April182014
February152014
February62014
ecdysozoa:

The tiniest little Cecropia bab!
(The end with the red nubs is the head)

This is either a promethea or tuliptree silkmoth caterpillar — looks like a 5th instar.  Cecropia caterpillars look like this in the 5th instar:

ecdysozoa:

The tiniest little Cecropia bab!

(The end with the red nubs is the head)

This is either a promethea or tuliptree silkmoth caterpillar — looks like a 5th instar.  Cecropia caterpillars look like this in the 5th instar:

(Source: awwww-cute, via redpandapress)

February52014
Figure from the following paper: Simple rules guide dragonfly migration

"Attachment of radio transmitters and migration patterns during autumn migration in green darners. (a) Attachment of a 300 mg radio transmitter to the thorax of a green darner. (b) A green darner with transmitter shortly before take-off at Cape May Point (dark blue line at bottom of figure (c)) This individual shows the typically minor wing wear seen during our study, indicative of relatively recently emerged individuals. (c) Trajectories of migrating green darners along the northeastern seaboard of the USA (New York (NY) to Maryland (MD)). Different colours indicate different individuals, numbers depict days since tagging, numbers in brackets show maximum number of days individuals were tracked. Dotted lines indicate that it was unclear on which day individuals conducted their migratory flight. The dashed blue line indicates the most likely route of crossing Delaware bay. Shore lines are depicted by a thick black line, ocean by undulating lines."

Pictures by Christian Ziegler. 

Really interesting study!  The dragonflies in this study followed migration paths that are similar to the routes taken by songbirds.

Figure from the following paper: Simple rules guide dragonfly migration

"Attachment of radio transmitters and migration patterns during autumn migration in green darners. (a) Attachment of a 300 mg radio transmitter to the thorax of a green darner. (b) A green darner with transmitter shortly before take-off at Cape May Point (dark blue line at bottom of figure (c)) This individual shows the typically minor wing wear seen during our study, indicative of relatively recently emerged individuals. (c) Trajectories of migrating green darners along the northeastern seaboard of the USA (New York (NY) to Maryland (MD)). Different colours indicate different individuals, numbers depict days since tagging, numbers in brackets show maximum number of days individuals were tracked. Dotted lines indicate that it was unclear on which day individuals conducted their migratory flight. The dashed blue line indicates the most likely route of crossing Delaware bay. Shore lines are depicted by a thick black line, ocean by undulating lines."

Pictures by Christian Ziegler.

Really interesting study! The dragonflies in this study followed migration paths that are similar to the routes taken by songbirds.

January252014
Baron’s Mantella (Mantella baroni), Vohimana reserve, Madagascar 

(by Frank.Vassen)

Baron’s Mantella (Mantella baroni), Vohimana reserve, Madagascar

(by Frank.Vassen)

January242014
Stephen Hawking: ‘There are no black holes’

Notion of an ‘event horizon’, from which nothing can escape, is incompatible with quantum theory, physicist claims. (via Stephen Hawking: ‘There are no black holes’ : Nature News & Comment)

Stephen Hawking: ‘There are no black holes’

Notion of an ‘event horizon’, from which nothing can escape, is incompatible with quantum theory, physicist claims. (via Stephen Hawking: ‘There are no black holes’ : Nature News & Comment)

January162014
feathersandbeaks:

"Two endangered whooping cranes mated for life have been found dead in Western Kentucky, the likely victims of an illegal shooter — and officials are offering a reward to catch the perpetrator.
Federal wildlife authorities have kept quiet about the rare cranes’ deaths last November while they have gathered evidence, but they say they plan to ask for the public’s help today.
“We are putting together a reward package,” said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Atlanta.”

feathersandbeaks:

"Two endangered whooping cranes mated for life have been found dead in Western Kentucky, the likely victims of an illegal shooter — and officials are offering a reward to catch the perpetrator.

Federal wildlife authorities have kept quiet about the rare cranes’ deaths last November while they have gathered evidence, but they say they plan to ask for the public’s help today.

“We are putting together a reward package,” said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Atlanta.”

January102014

Euplectella aspergillum or Venus’ flower baskets are deep sea animals. They are known as glass sponges as their bodies areentirely composed of silica. 
Glass sponges occur worldwide, predominantly at depths between 10 and 1000 metres (20-3,300 feet) where the water is very cold and the levels of silica are high.

(SOURCE: Eupectella aspergillum (Venus’ flower basket) | Natural History Museum)

Euplectella aspergillum or Venus’ flower baskets are deep sea animals. They are known as glass sponges as their bodies areentirely composed of silica

Glass sponges occur worldwide, predominantly at depths between 10 and 1000 metres (20-3,300 feet) where the water is very cold and the levels of silica are high.

(SOURCE: Eupectella aspergillum (Venus’ flower basket) | Natural History Museum)

December262013

The American Marten (Martes americana)

(Source: Wikipedia)

December62013

Two years ago Snowy Owls staged a massive invasion into the Lower 48, and this year it looks like they are on the move again. In 2011 the invasion was continent-wide, with particularly large numbers in the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains, but numbers in the Northeast U.S. and Atlantic coast not particularly high. This year’s invasion looks quite different, with the center of focus (so far) being the Great Lakes and Northeast. Keep an eye out for these northern owls in open areas while you’re birding, and don’t overlook that white bump in the dunes, or on the peak of the house next door–it just might be a Snowy Owl. eBird is poised to track this invasion and compare it with previous ones, so please make sure to enter all sightings, and suggest that your birding friends do the same!

The map above shows the current (as of 3 December) point map for Nov-Dec 2013 (link to live map). Note how the invasion is restricted to the Great Lakes and the Northeast, but also with birds already reaching North Carolina and Bermuda! Some intrepid birders have racked up impressive totals, such as 12 along the New Hampshire coast 30 November or 8 around Boston on 3 December. Open the map link and zoom in to see just how strongly coastal this year’s invasion is. Almost every open and undisturbed beach seems to have a Snowy Owl right now. Some have been seen migrating over the ocean and others have been spotted on offshore buoys. Are these birds arriving direct off the water? Are they flying straight from Greenland?

Snowy Owls breed widely across the Arctic and move widely in search of resources suitable for breeding. These invasions tend to be driven by very good summer resources (lemmings primarily) in certain regions of the Arctic that lead to high breeding success. Many of the owls that move south are hatch-year birds (indicative of the high breeding success).

Got snowies?  There have been numerous sightings of snowy owls in my area so far and it seems like the number of birds moving south will only increase as December progresses.  Good luck if you’re planning to look for a snowy owl near you!  Please remember to always bird respectfully as these  owls have had a long journey. 

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