nature and science

rhamphotheca:

Trilobite Beetles Are Happy Being On Land, Alive in the Present Day

by Bec Crew

I know they look like they belong in the ocean 250 million years ago, but trilobite beetles are actually pretty happy existing in the present day. On land. They hate water, what are you doing? Don’t put them in there. You’ll kill them if you do that. Found in lowland forests across Southeast Asia and India, these peculiar beetles are an enigma wrapped in an armoured shell with the tiniest head and some nice orange highlights.

The trilobite genus Duliticola belongs to the family Lycidae, commonly known as net-winged beetles. This family is a pretty interesting one, because many of its species display huge physical differences between their males and their females. Trilobite beetles are no exception.

While the females are easily recognisable – that incredible form is retained from when they were larvae – the males look entirely different. They pretty much just look like plain old beetles, with long, winged bodies and a pair of thick antennae. And all they have to look forward to is growing to 5 mm long. How embarrassing, because the females end up more than ten times larger, growing up to 6 cm long…

(read more: Running Ponies - Scientific American)

photos: T - female Duliticola paradoxa by Bernard Dupont; M - female D. hoiseni by A. F. S. L. Lok and H. H. Tan; B - female D. paradoxa by Lok and Tan

smilingsoul07:

stephen earle photography

smilingsoul07:

stephen earle photography

kaiyves:

darksideofthemeow:

Never thought astronomy could be so cute.

So cute!

libutron:

The feared and fascinating Jack Jumper Ant - the metazoan with the lowest possible number of chromosomes
The Australian Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula (Formicidae), with its 12 mm length, large eyes, and long mandibles with teeth, is an aggressive ant with a very potent sting. 
The sting is not severe (in terms of pain), but this ant is responsible for greater than 90% of Australian ant venom allergy. In Tasmania stings by M. pilosula (and possible the Inchman ant, M. forficate) caused 21–-25% of the 324 cases of anaphylaxis treated with adrenaline in the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department between 1990 and 1998, compared with 13% caused by honeybee stings.
Moreover, what I personally find fascinating is the fact that ants of the Myrmecia pilosula species complex include some individuals with the lowest possible metazoan chromosome number of 2n = 2, although others in this cluster of sibling species have much higher numbers, the known maximum being 2n = 32.
If we also consider that males are haploid (they have a single set of chromosomes in the nucleus of their cells), as in other Hymenoptera, the somatic cells of males contain only a single chromosome.
Other common names: Jumper Ant, Hopper Ant, Jumping Jack, Bull Ant.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo: ©Arthur Chapman
Locality: Falcons Lookout Track, Werribee Gorge State Park, near Ballan, Victoria, Australia 

libutron:

The feared and fascinating Jack Jumper Ant - the metazoan with the lowest possible number of chromosomes

The Australian Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula (Formicidae), with its 12 mm length, large eyes, and long mandibles with teeth, is an aggressive ant with a very potent sting. 

The sting is not severe (in terms of pain), but this ant is responsible for greater than 90% of Australian ant venom allergy. In Tasmania stings by M. pilosula (and possible the Inchman ant, M. forficate) caused 21–-25% of the 324 cases of anaphylaxis treated with adrenaline in the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department between 1990 and 1998, compared with 13% caused by honeybee stings.

Moreover, what I personally find fascinating is the fact that ants of the Myrmecia pilosula species complex include some individuals with the lowest possible metazoan chromosome number of 2n = 2, although others in this cluster of sibling species have much higher numbers, the known maximum being 2n = 32.

If we also consider that males are haploid (they have a single set of chromosomes in the nucleus of their cells), as in other Hymenoptera, the somatic cells of males contain only a single chromosome.

Other common names: Jumper Ant, Hopper Ant, Jumping Jack, Bull Ant.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo: ©Arthur Chapman

Locality: Falcons Lookout Track, Werribee Gorge State Park, near Ballan, Victoria, Australia 

griseus:

It’s moth week and I can’t be out!!

The fish family Pegasidae, aka sea moths, includes just five species (placed in two genera) but is represented in temperate and tropical coastal zones throughout the Indo-Pacific. All sea moths are small (no more than than ~180 mm total length), benthic (bottom-dwelling), and very well camouflaged. Seamoths have modified pelvic fins that allow them to “walk” across the sea bottom where they live.

