guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 20th, 2017 02:01 pm)

Butterfly_6


In reading about these guys, I learned that, like all* butterflies, it can’t chew so it has to suck fluids from through it’s proboscis. Unlike most butterflies, this one lives off of “rotting or fermenting fruit.”


That means you’re looking at a photo of a carrion eater.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 19th, 2017 11:48 pm)
I'm seeing some people feeling bad about making jokes about Sen. John McCain's health now that news about his tumor has been made public.

Here's the thing ...

Every one of us is going to, at some point, die - all of our friends, our family, everyone we know. It not a fun thing to acknowledge, but it's inevitable. McCain represents a bunch of people who are publicly taking a stance that if you don't have enough money, you somehow deserve to die sooner, and with far greater pain and suffering, than everyone else. McCain having a brain tumor does not change this fact.

Cancer sucks whoever gets it, but just as pre-existing conditions do not indicate moral failure, getting sick also does not absolve past sins. Every Republican "repeal and replace" option that's made it to a vote has been designed to systematically kill people, if not you, then people you know ... people you love.

If we were living in a story, this would be the point in the narrative where one powerful man comes to a realization, has a change of heart, and switches sides. Alas, we do not live in a story. We are not characters, despite the attempts by ideologues to turn us into bit players in their self-aggrandizing stories about how life should be. We have some control over our lives, not everything of course, but some things.

McCain will either recover or he won't. We have no control over that.

The healthcare bill will either pass or it will not. We do have some control over that. If pointing out the hypocrisy between our representatives' words and deeds helps to save lives, if using irony to make a point reduces suffering for all, if dark humor can help us avoid dark fates ... say what you will and don't feel guilty about it.

We do still have free speech in this country. Use it.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 19th, 2017 11:01 pm)

Mealworms_1


Because they all hatch at the same time, mealworms have to share their birthday.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 19th, 2017 06:01 pm)

Crab_4


TFW that interesting person you’ve been talking to for the last hour suddenly shows their true colours.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 19th, 2017 02:01 pm)

Giant Tiger Beetle


This is a giant tiger beetle.


A giant TIGER beetle.


You see the resemblance, right?




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 18th, 2017 11:01 pm)

Monarch Caterpillar


Apparently the bits in the middle taste bad.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 18th, 2017 06:01 pm)

Egg Yolk Jelly_5


I think we should stop calling certain types of people “snowflakes”.


The term “jellyfish” is much more apt, as it seems they just spend their time floating around the Internet stinging people, but whenever they encounter anything that isn’t exactly like themselves in their specially-designed jellyfish-bubble of safety, they start falling apart – whining about how unfair life is.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 18th, 2017 02:01 pm)

Metallic Frog Beetle_3


It’s pretty clear that these beetles are not ferromagnetic, but the zoo didn’t let me bring in the right equipment to test for para- or diamagnetism.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 17th, 2017 11:00 pm)

Leaf Cutter Ants_6


Leaf cutter ants take leaf bits down into the colony where they cultivate a particular sort of fungus that grows on the leaves.


So you’d think these two ants would be moving in the same direction.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 17th, 2017 08:51 pm)

Hornyhead Turbot


This hornyhead turbot is somewhat untrusting of my new wide angle macro lens.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 17th, 2017 02:01 pm)

White Spotted Longhorn Beetle_1


Turns out it was a cookbook.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 16th, 2017 11:01 pm)

Dead Leaf Mantis_2_edit


It is unclear whether the dead leaf mantis is named for its tendency to resemble a dead leaf or because he was once an ordinary leaf mantis, full of hopes and dreams, that once made a mistake, one so terrible that he never recovered, dooming him to wander the garden, never again to feel truly alive.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
flexo: The Tilley Hemp Hat (Default)
([personal profile] flexo Jul. 16th, 2017 10:54 pm)

I spent ten days straddling January and February in one of Europe's most remote areas in northern Sweden, partly to attend Umeå University's Arctic Science course, which is a fantastic 6-week course with a 4-day in-situ component in the town of Kiruna. For the other six days I took the opportunity to have a short holiday!

