Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GET TO KNOW A BLOG: The Echinoblog

Well, the other day, I was going to do a post about one of my favorite marine invertebrates, the Sea Pig (Scotoplanes globosa), but ChrisM so thoroughly and perfectly covered it on his blog, The Echinoblog, which covers Echinoderms, that it renders any further blogging on my part to be utterly meaningless... on this subject.


Dawn of the Raccoons!


1. Raccoons are mammals in the family Procyonidae, along with Ringtails, Coatis, and Kinkajous.
2. The word Raccoon comes from an Algonquin (Native American) word, arahkun, which means "One who scratches with their hands".
3. Raccoons will eat all of your sandwiches.

Friday, December 18, 2009

All up in your grill with JUMPING SPIDERS

I have no memory of where I found these incredible close up pics of Jumping Spider faces (family Salticidae), but they're amazing and I wanted to share them with you. Let me know, if you know who the photographer is.


The jumping spider family (Salticidae) contains more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species,[2] making it the largest family of spiders with about 13% of all species.[3] Jumping spiders have good vision and use it for hunting and navigating. They are capable of jumping from place to place, secured by a silk tether. Both their book lungs and the tracheal system are well-developed, as they depend on both systems (bimodal breathing).
(Click here to read more...)

"Hair Pencils"? What?


So, in my ongoing attempts at blogging a growing interest in Lepidoptery... I GOT SOMETHING WRONG! The worst part is, I actually had learned years ago what the spots on the hindwings of a male Monarch Butterfly are called (Androconial Spots or Androconial Patches), and just plain forgot when I was writing about Monarchs earlier this year. I called them "Hair Pencils", which is a completely different structure, but in my defense, is also a structure used by male Lepidopterans to release scent chemicals, pheremones. Grrrrrrr.

Hair Pencil (image from TYWKIWDBI )

I could write a post about Hair Pencils, but MINNESOTAN over at TYWKIWDBI did a marvelous post on them back in October. CHECK IT OUT HERE

The black Androconial Spots are quite apparent on the hindwings of this male Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus).

Dude, its the whole UNIVERSE. You are blowing my mind!

from the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium:

"The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010."

I am a bad blogger!

I haven't been blogging here as much as I should have been lately. You know how life goes. New relationship, blah blah blah lost in love, relationship ends too depressed to blog, blah. Anyways, also if you think I got something wrong:

1. Don't be a snarky ass, I'm a freaking herpetologist, we can't all know everything
2. No, thats it rlly.
3. Here's a picture of an owl enjoying some Brandy and a cigar.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Apiary Love vol. 1: GREEN SWEAT BEES (Agapostemon spp.)

For my really quite insane friend KYTE.

Agapostemon sp.

As is probably obvious from the name, some Green Sweat Bees of the genus Agapostemon are known to lap sweat from the skin of surprised and annoyed humans. This is not necessarily their favorite ingestible, but human sweat can be an excellent source of salts and other minerals. The entire family Halictidae, in which the GSBs are placed are referred to as Sweat Bees. Like most bee species, Sweat Bees subsist primarily on flower nectar and pollen.

Agapostemon sp.

Bees of this genus are found through out the Americas, and can be metallic green or blue, often with striped abdomens. They mate and raise their young individually , but live in large group nests in the ground with a common entrance gallery. There may be 2 - 25 individual nests with in the colony. Just to be clear though, they do not maintain a colonial social structure (with a queen and workers, as do Honey Bees).

A. splendens

A. splendens

A. splendens up close and interested in your point of view

A. obliquus

A. sericeus

A. sericeus all in your business

A. virescens mating in the common entrance of a group burrow

A. virescens with a heavy pollen load on its hind legs

A. virescens cleaning its antennae after feeding

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Current Moth Obsession - Post 3 The family SATURNIIDAE

Luna moth (Actias luna)

Our friends, the Luna Moths are members of the family Saturniidae, which includes the world's largest moths. Saturniids are usually large moths with large feathery antennae that live for only short periods once they reach the adult stage (most of them lack mouths).

To find out more about this family, check out this WIKI article

Small Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)

Io moth (Automeris io)

Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis)

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

Rosy Maple Moth relaxing after a night at the club

Citheronia splendens

Citheronia up close and curious about your new IPOD

Current Moth Obsession - Post 2 The Face of the Luna Moth (Actias luna)

This gorgeous and large moth (up to 4 1/2 in.) is fairly well known by people interested in nature in North America, but we seldom take the time to really look at their little faces. As with most of the Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies), most of us tend to gaze at the wings and not look much further. Here's a gallery of Luna Moths, taking a closer look beneath the wings. You will notice a complete lack of a mouth, as Lunas only live for about a week once they metamorphose into adults and therefore don't ever feed... concentrating on reproduction.

This Luna disapproves of your choice of St. Augustine grass. It really isn't enviro-friendly, and the concept of lawns is so gauche.

Moths rely on their extremely sensitive antennae for chemo-reception (smell). Males have larger and more expansive antennae, as exemplified in this photo.

Chemoreception needs to be acute, as moths attract each other (often over great distances) using pheromones released into the air.

As with most moths, Lunas are more active at night, as the large eyes attest. They may still be seen during the day, however.

"Dude, I'm not pointing at you, its just what they do!"

A freshly emerged (from its cocoon) Luna Moth pumps fluid into its wings from its body, so that they may expand to full size and be used for flight. The whole process may take 2-4 hrs.

2 Lunas discuss the newly emerging linguistic trends in social networking sites.

"Dude, this chick totally smells like pachuli (sp?) and cheetos!"

Love is in the air, in the whisper of the wind. Love is in the airrrrrr... or perhaps just the biological imperative to pass on one's genetic code. Who's to say?


Current Moth Obsession - Post 1 Moth Blog

North American Moths

* Really, come on, how many moth blogs are there? She does an exceptional job of covering a vastly under-appreciated group of animals.