Biodiversity Wednesday: Flesh eaters of the Savanna

Red-cockaded Woodpecker in Croatan Forest. Photograph by Andrew David Thaler.

The wet, temperate understory of a longleaf pine savanna, is not the first place one would thing to search for some of nature’s most fearsome predators. These maritime ecosystems stretch down the Atlantic seaboard, from southern Virginia to northern Georgia, but are most common in North and South Carolina. Boomerang-shaped bays, called Carolina bays, formed behind ancient sand dunes, provide the foundation for these biodiversity rich regions. More than 50 endangered species are native to the Carolina lonfleaf pine savannas, including the Cape Fear Threetoothed land snail and the iconic Red-cockaded Woodpecker, but among the most evocative inhabitants of these pocosin wild-lands are the many-jawed monsters of the the understory – the Venus Flytrap.

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