Sleeping in planes )
Kiruna )
Nacreous Clouds )
Moose on horseback )
Wilderness Lodge )
The Ice Bath )
The aurora )
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 16th, 2017 04:52 pm)

Bluebanded Goby_3


This goby is outraged that the new Doctor isn’t a fish and is heading to a comments section near you.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 16th, 2017 02:00 pm)

Jewish Centipede


On one hand, the most logical explanation is that the zookeepers decorated the centipede exhibit for the holiday.


On the other, it was Shabbat and the centipede was clearly not engaged in creative work.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 16th, 2017 03:40 am)

Velvet Ant_3


This is not an ant. It’s actually a type of wingless wasp.


A wasp, of course, is any insect of the suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant.


The suborder Apocrita is made of all insects in the Hymenoptera that have a narrow “waist” (or petiole) formed between the first two segments of the actual abdomen.


This is where it gets fun …


A petiole is sometimes called a pedicel, which is also used for the second segment of an insect’s antennae, which can be confusing. So you’d think most entomologists would use “petiole”, but that gets confusing because that work can also mean the stalk at the base of the nests of paper wasps *and* the situation where a normally four-sided cell in the wing of an insect has only three.


Why did all of this happen? Because of plants. People were studying plants before they were studying bugs and in botany a pedicel is the thin stem that connects a single flower to the inflorescence (cluster of flowers) or to a single fruit to infructescence (cluster of fruits (or fruit-like things)) while a petiole is the thin stalk that connects a leaf to its stem.


Now let’s talk about figs …


Botanically, a fruit is the seed bearing structure in angiosperms that is formed from the ovary. Figs are false fruits, being formed from an inverted inflorescence that, when pollinated, grows into an infructescence. How does this get pollinated, I hear you ask? With wasps!


The fig’s inflorescence is inverted, so the only way they can get pollinated is with wasps that have evolved to match specific fig species. One wasp crawls into each flower, lays its eggs, and dies. The eggs hatch, and the little wasps chew their way out of the fig flower, leaving their mother’s body behind. Now, normally, people get grossed out at this point, as every fig they eat actually contains several wasps … but that’s not the cool part.


Because a fig is a cluster of little false fruits, each false fruit being connected to its infructescence with a pedicel *and* each one containing a wasp, which is distinguished from other insects of Hymenoptera because it has a pedicel, that means that figs, unlike all the other infructescences out there, has twice as many pedicels as you’d expect!


Ta da!


(This is what happens when a photographer who is both a word geek and bio geek isn’t quite tired enough to go to bed yet.)




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 16th, 2017 12:42 am)

Butterfly_2


And you thought that human goths had it rough.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 15th, 2017 04:55 pm)

Blue Crawfish_2


According to Wikipedia, crayfish are also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs or yabbies. Taxonomically, we know they’re in the super-families Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. Linguistically, though, it’s a bit messy.


The term “cray” come from the French word “escrevisse”. Because they live in water, people tack on the word “fish”, even though it’s clearly not one of those. Here in America, “Cray” is trademarked*, so the stem-word “craw” is preferred. In the midwest, we know from fishes so we call them “crawdads” instead … apparently our fathers were all lobster-like. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


But wait! It gets even messier. In Singapore, “crayfish” is what they call the slipper lobster, something entirely different … except when it refers to a different species, invasive, which is more commonly known as the Australian red claw crayfish, the Queensland red claw, the redclaw, the tropical blue crayfish, and the freshwater blueclaw crayfish.


Deeper into the linguistic messiness, it appears that in Australia, New Zealand and, oddly, South Africa all these names refer to a type of spiny lobster. With “crawfish” referring to the saltwater version and “yabby” meaning the freshwater species … unless they’re talking about some different species, the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish or the Murray crayfish.


And this, my friends, is why biologists have to rename everything in Latin.


* This may not actually be the reason




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 14th, 2017 11:01 pm)

Dwarf Crocodile


There were once seven dwarf crocodiles. Strangely, they are missing along with that one leucistic alligator that was living with the.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
([personal profile] guppiecat Jul. 14th, 2017 06:01 pm)

Komodo Dragon_1


The komodo dragon uses it’s tongue like a bookmark, so it knows where it left off eating.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
.