Thursday, April 7, 2011

Greater Gray Roller

I took a drive up to Campbell River, British Columbia this week and I thought I'd spend some time scouting for wild carts on the back streets of Campbelton on the northern edge of town. It's an area with some light industry, a few big box stores nearby, and plenty of empty lots and back alleys. In other words, prime cart hunting habitat.

Carts tend to be solitary macro-invertebrates so it took me a while before I spotted this Greater Gray Roller.

A Greater Gray Roller attempting to
blend in with its surroundings.
This wild cart is in the same genus as the Common Blue Roller but it's a larger, more imposing looking cart. Like the Common Blue, it is a predator but rather than waiting and ambushing prey it actively stalks it. And like the Common Blue, it is also an introduced species on Vancouver Island.

Some caution is required when viewing this large cart but during the day it is fairly easy to intimidate. Once confronted it will often wheel away into a side street or tuck behind a dumpster until the threat has moved on.

The large Greater Gray Roller - note the distinct
blue markings including a bright throat patch and blue tassels.
It is at night when Greater Gray Roller is more active that you are the most vulnerable - listen carefully for the tell-tale squeak of its front wheels if you happen to be roaming narrow side streets which are its preferred habitat.

Large and powerful, the striking blue throat patch, blue bar and tassels contrast with the dull gray of the body. This cart is easily separated from other less aggressive carts by its size and behaviour.

A gorgeous find and well worth the drive north to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

1 comment:

John Toft Basketry said...

The Eastern Species (Ottawensis capitilasis)are smaller but just as aggressive. Not only are they a danger to pedestrians, but damage to automobiles is common too.