Invertebrata

Invertebrate education and photography

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)

April 2, 2014 7:05 pm

astronomy-to-zoology:

Genus: Beaus

Beaus is an unusual genus of small Platygastrid wasps that occur worldwide. Adult Beaus spp. are unbelievably small and are parasitize on egg sacs of spiders of the family Lycosidae. Female Beaus spp. are wingless and phoretic, ‘riding’ on the female spider until her eggs are laid. The female will then lay her eggs inside the spider’s egg, the female wasps’s larvae will then develop inside the eggs until they reach adulthood. 

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Hymenoptera-Platygastroidea-Platygastridae-Scelioninae-Baeus

Images: ©tom murray and ©Ashley Bradford

12:20 pm

astronomy-to-zoology:

Ambon Crinoid Shrimp (Laomenes amboinensis)

…a species of crinoid shrimp that occurs in waters off of Indonesia, Queensland, New Caledonia, The Marshall Islands, the Ryukyu Islands and Papua New Guinea. As its common name suggests this species lives in association with feather stars (Crinoidea) living in between its many arms. Feeding on any organic particles that happen to fall near it. Like other crinoid shrimp the coloration of this species is highly varied and usually matches the color of its host.

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Crustacea-Malacostraca-Decapoda-Caridea-Palemonidae-Laomenes-L. amboinensis

Images: Scubaluna and Wharmut

(via invertebrates)

April 1, 2014 1:28 pm

clusterpod:

Masked Devil, Cyclochila australasiae.

The ventral (underneath) view shows this cicadas amazing rostrum (its proboscis, mouthparts) which it uses to penetrate plant material to feed on its xylem.

The Masked Devil is thought to have a life cycle of seven years or more, most of that as a larvae underground, feeding on sap from tree roots. Large cicadas like the Masked Devil may survive as an adult for several months.

This individual (exhausted) photographed at the Heritage Rail Trestle Bridge, Mount Lawson state park, Victoria.

(via somuchscience)

March 28, 2014 7:24 pm

rhamphotheca:

The Long Arm of the Planktivore

by Brian Switek

The Cambrian oceans hosted a riot of evolutionary novelty. Over a seabead burrowed by penis worms and tread by living pincushions, multi-eyed invertebrates swung their schnozzles after prey and our closest, archaic relatives squirmed through the water.

Largest of all were the anomalocaridids – cousins of arthropods that flapped through the water on segmented wings and were equipped with a pair of “great appendages” hanging below a pineapple-ring mouth. Their size and flexible, spiky arms have made them dead ringers for apex predators in the eyes of paleontologists, but new research has cast at least one of these mind-bending invertebrates as a filter-feeder that was only a threat to plankton.

The pioneering planktivore was Tamisiocaris borealis, a relatively new addition to the anomalocaridid family tree named by paleontologists Allison Daley and John Peel in 2010. That description was based on a sole great appendage found in the 520 million year old rock of North Greenland’s Sirius Passet.

Against the slow grind of paleontology publication, however, discoveries in the field can quickly turn up additional parts of organisms that are already on their way to press. Expeditions in 2009 and again in 2011 uncovered additional appendages of Tamisiocaris in an even better state of preservation…

(read more: Laelaps blog - National Geo)

images: illustration by Rob Nicholls; Photo by Jakob Vinther/University of Bristol

March 23, 2014 4:46 pm
rhamphotheca:

Wood ants deter aerial predators by squirting formic acid in defence of their nest. Wildlife photographer Paul Quagliana spotted the ant army in Wareham Forest in Dorset, England, firing the foul-smelling venom into the air. Formic acid can scare off large predators such as woodpeckers and jays.
Photograph: Paul Quagliana/BNPS
(via: The Guardian UK)

rhamphotheca:

Wood ants deter aerial predators by squirting formic acid in defence of their nest. Wildlife photographer Paul Quagliana spotted the ant army in Wareham Forest in Dorset, England, firing the foul-smelling venom into the air. Formic acid can scare off large predators such as woodpeckers and jays.

Photograph: Paul Quagliana/BNPS

(via: The Guardian UK)

March 22, 2014 5:44 pm
ucresearch:

What trilobites can tell us about how animals evolve
The trilobite, which became extinct millions of years ago, is commonly known as one of the first complex forms of life on earth.  Their fossils can be found in many parts of the world and are often collected for their interesting shapes and varieties. (There’s even a vacuum cleaner designed after this creature…) 
In fact there are actually 20,000 known varieties of this arthropod. They even ranged in sizes from ones that could fit inside your pocket to being as large as your sofa (!!!?!).
UC Riverside’s Dr. Nigel Hughes explains:

"They can have scoops or shovels, be fantastically spiny or beautifully streamlined and diverged to really explore their evolutionary space, but they still maintain that common body plan.”

Scientists study trilobite fossils to understand how today’s animals have evolved to the present.  This can be everything from how mating habits developed to how a species can protect itself from predators.  
Dr. Hughes not only studies the trilobite, but even sings about them.

ucresearch:

What trilobites can tell us about how animals evolve

The trilobite, which became extinct millions of years ago, is commonly known as one of the first complex forms of life on earth.  Their fossils can be found in many parts of the world and are often collected for their interesting shapes and varieties. (There’s even a vacuum cleaner designed after this creature…) 

In fact there are actually 20,000 known varieties of this arthropod. They even ranged in sizes from ones that could fit inside your pocket to being as large as your sofa (!!!?!).

UC Riverside’s Dr. Nigel Hughes explains:

"They can have scoops or shovels, be fantastically spiny or beautifully streamlined and diverged to really explore their evolutionary space, but they still maintain that common body plan.”

Scientists study trilobite fossils to understand how today’s animals have evolved to the present.  This can be everything from how mating habits developed to how a species can protect itself from predators.  

Dr. Hughes not only studies the trilobite, but even sings about them.

(via somuchscience)