my B. smithi’s developing spermathecae under the scope
I haven’t watched television in a few years now, and was reminded why when I caught an episode of Animal Planet’s “Call of the Wildman” yesterday.
The show - which follows a hillbilly wrangling problematic wildlife - was fair and accurate in its treatment of snakes, but immediately lost me when the protagonist identified a small spider in a web as a “brown recluse,” which the narrator went on to describe as one of the deadliest spiders in America, further referring to its sacs of eggs as “ticking time bombs” before the wildman killed the whole family with a napkin.
First off, recluse spiders do not construct or hang in webs, and aren’t even shaped like the spider we were shown. Second, as I’ve ranted about before, recluse spiders are not significantly dangerous at all. Nobody on record has ever died or come anywhere close to dying from recluse venom, and of thousands of confirmed bites actually studied, the very worst exhibited a tiny area of necrosis (dead tissue) which healed with little to no treatment.
It is a widely accepted *myth* that recluse bites cause any serious tissue damage. Most will even come and go with no discomfort at all, and recluses themselves only bite if trapped against human skin (in clothing or bedding, for example)…they’re called recluses for a reason. They take great pains to avoid us, as do most other spiders.
animal planet isnt very good anymore
and i’m not talking about my blog
some illustrations demonstrating the unique shapes of spermathecae that vary among the different species of tarantulas
“Surreal” Vegetarian Spider Found — A First
A new discovery has taken the bite out of spiders’ status as meat-eaters.
A tropical jumping spider that eats mostly plant buds has been identified, a new study says—making it the only known vegetarian out of some 40,000 spider species.
Between 2001 and 2008, Meehan and colleagues studied the spider in its tropical habitat in southeastern Mexico and northwestern Costa Rica.
They observed that the spiders ate nutrient-rich buds that grow on acacia plants.
The acacias are also home to a species of ant that live in the plants’ hollow thorns. In a classic example of mutualism, the ants protect the plant in return for shelter and food, said Meehan, who conducted the research while at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Yet the fast, stealthy Bagheera has figured out how to leap from thorn to thorn to collect its meal—while avoiding the highly aggressive ants.
(Source: National Geographic)
ten million jelly fish live in a lake in palau. because they have no predators in this lake, they have evolved to become sting-less jellyfish!
The latest project comes from a team of computer and electrical engineers from the University of Michigan who are mounting miniature cameras on the backs of small insects. Researchers believe the insect’s ability to get into small spaces could help locate people faster.
Led by professor Khalil Najafi, the project’s technology is designed to take advantage of the insect’s kinetic energy to power microphones and cameras mounted to the insects. Najafi’s team has already developed a device that can harness the energy of the green June beetle’s wing movement. Next, the team wants to put tiny generators on the beetle’s wings to create enough power to fully operate a microphone and camera.
Entitled the Hybrid Insect Micro-Electromechanical Systems Program, the project is funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
As the research team attempts to secure patents and funding for the project, they hope to conduct their first insect test flights sometime within the year.
ok i took a photo. i bought new kritter keepers for most of my bugs
in the front are my 5 tarantulas in order b. albopilosum, b. vagans, b. smithi, g. pulchra, a. versicolor.
purple cage: hercules beetle grubs
top blue cage: european mantis
big black cage: a few american millipedes and one asian millipede
top orange: therea sp. cockroaches
bottom blue: 1 hissing roach, 2 blaberus giganteus roach nymphs
and the green cage on the side houses my colony of like 100+ feeder crickets yum yum yum
Idolomantis Diabolica, common name Devil’s Flower Mantis
The incredible story of the roundworm parasite and ‘ant berries’
It might sound a bit sick, but I love reading about parasites, and especially brain-controlling parasites. They’re a fascinating phenomenon arising from evolution, and they are very clean examples of the awesome power of natural selection. I’ve decided to write about a few neat parasites for today.
The above picture shows a C. atracus ant infected by the roundworm Myrmeconema neotropicum. The infection causes the ant’s abdomen to turn bright red, resembling a berry. The worms also affect the ant’s brain, causing the ants to move slowly and waive their rear in the air. The result is a perfect recipe for birds, thinking the ant is a berry, to swoop in and eat the infected bug. This plays directly into the roundworm’s hand, which needs the bird to eat it in order to be spread in the bird’s droppings. It’s a convoluted life cycle, but it fits right in with one of my favorite quotes about evolution, by Samuel Butler: “A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg.”
Ants from around the world
I like Jolly Rancher Head up top. :D
Ants come in the most amazing shapes and sizes!
pink and yellow flea beetle
when confronted with an enemy, the pistol shrimp cocks back its claw like a pistol and shoots a bullet of air that momentarily reaches the temperature of the sun as it collapses.
An acorn weevil, about to take flight
i had a dream about a weevil the other night