Friday, October 30, 2009

Mutant Insects, Oh My!

About a week ago or so a friend of mine introduced me to this artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honeggar. She is a science illustrator who created these paintings that record the mutations found in insects that were found near radioactive disasters.
Can you find out what is "wrong" with them?

We pee, but do they?

If cockroaches don't pee then what do they do with that waste?

And what does the the microbe, Blattabacterium have to do with it?

Posted by Miss Monica

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tiny ears found on butterfly’s wings

"A butterfly species equipped with tiny ears on its wings can distinguish between high and low pitch sounds, possibly as a way to listen in on nearby birds, new research suggests."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Serial Killers & Bees

Scientists are testing the theory that by understanding the working methods of bees, we can better understand working methods of serial killers.
Posted by Joshua

Informative, Disgusting, and above all a reason to get married

Vanessa Serrao is a wildlife filmmaker who discovered she brought back more from her recent trip to Belize than travel stories. Read the synopisis at and then make sure you follow the link to watch the video.
Posted by Joshua

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nice Pictures

This is actually a website for hints and tips on how to take good close up pictures, but all the examples are really nice close up pictures of all kinds of insects.  I thought it was pretty neat!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Green Porno: Insects at It

Isabella Rossellini has a lovely set of short videos depicting the vagaries of reproduction among the invertebrates. Here are two apropos of what we've been studying in class:

Ah, the praying mantis. Of course we know better than to assume the head is always bitten off the hapless male (for the essay, click here). Still, it is an amazing feature of their life, een if not so common

And then, the bees. We haven't delved much yet in to the world of social insects, but this is a nice intro and refers to the odd ends males will go to in securing their paternity (another gruesome death included)

And check out the rest of organisms in the Green Porno features as well!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fly ruins "fly guy"


fyi fly:

"A pesky insect may be partly to blame for an Air Force colonel losing his job today."

A missile wing commander at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base was relieved of command for a loss of confidence in his command abilities following a series of recent incidents that included the rollover of a semi-trailer carrying missile parts, an accident caused when the driver tried to swat away a large insect that had landed on his back"

water bug scramble

I was at the store yesterday and came across a interesting food item in the frozen section...giant water bugs.

Yep! The Golden Pacific Market was selling these lovelies for $3.28 for a pak of four. The Filipino checkout lady said to smother them in chili paste, the stock boy (Thai) said instead to grill them, crush them, and mix them in scrambled eggs)

I don't know where these bugs came from (could be North American) as there was no sort of label on them. Still, I think I'm going to try the scrambled egg option....


Monday, October 12, 2009

the evolutions of gliding flight


As We've been discussing the "Gliding Hypothesis" for the origination for insect flight, including gliding ants, it seemed only right to mention "Birdmen."

And what are they? Much like a flying squirrel, these folks have membranes they use to glide, and at VERY high speed - rather than of of trees, off of mountain tops (pictured below).

60 Minutes recently did an extensive video segment on them, which is worth watching. I don't use the word "crazy" very often, but this might fall under that category. Beautiful, amazing, crazy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

biodiversity sampling - a windshield away!

Mabe you don't even need a whole orgnanism to do good biodiverstiy sampling?

This is what researchers analysing windshield and bumper splats on cars are considering as they posit the possiblity that the organisms that cars hit on roadtrips may provide an ecological sample of the kind and abundance of organisms in an area.

This paper is more about proof-of-concpet that concerned with insects per se, but they did find that Flies and Bugs were the vsat majority of what the cars caught, and that indded, differnces in fuana could be detected on cars taking differnt routes... a start (albeit grisly) to another avenue of research....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

mm, that is some good "land shrimp"

Fried grasshoppers, dusted with salt and served with soy sauce

I opened my iGoogle page today, which has various web sites feeding into it daily.

One such feed I have is WikiHow, where two How To's appear. And what were they today?


It makes a point to say:

"Also note that if you eat crawfish or clams (i.e. worms in shells), this isn't really much different."

Unfortunately, the accompanying video is less-than-amazing, perhaps they need Martha Stewart on this beat.

Here is the link to the WikiHow page.

And of course, a link to the Small Stock/Land shrimp project of David Gracer.


Monday, October 5, 2009

New Metamorphosis Theory

A new theory on how caterpillars and other larvae came to be had been published... saying they did not evolve with the adult forms, but evolved from onychophorans (velvet worms).

"Evolution by hybridogenesis"?

Check it out here!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

more finds near O'Hare....


Another trip to Chevalier Woods on a much sunnier day found us among many more butterflies and dragonflies than the week before, and even a cicada! Here is one in a jam (in a jam jar).

And just a couple other moments caught:
Daniel got a nice Odonate here...

Meanwhile, I spied some moths-a-mating. I used to mate Eastern Black Swallowtails by hand for research purposes - better & easier if you can leave them to it.

This milkweed bug had dressed gotten rid of its old clothes in a molt and was looking very pink as it waited quietly for its exoskeleton to harden up again

Andrea managed to net a beautiful monarch, handling it expertly,

And this time too, some cute little snakes here and there...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I was watching an episode of "Frasier" today in which Frasier got rough with a man in a coffee shop. Later on, Niles entered Frasier's apartment and said "Well, if it isn't the man who floats like a lepidoptera and stings like a hymenoptera."

I thought I should share.