“Whether it’s special proteins that act like the antifreeze in your car, body fluids spiked with alcohol instead of water or gearing up for long-distance travel to warmer climes, it seems that these hardy bugs have developed their own answers to the biological problems winter poses.
You’ve likely heard of one the most common ways insects make it through this darkest and coldest season: time travel. “Either they escape in space, which means they migrate, or they escape in time, which means they become dormant,” says Scott Hayward, an invertebrate biologist at the University of Birmingham. “The vast majority actually becomes dormant.””
Want to know more about how or small uncharismatic friends survive in during the colder months? Read about it over at Smithsonian Magazine!
In a time where biodiversity is actively under threat, I’d like to take a moment to applaud organizations that highlight and promote organisms. And somehow I just stumbled across such a resource.
The Caterpillar Lab! Started by a kickstarter in 2013, it’s mission statement:
The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.
Check them out here, or simply enjoy the video below (One of many that can be found on their website).
What’s that? You prefer your biological organisms to be of the charismatic variety? You like cute cuddly bears, and seals?
Giant insects terrify you? Skip this post.
Everyone else, WELCOME TO THE WEIRD FAUNA OF AUSTRALIA!
Seeing the Gargantuan Stick Insect in the wild is… wild. So read all about this encounter at Science Friday!
And check this guy out:
Sometimes, post titles just write themselves.
Ed Yong wrote an excellent article over at the Atlantic about boxer crabs, and how they do just that. They hold sea anemones (one in each claw) to facilitate eating. If you get rid of the anemones, the crabs can’t feed themselves.
However, when the anemones are freed from the crabs grasp, they flourish! Turns out, the crabs are trimming the anemones so they are a manageable size to carry around. And they do this, by cutting it in half.
Intrigued? Read about it here.
The tiny tardigrades are awesome. They are basically indestructible, and are the only animals known to survive the vacuum of space.
Now, research reveals that an inordinate amount of their DNA (1/6?!?!) comes from foreign organisms.
Want to know more? Check it out over at Slate!
I’m not going to summarize this article. I am just going to leave this here:
“What happens next may upset you (and in fact, if you’re sensitive to bird-on-bird violence, you may want to stop reading here). Before the chicks even realize there’s an enemy at the gates, the woodpecker cocks its head back and starts to peck … their skulls. The Gila’s head moves like a pneumatic hammer, up and down, up and down, drilling into flesh and bone with the force of 1,000 G’s. Soon both chicks’ skulls have been opened up like coconuts. At this point, the woodpecker begins extracting brain and blood with its long, sticky tongue.”
Want to read more?
WARNING: This video is not for the faint of heart. It’s gruesome to watch if you love little baby birds. You’ve been warned.
Some days you need intense thoughts about science and politics and publishing and getting involved!
Some days you need brutal videos of the savagery of nature. Today is the latter.
So, enjoy this sand striker video (from the Smithsonian Channel’s Crazy Monsters)