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How Toxic Grass Puts Animals to Sleep

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Photo of Andrea Jani collecting arthropods from sleepy grass in Lincoln National Forest, N.M.

Microbes called fungal endophytes turn needle grass toxic. The plant is known as "sleepy grass" for its sedating effects on animals. Researchers are studying these endophytes because of their impact on livestock grazing and native grasslands restoration. Here, graduate student Andrea Jani collects arthropods from sleepy grass (Achnatherum robustum) in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico, using the Burkhard Vortis suction sampler.

Credit: Stan Faeth, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina Greensboro


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Photo of researchers sampling arthropods from sleepy grass with the Burkhard Vortis suction sampler.

Sampling arthropods from sleepy grass (Achnatherum robustum) in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico, with the Burkhard Vortis suction sampler. From left to right, principal investigator Stan Faeth, technician Sally Wittlinger and graduate student Andrea Jani. The sleepy grass (and Andrea's arm) are covered with lady bird beetles.

Credit: Stan Faeth, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina Greensboro


Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (462 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.