After that as well as a tour of some of the more charismatic insects in the collection (yes, there are walking stick insects as long as your arm) lead us to then see some of the creatures at work - to the bird collection where dermestid (flesh eating) beetles were busy cleaning a variety of different skeletons, including a primate skull (!)
As you can see from the photos, it these tiny beetles live in a odorous environment to say the least...
Corrie then talked about the work her and others do in the Pritzker Molecular Biology labs, including sequencing the DNA of the ants from far and wide: Madagascar, Australia, and perhaps most exotic of all - Florida.
It was an excellent visit. We didn't get to see all 14 million specimens, but we made a dent with a least a few hundred - no doubt the best ones.
There was a good line on 30 Rock last night about Liz Lemon's relationship with her boss, Jack Donaghy. A great example of mutualism!
It's a symbiotic relationship. I'm a mighty great white shark, Lemon, and you are a remora, clinging to me with your suction cup head. I give you a free ride and in exchange you, uh... eat my parasites.
This is a recently published article about how bees use advanced math to determine the shortest path from food source to food source. I posted it because it reminded me of what we learned about how ants use trigonmetry to find their way back to their nest. Interesting!
The Midwest's finest news source, The Onion, can always be relied upon for the latest entomological buzz, including this article on the worry cockroaches are feeling over the emergent bedbug problem throughout the US.
The article reports cockroach King Leopold stating:
"We must not allow this ignoble parasite to usurp our rightful place as the most feared and reviled pest in all the land," continued Leopold, raising four of his six legs to the sky and shaking his scepter. "Scurry forth, my countrymen, and let our unmatched ability to repel be known!"
I have doubts on the taxonomic identity of the "maggot" shown in the interview section here - suspect it is a beetle larvae for some reason pretending to be Dipteran youth?
Yes, this is pretty much almost a second pair of huge eyes on the top of this mayfly's head, called "turbinate eyes." Given they live for only 24 hours, can you think of why natural selection may have favored the evolution of this trait?
taken by Laurie Knight, Tonbridge, Kent, UK, Turbinate eyes of male mayfly (10x)
Check out another nice photo of this other-worldly morphology here.
Well This year's Nikon's Small World Photomicrography Competition had many stunning images submitted this year with a whole host of fantastical winners, including quite a few from - you guessed it - the insect world. Check out some of them below:
The Grand prize Winner! Seems like Nikon judges favor a certain aesthetic formalism?
Vanderbilt University, Department of Biological Sciences
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Anopheles gambiae (mosquito) heart (100x)
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Ichneumon wasp compound eye and antenna base (40x)
La Spezia, SP, Italy
Wasp nest (10x)
Dr. Tomas Cabello
Universidad of Almería
Roquetas de Mar, Spain
Apterous Aphis fabae (black bean aphid) female with offspring inside the body (40x)
To see many of the other stunning winners, browse the gallery!
I debated whether or not to post this. Perhaps it's a bit risque. But I figured, since we've been learning about sexual behavior and patterns of insects, and since one of our new orders this week was Phthiraptera, I might as well go for it.
There is a website called CrabRevenge.com and it offers just that. You can order a vial of lice for the purpose of getting revenge on your ex by setting them loose on their bedsheets or underwear drawers. Although, really, you could get revenge on anyone this way. Those little guys don't discriminate.
I just found it entertaining to compare the sexual behavior of insects, which is completely driven by procreation, and that of our own species, often driven by...let's go with, pride.
i am most fascinated with hymenopteras. mainly because of ants. i think ants are crazy. you dont mess with ants or they will mess you up by the tens of thousands. they build cities underground that we have no clue about, and they take on anything they can eat. im also terrified of hymenopteras. bees, wasps, and hornets. i havent been stung many times in my life, but the times i have were very unpleasant.