October52014
The earliest monarch butterflies arose in North America and were migratory, contrary to what scientists believed. Over time, the butterflies evolved populations in other locations, some of which stay put year-round, scientists conclude October 1 in Nature. 

Because many of the monarch’s closest butterfly relatives live in the tropics and do not migrate, “the thought was that the butterflies [came] from South and Central America and became migratory from resident populations,” says Tyler Flockhart, a conservation biologist who concentrates on monarchs at the University of Guelph in Canada. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case.” (via Monarch butterflies’ ancestors migrated | Science News)

The earliest monarch butterflies arose in North America and were migratory, contrary to what scientists believed. Over time, the butterflies evolved populations in other locations, some of which stay put year-round, scientists conclude October 1 in Nature.

Because many of the monarch’s closest butterfly relatives live in the tropics and do not migrate, “the thought was that the butterflies [came] from South and Central America and became migratory from resident populations,” says Tyler Flockhart, a conservation biologist who concentrates on monarchs at the University of Guelph in Canada. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case.” (via Monarch butterflies’ ancestors migrated | Science News)

July142014
"The ecological niche concept is very important in ecology. But what a niche looks like is fairly abstract. Now, for the first time, researchers have concretely visualized the ecological niche. The biologists have been able to determine the position of fourteen fish species in relationship to their food in a four-dimensional food diagram."


 (via Ecologists make first image of food niche — ScienceDaily)

"The ecological niche concept is very important in ecology. But what a niche looks like is fairly abstract. Now, for the first time, researchers have concretely visualized the ecological niche. The biologists have been able to determine the position of fourteen fish species in relationship to their food in a four-dimensional food diagram."


(via Ecologists make first image of food niche — ScienceDaily)

July132014
Pelagornis sandersi - largest airborne bird with a wingspan of over six meters; probably soared, but might not have been able to sustain flapping flight. 



(via Fossils reveal largest airborne bird | Science News)

Pelagornis sandersi - largest airborne bird with a wingspan of over six meters; probably soared, but might not have been able to sustain flapping flight.

(via Fossils reveal largest airborne bird | Science News)

April222014
"OTTAWA — The Harper government is downgrading the protection of the North Pacific humpback whale despite objections from a clear majority of groups that were consulted. 

Critics say the whales could face greater danger if two major oilsands pipeline projects get the go-ahead, since both would result in a sharp increase in movement of large vessels on the West Coast that occasionally collide with, and kill, whales like the humpback. 

The decision was made under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), and declares the humpback a “species of special concern” rather than “threatened.” 

The reclassification means the humpback will no longer be “subject to the general prohibitions set out in SARA, nor would its critical habitat be required to be legally protected under SARA,” states the federal government notice published this month in the Canada Gazette. 

The decision removes a major legal hurdle that the environmental group Ecojustice said stood in the way of the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring 550,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude from Alberta to Kitimat.” 

(Read entire article here: Ottawa removing North Pacific humpback whales from list of ‘threatened’ species)

"OTTAWA — The Harper government is downgrading the protection of the North Pacific humpback whale despite objections from a clear majority of groups that were consulted.

Critics say the whales could face greater danger if two major oilsands pipeline projects get the go-ahead, since both would result in a sharp increase in movement of large vessels on the West Coast that occasionally collide with, and kill, whales like the humpback.

The decision was made under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), and declares the humpback a “species of special concern” rather than “threatened.”

The reclassification means the humpback will no longer be “subject to the general prohibitions set out in SARA, nor would its critical habitat be required to be legally protected under SARA,” states the federal government notice published this month in the Canada Gazette.

The decision removes a major legal hurdle that the environmental group Ecojustice said stood in the way of the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring 550,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude from Alberta to Kitimat.”

(Read entire article here: Ottawa removing North Pacific humpback whales from list of ‘threatened’ species)

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)

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