitidus:

(photo by Joyce Gross)
is one of a number of organisms aiding in seed dispersal. The larva's burrowing, and feeding activities sever enough of the tiny vessels transporting water to the cone scales, they shrink as part of the cone dries, and seed release follows. The larva feed on the flesh of the cone but seem to leave feeding on the flesh but seem to leave the seeds (~200 seeds/ cone). This has been described by Ronald E. Stecker (Ch. 6-7 in Harvey, Shellhammer, & Stecker. 1980. Giant Sequoia Ecology - Fire and Reproduction. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, NPS; also Hartesfeldt, Harvey, Shellhammer, & Stecker. 1975. The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, NPS).
Those books were among my early resources for interpreting the ecology of the Giant Sequoias when guiding European visitors.
Some other insects, with various raltionships to the trees - just to mention a few with photos on BG & other sites:
The Scarab Dichelonyx vicina
The Curculionoid Apion sp. (probably not those pictured)
The Bostrichid beetle Scobicia declivis
5 spp. of Leafhoppers, incl. Idiocerus nervatus
As many as 100 of the Bombyliid fly Villa alternata were observed flying about the crown of the Castro tree.
For those interested in the long list, I just found an NPS page taken from the Appendix of Harvey, Shellhammer, and Stecker (1980, op. cit):
Insects associated with Giant Sequoias

 
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Thanks for the info Hartmut!! Very cool!!

Awesome!
I would love to go there. If I weren't afraid of heights, I would love to climb up and see the gardens in the trees.

It's just remarkable that around 85% of the Sequoia population was cut down by logging. Check out National Geographic for an issue on the trees. They also made a companion TV special for it. Really awesome.

 
....
Yeah, the museum had stuff about cutting them down. What I'm curious about is there's no telling what they cut down or how old they were. I find it hard to believe and difficult to understand why we humans would go in and start logging such astonishing trees.

 
Nice series Sam...
If memory serves me right, I think more than 80% of the original old growth was logged before the forest became a national park.

 
Thanks Scott!
As far as logging Sequoias....I just don't get it.

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