Lecture 17 – Natural History Frontenac Axis
Frontenac Axis: is part of the Canadian Shield. The Adirondacks are part of the same
range/type of rocks. The Thousand Islands is also part of this same rock type.
Rock types: (a) Granite (no bands – like gneissic would have) – no bubbling with acid.
(b) Gneissic rock (bands) – no bubbling with acid.
***Therefore will find acidic loving plants, not calciphilic.
It is the warmest part of the Great Lake St. Lawrence on the Canadian Shield. This is due to
being near water St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario (weak lake effect) and it is the most
southern area of the Canadian Shield.
Northern Plants and Mammals: acidic ferns (Rock Polypody) underside of the ferns have
spore masses called fruit dots. Marginal Shield Fern. Martens, fishers, Red Squirrels and
occasionally Eastern Wolves. The forests are dominantly hardwood forests, containing
Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, and Eastern Hemlock (in cooler areas). Pine Siskin (small finch)
exploit seeds in cones. White pines are here too. Scarlet Tanager, Pileated Woodpecker,
Gray Tree Frogs, Barred Owl, Chipmunks, Snowshoe Hare.
We start to see plants and animals not from the north!
Southern Plants & Animals in the Frontenac Axis: White Oak, Shagbark Hickory (bark is
actually shaggy on this tree) they have large nuts, southern shrubs (Bladdernut, Prickly Ash
– an important plant as Giant Swallowtail caterpillars feed on them, the butterflies lay their
eggs on the plants).
Giant Swallowtail: have the defensive osmeterium. They expanded north, due to the
change in temperature (1 degree change) allowing the caterpillars to survive the
winter. They lay their eggs on Prickly Ash (caterpillars feed on them). Eastern
Amberwing (small dragonfly).
Grey Squirrels: scatter hoard (have two color morphs: black and grey). Southern
squirrels as they like to eat larger tree nuts. Sometimes they have large populations
explosions, expanding to Algonquin Dome, but they never survive.
Eastern Cottontail: Snowshoe Hare vs. Cottontail Rabbit: ears and feet of the
Cottontail are smaller and the Snowshoe hare has a white winter coat.
** The Frontenac Axis contains more Carolinian species then