How does life respond to the dramatic event of a total solar eclipse?

I'm hearing stories about how the eclipse will cause animals to have unusual behaviors. I think it might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm curious, too. I don't think my dog is going to freak out and suddenly start speaking English, but I'm sure organisms that are sensitive to light (and subtle temp) changes will have a reaction. Someone suggested the birds will sing evening calls. I'm not a birder, so I wouldn't recognize a morning call from an evening call. I'm not really sure what to expect from the species around me, so I thought I'd look into it. Turns out, I'm in good company! There is an iNat project for this exact thing!! It's called Life Responds: Total Solar Eclipse 2017, found here: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/life-responds-total-solar-eclipse-2017

Here's a blurb from the project info:


How does life respond to the dramatic event of a total solar eclipse?

There is some evidence that plant and animal life react to the environmental changes that occur during a total solar eclipse. As the sky darkens and the temperature drops, birds reportedly stop singing, spiders may tear down their webs, and gray squirrels retreat to their dens, among other observed behaviors. Much of these reports, however, are anecdotal or documented with captive animals.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States, from coast to coast. The Academy invites citizen scientists like you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior.


There are detailed instructions on the project page if you are interested. Despite being in an area with only 75% totality, I'll be observing my yard. I have Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunias) in my yard, which has flowers that last only one day. I expect they will fall off during the eclipse, but I'm more curious to see if new ones open in the afternoon. Maybe my Portulaca pilosa will also rebloom. I wonder if the moths and other night creatures will respond to a UV light? Hmmm... .maybe I'll put one out. Either way, I expect to experience the eclipse, not just watch it on TV. (I won't be using glasses to look at the eclipse -- I had severe loss of vision for 30 years and paid thousands of dollars for Lasik, so the risk is not even a question.)

Will any of you be watching for nature to react during the eclipse?

Lähettänyt kimberlietx kimberlietx, 20. elokuuta 2017 21:40

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As I suspected, the DFW viewing was less than eventful. My son tracked a 1 degree temperature change, and it looked more like a cloud had passed over than the sun was 75% obstructed. My Ruellia lost 1 of the 3 blooms right at peak eclipse. Skipper butterflies picked up afterward. Other than that, it was a typical day. I've uploaded my observations to the project, and I'll be peeking at some that were in the path of totality. Hope you all enjoyed it too!

Lähettänyt kimberlietx melkein 5 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

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