A curious behavior seen in these fish (almost in Eurypegasus draconis) is that they sheds their skins in one piece, probably every one to five days, a process described in some detail by Herold and Clark (1993). These researcher also discuss evidence suggesting monogamy in this species, as well as other aspects of social and reproductive behavior.

rhamphotheca:

New grey wolf populations found in Canada
by Zoe Gough
Two distinct populations of grey wolves have been found living side-by-side in British Columbia, Canada.
The research built on the knowledge of indigenous people who had distinguished between the mainland “timber wolf” and island “coastal wolf”. Scientists compared DNA from wolf faeces to determine if the two groups were different. They say their findings show that different environments can influence genetic changes.
The team, based at the University of Victoria, reported their research in the journal BMC Ecology.
The study focused on an area of the central coast of British Columbia known as Bella Bella, which includes a mainland landmass separated from five islands by water…
(read more: BBC Nature)
photograph by Chris Darimont

rhamphotheca:

New grey wolf populations found in Canada

by Zoe Gough

Two distinct populations of grey wolves have been found living side-by-side in British Columbia, Canada.

The research built on the knowledge of indigenous people who had distinguished between the mainland “timber wolf” and island “coastal wolf”. Scientists compared DNA from wolf faeces to determine if the two groups were different. They say their findings show that different environments can influence genetic changes.

The team, based at the University of Victoria, reported their research in the journal BMC Ecology.

The study focused on an area of the central coast of British Columbia known as Bella Bella, which includes a mainland landmass separated from five islands by water…

(read more: BBC Nature)

photograph by Chris Darimont

rhamphotheca:

Bizarre Jurassic Parasite Fossil Found in China
by Jeanna Bryner
The fossil of a wild-looking parasite with a tiny head and whose midbody evolution transformed into a sucking plate, has been discovered in what is now northeastern China.
Some 165 million years ago, the parasite — a 0.7 inch-long (2 centimeters) fly larva — would’ve crept onto passing salamanders and other amphibians, latched onto their bodies with a sucker and then used its piercing mouthparts to slurp up the host’s blood.
The larva — now called Qiyia jurassica, or “Qiyia,” which means “bizarre” in Chinese, and “jurassica,” for the time period in which it lived — sported a relatively tiny, tube-shaped head tipped with its blood-sucking mouthparts, a midbody or thorax that worked as a sucker and caterpillarlike hind legs…
(read more: Live Science)
illustration by Yang Dingua, Nanjing

rhamphotheca:

Bizarre Jurassic Parasite Fossil Found in China

by Jeanna Bryner

The fossil of a wild-looking parasite with a tiny head and whose midbody evolution transformed into a sucking plate, has been discovered in what is now northeastern China.

Some 165 million years ago, the parasite — a 0.7 inch-long (2 centimeters) fly larva — would’ve crept onto passing salamanders and other amphibians, latched onto their bodies with a sucker and then used its piercing mouthparts to slurp up the host’s blood.

The larva — now called Qiyia jurassica, or “Qiyia,” which means “bizarre” in Chinese, and “jurassica,” for the time period in which it lived — sported a relatively tiny, tube-shaped head tipped with its blood-sucking mouthparts, a midbody or thorax that worked as a sucker and caterpillarlike hind legs…

(read more: Live Science)

illustration by Yang Dingua, Nanjing

montereybayaquarium:

Missed the start of #CephalopodWeek? 

Catch up with this cephalopod video triple feature from Science Friday! Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see how we culture cuttlefish and study mysterious vampire squid.

Watch the videos

But wait—there’s more! Tune in to Science Friday tomorrow—part of the radio broadcast will feature the ocean’s most mysterious multi-armed family.

montereybayaquarium:

Missed the start of #CephalopodWeek? 

Catch up with this cephalopod video triple feature from Science Friday! Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see how we culture cuttlefish and study mysterious vampire squid.

Watch the videos

But wait—there’s more! Tune in to Science Friday tomorrow—part of the radio broadcast will feature the ocean’s most mysterious multi-armed family.

One of the strangest landscapes on Earth reveals our planet’s complex history.

How did life storm the beaches and dominate planet Earth? Ancient Australian fossils offer clues in “Life Explodes.” Half a billion years ago, Australia was still part of the super-continent Gondwana. The oceans were teeming with weird and wonderful animals, but the world above the waves remained an almost lifeless wasteland.

All that was about to change, though. Host Richard Smith introduces Earth’s forgotten pioneers: the scuttling arthropod armies that invaded the shores and the waves of green revolutionaries whose battle for the light pushed plant life across the face of a barren continent. Evolution continued underwater as well, with armor-plated fish experimenting with teeth, jaws, sex, and lungs.

NOVA’s prehistoric adventure continues with four-legged animals walking onto dry land—and the planet poised for disaster…