When the rains first soak the soil
after a very long dry season…
photo and note by Eric Jackson
When the parched soil is moistened again, dormant insects begin to hatch and emerge. If you are a gecko it’s a holiday feast. If you write in front of a computer screen for your living you might find it annoying. What happens after a particularly brutal El Niño dry season? The timing and order by which things first emerge is clearly affected. The winged ants usually come first, but the June bugs that usually come a bit later are also starting to appear at the same time. Did the extreme drought kill very many hibernating insects? Will the feeding of birds and frogs, and the pollination of plants, be affected? It’s hard to imagine the drought from which we are emerging not having a ripple effect through many an ecological niche, but surely this would be such a complex effect on so many players and factors that it would not be so easy to fully understand, let alone to reliably predict.