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Archive for the ‘Bugs’ Category

Saw this photo at TheFeaturedCreature.com and had to share!

clown-spider-2(Photo Credit: Igor Ryabov)

This ‘scary clown’ spider is actually a species of crab spider in the family Thomisidae. Ukrainian photographer Igor Ryabov, 44, a full time engineer, has been experimenting with macro photography for the past three years and spotted the crab spider near to his house.

Tell me this thing doesn’t remind you of Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s “It!”

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The knight and his steed.

froggy-back(© Nicolas Reusens)

A tropical capture in Costa Rica.

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The 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Mantid Butt!

Honey… ?

mantis-butt(Chinese Mantid – Image credit: C. L. Goforth)

Does this make my butt look too big?

Thanks to C.L. Goforth for this and other amazing insect photos.

Check out her blog at The Dragonfly Woman!

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Mantidae is the largest family of the order Mantodea, commonly known as praying mantises; most are tropical or subtropical. Historically, this was the only family in the order, and many references still use the term “mantid” to refer to any mantis. Technically, however, “mantid” refers only to members of the Mantidae family, and not the 14 remaining families of mantises.

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Did you know, gentle reader, that there are approximately 10 quintillion bugs in the word?

cockroach-birth(Cockroach adding to the surplus population)

That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000,000!

thomas-shahan-2

Although estimates vary, that’s about 200 million insects for every man, woman and child on earth!

spider-panties(They’re everywhere!)

Not sure if that figure includes arachnids or not.

thomas-shahan-5

That’s a crapload of bugs, and no mistake.

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I thought this situation had gone away.

One-Third of U.S. Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter, Threatening Food Supply

I guess it hasn’t.

Nearly one in three commercial honeybee colonies in the United States died or disappeared last winter, an unsustainable decline that threatens the nation’s food supply.

honeybees-hive

Multiple factors — pesticides, fungicides, parasites, viruses and malnutrition — are believed to cause the losses, which were officially announced today by a consortium of academic researchers, beekeepers and Department of Agriculture scientists.

“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” said entomologist Dennis van Engelstorp of the University of Maryland, who led the survey documenting the declines.

honeybee(Please don’t leave us!)

“Many entomologists and pest management professionals have been saying for years that there is no pest management justification for using these insecticides on virtually every crop grown in North America,” said Agricultural entomologist Christian Krupke of Purdue University. “Yet, the opposite trend is occurring.”

The honeybee catastrophe could also signal problems in other pollinator species, such as bumblebees and butterflies, that are not often studied.

“Thinking of honeybees as our canary in the coal mine, a monitor for environmental conditions, is very appropriate,” said entomologist Diana Cox-Foster at Pennsylvania State University. “With honeybee colonies, you have the ability to open them up and see what’s going on. There are many other species needed for pollination, but with most of those, we don’t have the ability to see what’s happening.”

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A year or two ago, I asked an entomologist friend of mine what he thought the reason was behind honeybee hive/colony collapse syndrome. He looked around, leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, “I think it’s the rapture… and the bees went first!” I love nerd humour! 🙂

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We here in The Great White North have our ‘insect issues.’ Horse flies, black flies, mosquitoes, etc.

black-fly(Black flies – they’ll rip a chunk out of you when they bite)

But in other parts of the world, bugs take on an entirely new dimension.

big-bug-1(This kid is so blasé about the whole thing. Most kids I know would have a stroke) 

There’s big…

big-bug-2(How’d you like to find this in your sleeping bag?)

And then there’s BIG.

big-bug-3(You can’t be serious!)

As in effen HUGE!

big-bug-5(Honey? We may have an infestation problem!)

Nightmare-inducing enormous!

big-bug-4(This may not technically be a bug… but still… it’s scary!)

I don’t know how people live in places that have these kinds of things crawling around and not go insane.

big-bug-6(This spider eats mice and snakes!)

I mean really!

So the next time you’re kvetching about mosquitoes… thank goodness you live where these things don’t!

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I have to hand it once again to the intrepid geeks and nerdlings over at ScienceDaily.com!

Actor Johnny Depp Immortalized in Name of Fossilized Creature With ‘Scissor Hand’ Claws

The article begins, “A scientist has discovered an ancient extinct creature with ‘scissor hand-like’ claws in fossil records and has named it in honour of his favourite movie star.”

The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi (pronounced Koo-ten-ee-che-la depp-eye), which is a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, was named after the actor Johnny Depp for his starring role as Edward Scissorhands — a movie about an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands.

Kooteninchela-deppi-4(What a cutie. Just like its namesake!)

Kooteninchela deppi is helping researchers to piece together more information about life on Earth during the Cambrian period when nearly all modern animal types emerged.

David Legg, who carried out the research as part of his PhD in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says:

“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands. Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”

Kooteninchela-deppi-2

It lived in shallow seas off the coast of what is now British Columbia, Canada, although in those days, the area was closer to the equator.

It was approximately four centimetres long with a trunk for a body and millipede-like legs and large eyes which it used to search for food along the sea floor, according to research published in the Journal of Palaeontology.

The researcher believes that Kooteninchela deppi would have been a hunter or scavenger. Its large Edward Scissorhands-like claws with their elongated spines may have been used to capture prey, or they could have helped it to probe the sea floor looking for sea creatures hiding in sediment.

lobster(Kooteninchela deppi – a distant relative of lobsters & scorpions)

It also had large eyes composed of many lenses like the compound eyes of a fly. They were positioned on top of movable stalks called peduncles to help it more easily search for food and look out for predators.

The researchers discovered that Kooteninchela deppi belongs to a group known as the ‘great-appendage’ arthropods, which includes spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, insects and crabs.

Mr Legg said: ‘Just imagine it – the prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi.’

‘Current estimates indicate that there are more than one million known insects and potentially 10 million more yet to be categorised, which potentially means that Kooteninchela deppi has a huge family tree.’

Legg now wants to study the fossils from the Ordovician period, when species diversity increased.

The research was published in the Journal of Palaeontology 2 May 2013.

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Journal Reference:

  1. David Legg. Multi-Segmented Arthropods from the Middle Cambrian of British Columbia (Canada)Journal of Paleontology, 2013; 87 (3): 493 DOI: 10.1666/12-112.1

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