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Permanent Wetlands: Rainbow River Springs

Updated: Apr 25

April 6th 2022

9158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432


The winding stream of Rainbow River is iconic. Although the landscape has drastically changed over the years, volunteers fight to maintain its beautiful scenery. Comprised of green mossy hammocks and sapphire-blue waters., you can paddle up the river, or take a dip at the spring head. I took this research opportunity to spend the day paddling with a friend. We both enjoyed coasting with the stream and keeping our eyes peeled for new or unusual findings.


Type of Habitat: Permanent Wetland

Weather: Partly cloudy with light sprinkles

Air Temperature: 87° F

Water Temperature: 73.3° F


See all of my observations from Rainbow Springs on iNaturalist



 

I Notice, I wonder, It Reminds me of

Two observations of note were the possible Musk Turtle and Florida Apple Snail eggs.


This turtle was a shock when i noticed it. It was so still, I almost thought it may be a yard ornament. I paddled closer to identify it. At first I though it was a softshell because of the size and flipper like feet, but upon study I noticed it did not have the flat shell of a softshell, nor the long nose. I also noticed the back of the domed shell has the octagon-type shell pattern. The lack of yellow in the shell and feet assured me it was not a typical cooter that you usually see sunbathing along the river. Because of the dome and dark color of the shell, I believe it is a Musk Turtle, but I'm still unsure because of the shear size. I would have a better chance of identifying it if I were able to see the face, but it eventually slipped back into the water successfully keeping its identity hidden.'



Hugging the bank to watch the turtle, I noticed these little white-pinkish eggs which I immediately recognized from our lectures to be Florida Apple Snail eggs. There were several clumps stuck to the bricks, and surrounding grass. At first look they seemed bright white with a pearly glisten in the sun, but when the sun shaded, they gave a slight pink hue. This told me they were the Florida Apple Snail eggs, and not the invasive Apple Snail, since the invasive eggs look very bubblegum pink. The individual eggs themselves also seemed a little larger than the bright pink invasive eggs I have seen in the past. I was very excited to see these Florida Apple Snail eggs, because I have only ever seen the invasive eggs before.


All photos and videos seen have been taken by myself.

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