Carleton’s Arb houses a plethora of species. It is difficult — impossible really — to determine all of the species that inhabit the Arb. Many have been observed, but despite intensive searching, many can easily avoid detection.
Some species may be difficult to find due to their biological characteristics. For example, the Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) live in areas north, south, east and west of Northfield. Carleton contains appropriate flying squirrel habitat, yet flying squirrels have not been confirmed in the Arb. Flying squirrels could be absent, but their nocturnal lifestyle and small size might allow them to inhabit the Arb unbeknownst to us. Species might be difficult to identify or rare in the Arb, providing more potential reasons for a lack of documentation.
The Arb website contains lists of known Arb plants, animals and fungi. To supplement this information, the Arb has an iNaturalist project. Anybody can sign up for a free iNaturalist account and submit observations of any species that they find. The Arboretum iNaturalist project aggregates all Arb iNaturalist observations. So far, the project has recorded over 5,500 observations of 1,777 species. These data help determine species presence, abundance and location. Sign up for an iNaturalist account, join the Arb project and help us better understand which species inhabit the Arb. Every observation matters!
As climate change affects species ranges and as more inconspicuous and hard-to-identify species are found, the Arb will continue to record new species. By submitting iNaturalist observations, you can increase our collective understanding of what occupies the Arb. Flying squirrels glide into the future, but is that future at Carleton? With people like you searching for species in the Arb, hopefully it will be.
Photo caption: Photographing Edwards’ Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii) on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in the Arb to report to iNaturalist. Photo by Nancy Braker ’81.
Avery Blumenthal ‘23, for the Cole Student Naturalists
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