Nature Where You Are: The Surprising Ways Bass Affects Plants Around Ponds

In nature, things are often connected in surprising ways, according to the book “Still Waters”.

Bass affects the amount of fruit that grows on plants around the ponds in which they live. To find out more about this, I spoke to “Still Waters” author Curt Stanger.

“There are very close ecological connections between the world of a pond and the world of a forest or grassland around it that we don’t often notice unless we’re paying attention,” Stanger said. “If you look at the life around the pond, you might see some beautiful wildflowers and there are lots of pollinating insects there and they help the plants reproduce. But you might also notice, if you sit there for a while dragonflies and maybe even damselflies kind of fly in a helicopter around the edge of the pond and there’s some hunting among the flowers to catch some of those bugs that pollinate the flowers.

Dragonflies are near perfect aerial predators. When they decide to kill, they have an almost 95% success rate which makes them one of the most efficient predators on Earth. A large number of dragonflies keeps the number of pollinating insects low.

When plants around ponds are not pollinated, they do not produce fruit, and without fruit they cannot reproduce to start the next generation. So with dragonflies you have fewer fruiting plants.

“So what does this have to do with the pond?” Stanger asked. “Well, it turns out that what we think of as dragonflies, are actually just the last stage of an animal that spends most of its life underwater inside the pond. So their real story is in there.

If a dragonfly’s true story begins underwater in a pond, I guess that’s where I’d start looking.

A bass can eat a third of its weight every day, and that’s a lot of dragonfly nymphs. Top predators patrolling the water, devouring aquatic insects, means fewer dragonfly nymphs mature into adults with fewer flying killing machines.

If there are more pollinating insects, more pollinating insects means more plants will be pollinated and ultimately produce more fruit.

This is one of the reasons why I think nature is so amazing. It shows how everything is somehow connected.

A bass, living its life at the bottom of a pond, can have effects on a world of which it is not even aware by simply existing. It shapes an entire ecosystem.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Northern Michigan, you’ve probably noticed some of your own connections to nature, and it reminds us that we’re all connected on this giant organism we call Earth.

About Charles Holmes

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