Category Archive 'Natural History'
28 Jun 2016

Wolf Takes Bighorn Sheep

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(“Oh, My God! says wife in car. A lot.)

02 Jun 2016

A Mantis of Her Own

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GinsburgMantis

Mashable:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg… was just honored with her very own species of praying mantis.

According to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, scientists have successfully used female genitalia to identify different species of praying mantises. Using this process, they have discovered a new mantis, which has been named Ilomantis ginsburgae, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg, a beloved 83-year-old supreme court justice, active feminist and oldest member of the highest court in the country was honored “for her relentless fight for gender equality.”

Additionally, the bug’s neck plate sort of looks like a jabot, which Ginsburg is well known for sporting around her neck.

And we all know what the female mantis does to the male after mating…

Hat tip to Matthias Storme.

17 May 2016

Large, Dead Anaconda Video

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A video featuring a very large, dead anaconda turned up on Facebook today via an Oriental source. It certainly looks real.

I found another version with a slightly different view of the critter.

Via Creepy Basement.

07 May 2016

Saturniidae

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Saturniidae
Saturniidae caterpillar

30 Apr 2016

Bald Eagles Nest Cam Shocks Viewers

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Animal lovers got a shock yesterday when a webcam broadcasting pictures of a bald eagle nest in Pittsburgh showed the adult eagles feeding somebody’s domestic cat to their chicks.

Washington Post story

Cats? Bald eagles are powerful enough to kill sheep or even small deer.

20 Apr 2016

Leptocephalus

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Leptocephali
The leptocephali are about 300 – 400 mm long and appear to be metamorphosing larvae of some type of moray eel of the family Muraenidae. The morphological similarities between these leptocephali and Ribbon Eels, Rhinomuraena quaesita, suggest they may be Ribbon Eel larvae.

Leptocephali are transparent because they have only a thin layer of muscle over a mucinous pouch inside the body. The pouch contains glucosaminoglycan (GAG) compounds that form a transparent jelly-like substance. The GAGs are converted into tissue during metamorphosis, and thus in addition to being transparent, they are also an energy storage material.

08 Nov 2015

The King Cobra Eats Other Snakes

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SnakewithSnake

31 Oct 2015

Eastern US Has a New Species

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Coywolf

The Economist discusses the pedigree of the now-ubiquitous Eastern Coyote.

It is rare for a new animal species to emerge in front of scientists’ eyes. But this seems to be happening in eastern North America.

Like some people who might rather not admit it, wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards. It was desperation of this sort, biologists reckon, that led dwindling wolf populations in southern Ontario to begin, a century or two ago, breeding widely with dogs and coyotes. The clearance of forests for farming, together with the deliberate persecution which wolves often suffer at the hand of man, had made life tough for the species. That same forest clearance, though, both permitted coyotes to spread from their prairie homeland into areas hitherto exclusively lupine, and brought the dogs that accompanied the farmers into the mix.

Interbreeding between animal species usually leads to offspring less vigorous than either parent—if they survive at all. But the combination of wolf, coyote and dog DNA that resulted from this reproductive necessity generated an exception. The consequence has been booming numbers of an extraordinarily fit new animal (see picture) spreading through the eastern part of North America. Some call this creature the eastern coyote. Others, though, have dubbed it the “coywolf”. Whatever name it goes by, Roland Kays of North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, reckons it now numbers in the millions.

The mixing of genes that has created the coywolf has been more rapid, pervasive and transformational than many once thought. Javier Monzón, who worked until recently at Stony Brook University in New York state (he is now at Pepperdine University, in California) studied the genetic make-up of 437 of the animals, in ten north-eastern states plus Ontario. He worked out that, though coyote DNA dominates, a tenth of the average coywolf’s genetic material is dog and a quarter is wolf.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Robert Laird.

22 Oct 2015

Idolomantis Diabolica

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07 Oct 2015

This Rose Comes With Something Extra

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LizardRose1
LizardRose2
LizardRose3

13 Aug 2015

Not a Disney Movie

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LionDying

Wikipedia tells us that the life expectancy for African lions in the wild is 10-14. The male lion taken by Dr. Walter Palmer recently in Zimbabwe, known as “Cecil” by the media, was 13.

Aged lions do not die in bed in a retirement home surrounded by solicitous animated friends. Bad things happen to aged lions as this photo collection on Clash Daily demonstrates.

24 Jul 2015

Find the Snow Leopard

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SnowLeopard2
There is a snow leopard stalking these bharal blue sheep in this photograph taken in the Himalayas by Ingrid Vandyke. Click on the image, and try locating it in the larger version.

If you can’t find it, the Daily Mail has even bigger images and finally points it out.,

24 Jul 2015

Walking on Water

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Takeoff

21 Jul 2015

Swimming Jaguar

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