Into the woods

In this assignment, my teacher asked each student from our class to investigate different species in the forest behind our school to identify their characteristics. We were also asked to investigate invasive species living in our forest and research their characteristics as well.

Invertebrate variations:


This invertebrate is not in fact a dragon fly but, it is a damselfly.  Damselflies are known to have a more slender body that resembles a thick needle. They rest their wings vertically and together instead of horizontally like a dragonfly. Their four wings are almost identical from the size to the shape and pattern of the veins. In comparison to dragonflies, damselflies fly considerably weaker, they are more delicate. Their thin body helps them turn their heads easier and maneuver easier around objects, overall helping them fly more freely. This helps them escape predators easier.

These invertebrates need to have water, like all living species do. Damselflies need water to be able to reproduce as well as their overall life cycle. This is why they choose to be located near water sources. They often tend to linger around low vegetation for prey such as mosquito larvae, water fleas and other small aquatic insects that they can hunt.

Female -> usually have a golden brown color, even on the wings.

Male -> usually have iridescent wings that contain some kind of colorful green, blue or purple body.

Fungus gnat:

From what I could tell after looking at this photo, the invertebrate that is resting on the edge of this dandelion is called a Fungus Gnat. Fungus Gnats are a tiny species of fly that tend to linger around wooded areas that contain flowers that they can rest on. They also live around rotting wood, animal waste, under bark of on over-watered plants. They infest soil and container media, this is where larvae feed on things such as roots, feeder roots and foot hairs. If these infestations are large enough, they could kill the plant. Their small body doesn’t need to help in protecting themselves from predators as the most common creature that feeds on them is parasitic wasps.

Wooded areas help their larvae because they feed on rotten organic materials such as wood, compost, leaves, rich soil and underground plant structures (they could end up damaging the plant roots).

Invasive plant species:

English Ivy:

  1. Where are they native to?

English Ivy’s are native to Europe.

  1. How were they first introduced?

English ivy was commonly planted to cover walls and fences but, they quickly became invasive and harmful to humans and its environment. They were also used to cover grounds in commercial landscapes.

  1. How has this species been flourishing in its environment?

This species specifically has been flourishing in its environment considering it doesn’t need much to multiply. It does well in many environments such as shadows, sunlight, not much water is needed and they grow fairly quickly. The ability to grow in the shade has made it even more of a struggle to take care of and slow down.

  1. How has it been causing ecological harm to its environment?

These plants can grow very quickly and become very harmful to its environment; densely growing over native plants and squishing them. It grows very rapidly with little water and is easy to multiply, making it harder to control and stop growth. It also doesn’t need much light, making it thrive in all kinds of environments. These plants are also harmful to humans when you physically come into contact with it. The livestock and sap from this plant can become irritating to the skin.

  1. How to control it.

To control this plant, you must physically remove it from its home; this is the most effective way to stop the spreading. The stems can be tough to break so you should use tools such as garden scissors. There are no thorns so it is easy to avoid getting pricked, but make sure to wear gloves to avoid irritating your skin. The roots are not very deep so they are fairly easy to pull out of the ground. When they get pulled out of the ground, they exit without leaving the stem with no root fragments are separated to ensure that they don’t spread.

Dandelions are another invasive species and were brought over by French colonizers and Europeans settlers. These flowers are native to Eurasia.
Dandelions are another invasive species and were brought over by French colonizers and Europeans settlers. These flowers are native to Eurasia.


application – iNaturalist

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