Invertebrata

Invertebrate education and photography

April 22, 2014 5:15 pm
the-holocene-extinction:

Happy Earth Day!
In celebration of today I would like to bring you some good news. This large cave dwelling insect has likely escaped extinction thanks to the efforts of biologists. These tusked wetas (Motuweta isolate) were nearly wiped out due to rising populations of invasive rats. They are no longer found at all in several of their original habitats but thanks to the efforts of the New Zealand Department of Conservation they have been introduced into other habitats free of invasive mammals. 
For the full article by John Platt visit Scientific Amercian
(Image source: Graeme Churchard)

the-holocene-extinction:

Happy Earth Day!

In celebration of today I would like to bring you some good news. This large cave dwelling insect has likely escaped extinction thanks to the efforts of biologists. These tusked wetas (Motuweta isolate) were nearly wiped out due to rising populations of invasive rats. They are no longer found at all in several of their original habitats but thanks to the efforts of the New Zealand Department of Conservation they have been introduced into other habitats free of invasive mammals. 

For the full article by John Platt visit Scientific Amercian

(Image source: Graeme Churchard)

April 21, 2014 9:27 pm
Female Insect Uses Spiky Penis to Take Charge
-By Regina Nuzzo and Nature magazine

In desolate caves throughout Brazil live insects that copulate for days, the female’s penetrating erectile organ sticking fast in a reluctant male’s genital chamber until he offers a gift of nutritious semen. Neotrogla seems to be unique among species with reversed sex roles — with choosy males and aggressive, promiscuous females — in also having swapped anatomy, researchers report. Not all animal species have a male penis, but because the evolution of body parts usually works through slow modification of existing structures, there would need to be a good reason for a female to develop a penetrating organ, says entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Hokkaido University in Japan, a co-author of the study.
Read full article at Scientific American

Female Insect Uses Spiky Penis to Take Charge

-By Regina Nuzzo and Nature magazine

In desolate caves throughout Brazil live insects that copulate for days, the female’s penetrating erectile organ sticking fast in a reluctant male’s genital chamber until he offers a gift of nutritious semen. Neotrogla seems to be unique among species with reversed sex roles — with choosy males and aggressive, promiscuous females — in also having swapped anatomy, researchers report. Not all animal species have a male penis, but because the evolution of body parts usually works through slow modification of existing structures, there would need to be a good reason for a female to develop a penetrating organ, says entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Hokkaido University in Japan, a co-author of the study.

Read full article at Scientific American

April 19, 2014 8:58 pm

rhamphotheca:

Absurd Creature of the Week:

World’s Most Badass Ant Skydives, Uses Own Head as a Shield

By Matt Simon 

With a range stretching from Argentina all the way up into the southern U.S., this incredible genus of ants has also mastered the art of rainforest skydiving, leaping from the canopy to avoid predators, only to steer themselves mid-flight right back onto the trunk of their home tree. And they do it with remarkable agility.

But first: that strange head. The various species of Cephalotes have a range of head shapes. Some are almost perfectly circular, like a manhole cover. These ants typically establish their colonies in dead branches of living trees, where wood-boring beetles have conveniently left cavities. “The size of the soldier head is perfectly matched to the size of the beetles that came out of the tree,” said tropical ecologist Stephen Yanoviak of the University of Louisville.  The Cephalotes move in, and at any given time a soldier’s head serves as a door to keep the ants’ many enemies at bay.

In other species, the soldiers have to team up. Cephalotes atratus, below, occupy the hollow branches of living trees, where a longer slit in the wood acts as an entrance to their colony. “What they’ll do is the soldiers and the workers will line up basically cheek to cheek with that fairly flattened head,” said Yanoviak. “And they can collectively block the entrance that way.”..

(read more and watch em go: Wired Science)

photos: Stephen P. Yanoviak

8:58 pm
rhamphotheca:

The Fabulous Osmylids! 
Not one of our best known insect families, though possessed of classy, photogenic larvae. From the photographer: The long projections on the head are the mouthparts and are “thought to probe for chironomid larvae in softer sediments”. They are semi-aquatic predators that have a water repellant skin. (ref Gooderham&Tsyrlin - The Waterbug Book) Check out some of the delicate, net-winged adults (order Neuroptera) these waterside hunters grow up to be: Encyclopedia of LifePhoto: Kristi (& Simon) via flickr

rhamphotheca:

The Fabulous Osmylids!

Not one of our best known insect families, though possessed of classy, photogenic larvae.

