Spanish photographer Carlos Perez Naval, age 8, won the London Natural History Museum's Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 prize for this breathtaking photo of a yellow scorpion. From the photo description:
Carlos had found it basking on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones, northeast Spain – a place he often visits to look for reptiles. The late afternoon Sun was casting such a lovely glow over the scene that Carlos decided to experiment with a double exposure for the first time so he could include it. He started with the background, using a fast speed so as not to overexpose the Sun, and then shot the scorpion using a low flash. But he had to change lenses, using his zoom for the Sun, which is when the scorpion noticed the movement and raised its tail. Carlos then had to wait for it to settle before taking his close-up, with the last of the light illuminating its body.
Carlos Perez Naval's Retazos de Naturaleza
And see all the 2014 winning photos here.
Danaus plexippus is in trouble. David Mizejewski raised one to demonstrate its life cycle, and explains what you can do to help them thrive
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A small sample of the incredible macro photography of Yudy Sauw, who is based in Indonesia. You can buy prints, via Behance.
Stanford biologist Deborah M. Gordon's animated explanation of an ant colony, "one of the most complex social organizations in the animal kingdom."
This looks like a tornado but it's actually a swarm of insects, perhaps red locusts, that Ana Filipa Scarpa photographed in Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal (EPOD).
Cricket flour is made from slow roasted milled Gryllidae, reports Meryl Natow, and the result is a delicious, light brown flour that resembles brown sugar.
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Newcastle University researchers outfitted praying mantises with tiny 3D glasses to better understand the evolution of vision, and potentially improve computer image processing. I wonder if they gave the mantises a headache like they do me. (Thanks, Ari Pescovitz!)
"Spray gun is coated with gilt and trimmed with bee and flowers, can be used on household pests when company is around." Go here for more wonderful gifts from 1953 that LIFE magazine deemed were "far better to give than to receive."
At The New York Times Magazine
, Jon Mooallem has a story about a fight against an invasive species that began with a man called Mike the Hog-a-Nator shop-vac'd five gallons worth of ants
out of his air conditioning ducts.
This little beastie is a baby planthopper, about 5 millimeters long, that researchers recently documented during an expedition to southeast Suriname. This particular creature isn't a fresh discovery, but the Conservation International team did find 60 species they believe are new to science.
"Many planthopper species exude waxy secretions from the abdomen, which sometimes form long strands like those seen in this photo," says Conservation International's Trond Larsen. "These strands may provide protection from predators — it could be that they fool a predator into attacking the wrong part of the insect, and the wax breaks off while the insect jumps to safety."
"Expedition to Southeast Suriname Uncovers 60 New Species — and Untold Natural Wealth"
Meet Issus coleoptratus, an insect whose larva have interlocking meshed gears connecting their back legs. The gears help coordinate leg movements, helping the larva to jump fast and far.
has a wonderful feature on cicadas
, the mysterious insects overwhelming large swaths of the Eastern United States this summer. Their behavior and deafening song provides research material for scientists, inspiration for artists and mixed reactions from residents. Miles O'Brien
reports. A transcript and links to some of the cool projects referenced in the piece are all here
Below, an extended cut NewsHour out-take video I requested featuring David Rothenberg, a musician who makes music with the cicadas. How cool is this guy? He is my favorite thing about this piece. And of course Pesco has blogged about him before here on Boing Boing, back in 2010!
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Neuroscientist have attached an electronic "backpack" to dragonflies that jack into the insect's brain and wirelessly transmit the data back to a base station. Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher Anthony Leonardo and his collaborators hope the telemetry will deepen our understanding of how dragonflies target and catch their pray. (via Wired)
Image: Cicada, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from tinali778's photostream
So here is another line to kill space
This summer, folks on the East Coast of the US will see (and hear) an invasion of billions of cicadas in what is probably the most obvious part of the insects' 17-year life cycle. The cicadas will crawl out of the dirt, make a lot of noise, and seek out other cicadas in order to breed and create a new generation of larvae that will, 17 years from now, emerge to do the same thing all over again.
It's big news for those of us who think things like insects, evolution, and cyclical processes of nature are really, really cool.
Today, I ran across a number of Cicadasplosion-related stories and wanted to share them with you:
• First up, Carl Zimmer has a piece in the New York Times about cicadas and the evolution of seemingly strange life cycles. It includes a neat, interactive graphic showing a century of cicada blooms around the United States.
• The University of Maryland has a helpful cicada cookbook, including tips on the best times and ways to harvest the bugs. You want them young, and succulent, apparently.
• Cicadas will not hurt you, but they might land on you and there's a possibility that they may be sexually attracted to the sound of your weed-wacker.
• In 1894, The New York Times suggested pressing cicadas into a biscuit for dog food.
• If you're not a cicada fan and don't want to eat them yourself, rest assured, some of them will be eaten alive by a horrific-sounding fungus.
• Radiolab's cicada tracker is still up and running, and you can participate.
• A couple of years ago, when a different group of cicadas (on a 13-year-cycle) was hatching in North Carolina, Charles Choi spoke with chronobiologist and blogger Bora Zivkovic about why we don't yet understand cyclical systems like this.
Image: Cicada on leaf, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from frotzed's photostream