If you can photograph the architecture of the original builders in the animal kingdom with the same professional clarity and precision used to photograph human architecture, you’ll see that the work of animals stands up to anything we’ve made in our cities. The mud skyscrapers engineered by termites, and the woven houses of birds, as well as the ceramic mansions of the underworld are utterly magnificent. Behold the spring source of art! Nests, shells, webs, hives, etc. could each have their own book, but only a few of each types are featured here. Each is captured in an impeccable, perfect image, an iconographic representation of an entire museum of examples you’ll be inspired to seek out.
by Ingo Arndt
Harry N. Abrams
2014, 160 pages, 8.6 x 10.1 x 0.8 inches
$20 Buy a copy on Amazon
The Martin Country Sheriff's Office was called in to rescue a 10-week-old kitten who'd gotten its head stuck in a RV wheel. They successfully exercised "care, precision, and perseverance" to save the kitten.
Fortunately, my three cats are happy to sit in my lap while I trim their nails, so I don't have to put them in this miniature gimp suit.
Wondermark's instant classic "Terrible Sea Lion" strip is getting a fresh lease on life as a perfect parable for the experience of posting about #Gamergate and then being haunted by endlessly persistent entitled jerks.
A phenomenon that had long been suspected, but never directly observed, now finally videoed by a World Wildlife Federation photographer in Sichuan province.
The dog is a great listener, but I still wouldn't want to be the guy with the padded arm. [via]
A great, full-body-squick-inducing article in National Geographic provides an overview of the current research on parasites that use a combination of techniques to control their hosts' behavior, making them sacrifice themselves for the sake of the parasites and their offspring.
Read the rest
Read the rest
"A giant red leech hunts down a 70cm long blue worm and sucks it down like spaghetti."
Steve Haddock of the the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (and author of the fantastic book, Practical Computing for Biologists) sent me a link to MBARI's latest video, about the wonderfully weird Velella jellyfish, aka the by-the-wind sailor.
In the spring, beaches can be covered by thousands or even millions of blue jellyfish relatives called Velella velella, the by-the-wind sailors. Velella typically live on the surface of the open ocean far from shore, propelled by winds pushing on their tiny sails.
Velella is best described as a hydroid colony which has flipped itself over. It is unlike a traditional jellyfish (medusa), but rather like the benthic stage of a hydroid. Instead of living attached to rocks on the bottom, its "substrate" is the ocean's surface. These hydroid colonies bud off tiny medusae, little "jellyfish", just like many benthic hydroids do.
A particularly striking feature of Velella is their blue pigmentation. In fact, most animals that live on the surface of the water (snails, jellies, fish) have blue pigmentation. It may serve different purposes for different organisms, but is likely a combination of camouflage and protection from the sun's rays.
For more information on Velella and to report your own sightings go to jellywatch.org.