Biodiversity in Minnesota By: Walker Pearson Elk (Cervus canadensis) Description: Elk are the second largest members of the deer family behind moose. They will stand up to 5 feet at the shoulder. Elk have short tails, only about 3 to 8 inches. Their backs are brownish to tan above, somewhat reddish during the summer, and their underside is darker. Males especially appear to have thick necks with a dark brown mane on their throat region. Reproduction: Usually involve 1 or more attempts in mating. The offspring weigh 30-35 pounds. They are old enough to join a heard after two weeks of being born. Food: Their diets vary depending on the season. Tree bark in the winter, forbs and tree sprouts during the summer. Predators: Wolves, Coyote and Cougar, and Brown and Black Bears. Habitat: Elk live in a variety of habitats, from rainforests to alpine meadows and dry desert valleys to hardwood forests. Population: Today, about one million elk live in the western United States, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, and from Ontario west in Canada Diseases: Chronic wasting disease. Fun Facts: 1.Male antlers that shed each year. 2. They are one of the largest species of deer in the world.3. They are one of the largest land mammals in north america. Hunted: Season starts 09/15/12- 12/9/12. Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Description: Long reddish-yellow to grayish-green legs. Feathers are generally blackish and dark brown overall. Males have gobblers. Reproduction: Male turkeys will get females attention. Less than half of all nesting attempts are successful. Peak hatching period is from about May 20 to June 10. If the first nest is destroyed, some hens make another one in a different location. Food: Wild turkeys are omnivores, foraging on the ground or climbing shrubs and small trees to feed. Predators: Some predators that raid turkey nests include Raccoons, Red Foxes, Striped Skunks, crows, snakes, Virginia Opossums, chipmunks, and squirrels. Young turkeys have many predators as well. Raccoons, foxes, snakes, owls, hawks, and other large birds will kill them. Habitat: They live in tall grassy areas with a lot of trees. Population: Minnesota's wild turkey population is more than 30,000. Diseases: Avian Pox. Fun Facts: 1.There are approximately 5,500 feathers on an adult wild turkey.2. The average lifespan of a wild turkey is 3-5 years, and the oldest known wild turkey lived to be at least 13. 3. A wild turkey’s gobble can be heard up to one mile away. Hunted: Turkey season is Saturday, Sept. 29, to Sunday, Oct. 28. Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) Description: Painted turtles are brightly marked. They have a smooth shell and about 90 to 250 mm long head. Reproduction: Mating begins after hibernation and before feeding begins when the water temperatures are still low. Food: Fish, carrion, insects, leaves, algae and macrolage. Predators: Raccoons, northern river otters, American minks, and red fox. Habitat: Regions are temperate and freshwater. Aquatic biomes are lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Wetlands are marsh and swamp. Population: Painted turtle prefer living in freshwater that is quiet, shallow, and has thick layer of mud. Diseases: They can carry human diseases. Fun Facts: The painted turtle is the most Hunted: Painted turtles do not have a season just to hunt them. But humans will catch them as a pet or even to eat. Black Bull Head (Ameiurus melas) Description: General description: Bullheads have barbels, spiny fins, a broad head, and no scales. You can distinguish the black bullhead from other bullheads because its barbels are black and it has a light crescent near its tail fin. Size: This is the smallest of Minnesota bullheads. It averages 6 to 10 inches long, and seldom weighs more than 1 pound. Minnesota's record black bullhead, caught in Reno Lake in Pope County, weighed 3 pounds, 13 ounces. Color: The black bullhead has a black back and is white or yellow underneath. Reproduction: Bullheads spawn in April through June. The female lays 2,000 to 6,000 eggs in a shallow hole she scoops out on the bottom of the lake. The male cares for the eggs. After the young hatch a week or so after the eggs are laid, both parents look out for them for a couple of weeks. Food: Insects, snails, fish, clams, crayfish, fish eggs, plants--you name it, bullheads will eat it. Predators: Walleyes, northern pike and other predatory fish eat bullheads up to four inches long. Some anglers eat large black bullheads. Habitat: Bullheads prefer shallow lakes and slow-moving streams with a soft bottom. They are found through much of Minnesota especially the south and west. They can live in warm muddy water that is low in oxygen. Population: Bullheads are abundant and are in no danger of overharvest. Many people like to catch bullheads because they put up a good fight and are good to eat. Diseases: Ranaviruses are considered a serious threat to lower vertebrates, including fish. Fun Facts: Bullheads have up to 100,000 taste buds scattered all over their bodies. Many are found on their barbels. Scientists believe that this well-developed sensory ability helps bullheads find food in muddy, dark water. Hunted: The black bullhead is abundant, therefore fishing is open all year and the bag limit is 100. Range of the Black Bullhead Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) Description: Bark-Is thick, deeply furrowed on surface with irregular platelike broken scales often slightly tinged with red. Leaves- Simple, alternate on stem, length 6" to 12"; crowded at ends of twigs; has pair of deep indentations near base and wavy notches on broad middle and upper portions; shiny, dark green turning yellow or brown in autumn. Description cont.: Fruit- Acorn set deeply or almost enclosed in a fringed cup; diameter may reach 1" or more, it varies widely in respect to size and how big the nut is enclosed in the mossy fringed cup; seed is bitter. Seed Disbursement: Bur oak acorns are animal dispersed. Animals carry them to different locations. Diseases: Bur oak blight. A fungus caused disease. Economic Uses: The wood is of high quality, and is almost always marketed as "white oak". Bur oaks are popular for landscaping designs. Fun Fact: The bur oak is among the most fire-tolerant tree species. Range of Bur Oak Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum) Description: Large, bright reddish- orange flower at top of 2' stem, numerous narrow leaves, the upper leaves arranged in whorls. When it Flowers: Wood lily blooms in July. Uses: Many tribes gathered the bulbs of wood lily for food and medicine. The bulbs are said to have an excellent flavour. Fun Fact: Its status is "threatened" in Kentucky and Ohio. "Wild Turkey Hunting." : Minnesota DNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/turkey/index.html>. "Elk Hunting." : Minnesota DNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/elk/index.html>. "Fishes of Minnesota: Black Bullhead: Minnesota DNR." Fishes of Minnesota: Black Bullhead: Minnesota DNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish/blackbullhead.html>. "Painted Turtle: Minnesota DNR." Painted Turtle: Minnesota DNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/turtles/painted.html>. "Bur Oak (Quercus Macrocarpa)." Bur Oak: Minnesota DNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/trees_shrubs/deciduous/buroak.html>. "Wood Lily (Lilium Philadelphicum Var. Andinum)." Wood Lily: Minnesota DNR. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wildflowers/woodlily.html>. "Painted Turtle." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Sept. 2012. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_turtle>. "Black Bullhead." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 June 2012. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_bullhead>. "Native Plant Database." Lilium Philadelphicum (Wood Lily). N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. <http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=LIPH>.
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