From the photographer: The long projections on the head are the mouthparts and are “thought to probe for chironomid larvae in softer sediments”. They are semi-aquatic predators that have a water repellant skin. (ref Gooderham&Tsyrlin - The Waterbug Book)

Check out some of the delicate, net-winged adults (order Neuroptera) these waterside hunters grow up to be: Encyclopedia of Life

Photo: Kristi (& Simon) via flickr

1:27 pm
sinobug:

Longhorn Beetle (Chloridolum sp., Cerambycinae, Cerambycidae)   by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr. Pu’er, Yunnan, China  See more Chinese beetles on my Flickr site HERE…..

sinobug:

Longhorn Beetle (Chloridolum sp., Cerambycinae, Cerambycidae)

Longhorn Beetle (Chloridolum sp., Cerambycinae, Cerambycidae)

by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese beetles on my Flickr site HERE…..

1:17 pm
libutron:

Robber Fly with Prey (Holcocephala fusca) by Thomas Shahan on Flickr.
A través de Flickr: It’s easy to see why these little guys are one of my favorite Asilid species - those beautiful compound eyes are just spellbinding.

libutron:

Robber Fly with Prey (Holcocephala fusca) by Thomas Shahan on Flickr.

A través de Flickr:
It’s easy to see why these little guys are one of my favorite Asilid species - those beautiful compound eyes are just spellbinding.

(via invertebrates)

April 14, 2014 4:28 pm

smartpeopleposting:

The Glorious Jewel Scarab and the physics of light

Also known as Glorious beetle and Glorious scarab, Chrysina gloriosa (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae), is an unmistakable beetle found in the US (western Texas, New Mexico, southeast Arizona), and Mexico (Chihuahua and Sonora) [1].

The adults reach 25 to 28 mm long and are bright green with silver stripes on the elytra. However, this beetle (and several other species of beetle in the family Scarabaeidae), actually shine brighter than they appear, the result of a light trick that only a few animals on the planet can accomplish.

The fact is that hidden within the microstructure of the beetle’s exoskeleton there are helical twists and turns that enable certain species of scarabs the rare ability to create and reflect circularly polarized light. While many animals can create and even see linearly polarized light, there are very few examples of the creation of circularly polarized light in nature, and Chrysina gloriosa, a particularly adorable species of scarab, is one of those special few [2]. 

Further readings:

Photo credit: Chrysina gloriosa from Kohl’s Ranch, Tonto National Forest, Gila Co., Arizona, 5320 ft. elev. by ©Carla Kishinami [Top] - [Bottom

(via rhamphotheca)

April 10, 2014 10:12 pm
mucholderthen:

Acacia Katydid (Terpnistria zebrata) [ X ]Letaba Camp, Kruger NP, SOUTH AFRICA
Photography by Bernard DUPONTAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
February 2, 2014_____________________________
Terpnistria Stål, 1873 is an genus of katydid. [ X ]

mucholderthen:

Acacia Katydid (Terpnistria zebrata) [ X ]
Letaba Camp, Kruger NP, SOUTH AFRICA

Photography by Bernard DUPONT
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

February 2, 2014
_____________________________

Terpnistria Stål, 1873 is an genus of katydid. [ X ]

(via rhamphotheca)

April 5, 2014 11:11 pm
the-holocene-extinction:

American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)-
Status: Critically endangered
When people think of endangered species usually it’s large species like giant pandas and sea turtles that come to mind. Rarely is much thought given to the humble american burying beetle. Most would even consider it revolting because of its habit of feeding on carrion as a larva. This very aspect of its behavior, however, is what makes it so important in its ecosystem. By eating carrion these beetles are important decomposers, breaking down dead material and ultimately putting that material back into the soil to be used by other organisms.
Once spanning almost all of the eastern US this species now occupies only about 10% of its original range. It is now native in only five states. This decrease in range and population size are likely due to human development and the hunting of higher predators. Less predators means greater populations of scavengers and more competition for the beetles.
This species is being threatened once again by the possible construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The current proposed path for the pipeline extends right through known burying beetle habitat.
(Image source: Tamara Clark)
(Information sources: Encyclopedia of Life, RWPZoo)

the-holocene-extinction:

American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)-

Status: Critically endangered

When people think of endangered species usually it’s large species like giant pandas and sea turtles that come to mind. Rarely is much thought given to the humble american burying beetle. Most would even consider it revolting because of its habit of feeding on carrion as a larva. This very aspect of its behavior, however, is what makes it so important in its ecosystem. By eating carrion these beetles are important decomposers, breaking down dead material and ultimately putting that material back into the soil to be used by other organisms.

Once spanning almost all of the eastern US this species now occupies only about 10% of its original range. It is now native in only five states. This decrease in range and population size are likely due to human development and the hunting of higher predators. Less predators means greater populations of scavengers and more competition for the beetles.

This species is being threatened once again by the possible construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The current proposed path for the pipeline extends right through known burying beetle habitat.

(Image source: Tamara Clark)

(Information sources: Encyclopedia of Life, RWPZoo)