Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to speed up their investigation of how to block the aquatic pathways between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes--a development that could save the Great Lakes from certain devastation. Considering the asian carp could eat enough plankton to irreversibly ruin the biodiversity of the largest fresh water bodies in the United States, I think these states are right.
The Supreme Court has denied two previous requests from Michigan to order closure of Chicago-area locks, but maybe this time they'll recognize the severity of this situation. There is much debate!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
20 minutes later, after the capacity-reached room all happily had their bowls of soup with fried crickets did the talk finally start. Even against all the excited chatter, I was enthralled, picking up on tidbits I did not know about. 80% of the world practices entomology with pleasure.. including Oaxacan, Venezuela and parts of China, peanut butter and chocolate can have insect parts in them, and they are economically, environmentally and nutritionally awesome for us folks. Sushi caught on, maybe insects will as well. It wouldn't be a bad idea considering consumption will greatly rise by 2050 and if a third world war arises, it would most likely be over a food and water shortage. Eating bugs just might be the answer. This talk definitely got me thinking and I feel a fair argument was made for team entomology. However, I'm still not sure I'm hopping on board just yet.
The cricket rice cakes!
Bowl of fried crickets to add to your potato soup.
The bowls of fried crickets slowly running low as the line continues.
Soup man mentioned, "They aren't bad, just crunchy!"
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Also going back to learning about ant lions, here's a kid comparing them to creatures from star wars
"Two New Bee Species Are Mysterious Pieces in the Panama Puzzle"
"ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2011) — Smithsonian scientists have discovered two new, closely related bee species: one from Coiba Island in Panama and another from northern Colombia. Both descended from of a group of stingless bees that originated in the Amazon and moved into Central America, the ancestors of Mayan honeybees. The presence of one of these new species on Coiba and Rancheria Islands, and its absence from the nearby mainland, is a mystery that will ultimately shed light on Panama's history and abundant biodiversity..."
Cited: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (2011, October 18). Two new bee species are mysterious pieces in the Panama puzzle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/10/111018155223.htm
Click here for the link to read the fill story: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018155223.htm
This relates to our current topic about insect migration from mainland to island. And also sheds light on a debate about the age of the connection between North and South America due to the discovery that 17 million years ago the bees had already been established in Central America.
Monday, October 24, 2011
We read this week about the Ant-decapitating Fly [the Conopidae fly or a new family of Phoridae fly] and the ant-narcotic excreting Assasin Bug [Ptilocerus ochraceus] and here are two more: Videos of some Wasps ovipositing [laying eggs inside of] Ants, and a video of some beautiful fungus called Cordycps, which infects ants along with a variety of other insects.
Only a few Parasites manage to break through the ant's very dominant well equipped defenses.
The eggs of one kind of wasp develop inside adult ants. The eggs of the another kind of wasp develop in the larvae of ants. How the newly developed young wasps manage to survive inside the ant nest is still unknown. One possible explanation is that the dead ants may be deposited outside the entrance of the ant nest, giving the young wasps a chance to be born and avoid ant attacks.
Below is an AWESOME video of the fungus that infects insects. In the Ant example, we see non-infected ants carrying off infected ants. This might be how the young wasps live when hatching from the ant.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Recently my roommate and I discovered a bed bug...but we made an appointment with a very friendly bed bug Beagle named Shaggy.
Here is Shaggy after he searched my apartment...
The Beagle sniffed through the apartment in search of odors that smell sweet like raspberries or moldy. If Shaggy found anything he would scratch the floor with his paw indicating that there was a bed bug or egg.
Shaggy and his trainer didn't find anything so I am completely bed bug free!!If you do find a bed bug call these guys! http://www.bedbuginspectors.com/
I got my bed bug from the train so try not to sit on the seats folks!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
They had cut some down some of the taller grass near the docks, so we ended up spending most of our time in the Bird Sanctuary.
There were many grasshoppers. This guy found his way into my net while I was just making my way through some of the taller grass.
A couple of students [myself included] also caught some praying mantis.
Like Isabella, I have decided to keep my little guy as a pet until he passes a month or so from now. He is living in a retired terrarium with plenty of small branches, leaves and of course food (crickets). So far he hasn't been too active– he mostly hangs from the top of the screen.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The weather was simply glorious Sunday - what it should have been like the past few weeks, but alas was towards the very end of insect season... And an interesting season it seems to have been. Certain species of butterflies appear to be doing fine fluttering-by, like this member of the Pieridae that Susie netted ~
In fact, on closer inspection of the female, it was clear she had had her own close-calls and run-ins with other wildlife. Given the damage to her abdomen I doubt she was in much shape to mate or lay eggs.. . it looks like she dodged the (incompletely) the curoius peck of a bird's beak a few days back.
Friday, October 7, 2011
While looking through the New York Times style magazine, T, I came across this chandelier designed by Ingo Maurer, a German lighting designer. It was made for the dining room in a 19th century apartment in Munich. It is a twelve foot tall mass of sponges, LEDs, and hand made and colored insects, lizards, and other little creatures. Maurer worked in collaboration with a few artists to accomplish his vision, including a California artist/photographer, Graham Owens. I investigated him further and found he specializes in making super realistic replicas of insects and insect behavior. His site is worth checking out, his realism is amazing! http://www.grahamowengallery.com/index.html
Also, the article on Maurer's Biotope chandelier is interesting, and the online version of the article has great photos/closeups and a feature where you can super zoom on its surface to look for the hidden insects that live there.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
More nutrients for the young, something to occupy the female during insemination. Yay Sexual Selection!
A new study of katydids in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B -- co-authored by U of T Mississauga professor Darryl Gwynne -- supports a theory that females will search if males offer a lot more than just sperm.
"In this beast [in this study], it's a big cheesy, gooey substance that the male ejects when he copulates," says Gwynne. "It's attached to his sperm packet, so while she's being inseminated, she can reach back and grab this mating gift and eat it."
"Males mostly do the searching, because the Darwinian sexual selection process is typical stronger in males; they're competitive, says Gwynne." As a consequence of their eagerness to get to the females, the females just hang out waiting for the males to come to them."
And from the male's perspective, a large food gift not only potentially benefits his offspring, but distracts the female long enough to ensure that he has time for a full insemination. Otherwise, says Gwynne, "she's hungry...if he didn't give her this gift, she'd just pull off the sperm packet and snack on that like a little hors d'oeuvre."
Ryan M. Pfeiffer.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I don't know anything more about the piece, its intentions, or the use of insects, but this slideshow from the BBC lets us have a look at some of the process...