The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Explorations in the Borderlands, 2002

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I have to tell you about the cranberry site.

Dave and I next spent time navigating around some old sandy Pine Barrens roads looking for plants. We came up mostly empty at our first site, which looked like it was a victim of the usual 1-2 punch of fire suppression (resulting in abnormally high fuel loads on the ground) followed by the inevitable sterilizing fire because of all the fuel. The community of plants was all goofy and probably needed either active corrective management or a long time on its own.

The second site was a set of old fallow cranberry bogs. They were now ideal for Utricularia striata and stemmy Drosera intermedia. Dave and I pulled some old plywood out of the bogs, and Dave even found a traumatized S. purpurea under one of the sheets. Further searching resulted in more Sarracenia, and soon we had found the usual set of Pine Barrens carnivores. It was a pleasure to see them recolonizing this abandoned bog that had once been mutated to purely agricultural goals.

But then, the ticks came.

I found about five on me--three big dog ticks and two little tiny deer ticks (if our identifications were correct). But Dave, man, he was a tick magnet! We started pulling them off his pants, his shirt, his socks, his shoes. I am not engorging the details when I tell you he had at least twenty ticks crawling on him. Every time we thought we got them all, we found another. The weirdest thing is that they were all on his right side. None on the left pant leg or left sleeve.

Why was I relatively uninvaded? Was it just that Dave had the misfortune to have walked, right side forwards, through a tick metropolis? Or was the residual soap on my skin from the morning's unsuccessful shower providing me tick-protection? Or was there something deeply wrong about Dave's death-goth soul that meant ticks sought him out?

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005