Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home

LA Times:In search of the 'lost ladybug'
"people across North America and Mexico who have become absorbed in an effort called the Lost Ladybug Project, which Cornell University entomologist John Losey started 12 years ago to document the insects and determine why some species are declining."

Science NewsDaily: Invasive Alien Predator Causes Rapid Declines of European Ladybugs

"A particularly dramatic decline in the 2-spot ladybird was noted, showing a decline by 30% in Belgium and 44% in Britain over the five years following the arrival of the Harlequin. Similar patterns of decline were found in ladybird abundance data (number of individuals) collated from systematic surveys of deciduous trees in Belgium, Britain and Switzerland. The 2-spot ladybird is now near the threshold of detection in habitats in which it was previously common."

Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata

Lost Ladybug Project

help Cornell find the lost ladybugs that are vanishing form our world...  now is the i time when hey emerge from  wintering and can be found  in large groups. See how many different ladybirds you can find.

European ladybirds
Coccinellidae of Germany

                                          Cream-spot and 7-spot
                                      Calvia quatuordecimguttata
                                      Coccinella septempunctata Coccinellidae image directory

Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata

Harmonia  axyridis  melanic variant--white cheek patches are giveaway  and red legs.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walking Stick Recovery

NPR: Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway
by   February 29, 2012

by Robert Krulwich

"No, this isn't a make-believe place. It's real.Ball's Pyramid in the Tasman sea is located 19 kilometers from Lord Howe Island east of Australia.

They call it "Ball's Pyramid." It's what's left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.

What's more, for years this place had a secret. At 225 feet above sea level, hanging on the rock surface, there is a small, spindly little bush, and under that bush, a few years ago, two climbers, working in the dark, found something totally improbable hiding in the soil below. How it got there, we still don't know.

Here's the story: About 13 miles from this spindle of rock, there's a bigger island, called Lord Howe Island.
On Lord Howe, there used to be an insect, famous for being big. It's a stick insect, a critter that masquerades as a piece of wood, and the Lord Howe Island version was so large — as big as a human hand — that the Europeans labeled it a "tree lobster" because of its size and hard, lobsterlike exoskeleton. It was 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world. Local fishermen used to put them on fishing hooks and use them as bait"

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect hatching from Zoos Victoria on Vimeo.

project page for the conservation of teh stick insect

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect
Zoo Victoria

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fly Away With Me-- Butterflies and Caterpillars

Butterfly Conservation 2011 report
State of the Decline in UK Species 2011
"Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) findings show 72% of species declined in abundance over ten years and distributions of 54% of butterflies fell, many sharply."

                                                    Chalk Hill Blue   Coridon lysander

Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants

Instead of  guessing who might appear in the clover, check the database and find out about host plants. Sometimes weed patches really aren't weed patches, but rich environments for butterfly habitat.

Holly Blue, Celestrina argiolus

Global Lepidoptera Names Index

and then you can always check names, because there might be more than one

                                                     Peacock Butterfly, Aglais io

Find out about the sate of the world and protect your own small patch for a better tomorrow tomorrow

Butterflies and Birds Unable to Keep Pace With Climate Change in Europe

ScienceDaily (Jan. 18, 2012) — Butterflies and birds are no longer able to keep up with climate change. Compared with twenty years ago, butterflies are now 135 kilometres behind the shifting climate zones and birds more than 200 kilometres. This is one of the findings from a study by European researchers published Jan. 9, 2012 in the journalNature Climate Change.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Better know your bumblebee

Bumblebee Identikit
Bee identification color guides-international

international identikit for  bees

Insects Have 'Personalities' Too, Research On Novelty-Seeking Honey Bees Indicates

"There is a gold standard for personality research and that is if you show the same tendency in different contexts, then that can be called a personality trait," Robinson said. Not only do certain bees exhibit signs of novelty-seeking, he said, but their willingness or eagerness to "go the extra mile" can be vital to the life of the hive.

For Stressed Bees, the Glass Is Half Empty

The findings suggest that it may be possible to study bees as a model for emotion in invertebrates. "If some scientific research on emotion could be conducted in insects, this would lead to a reduction in the numbers of sentient vertebrate animals used in research," Bateson said. "Thus our research potentially has important implications for animal welfare."

White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lucoruum

Red-tailed  Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just Duckie

Madagascar duckling hatch for Easter

World’s rarest ducks make Easter debut

"Six years ago their kind was feared extinct, but 18 newborn ducklings from the world's most endangered duck species – the Madagascar pochard – met the public for the first time yesterday."

After 8,000 miles, Martin the cuckoo is almost home

"Doing the cuckooing is Martin, one of the five British cuckoos ringed in Norfolk last summer by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and fitted with lightweight satellite transmitters to record their migration to and from their African wintering grounds.
After a tremendous nine-month odyssey involving a double crossing of the Sahara desert, Martin is the first bird to make it back to Europe, and in the last few days has crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa and is currently near the town of Lorca in the Spanish province of Murcia – or to put it in Easter Holiday terms, not far from the welcoming climes of the Costa Blanca.
Depending on the weather, and the absence of accidents, he will probably be back cuckooing in the countryside near Great Yarmouth, where he was caught on 19 May last year, some time in the next 10 days. With various diversions, he will have travelled more than 8,500 miles."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dangerous invasive predator: Burmese python

The Burmese python dumped in the Everglades doesn't  just swallow deer and gators, it raids  eggs from bird nests, so expect vast depopulation of everglades in near futue

Researchers Find Evidence That Evergaldes Pythons Are Eating Bird Eggs

"“The three cases include a 14-pound (about 6 kilogram) male python stretching some 8.5 feet (about 2.6 meters) in length, which they collected near a house in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. The snake threw up 10 guinea fowl eggs soon after it was captured. The team discovered the remains of two bird eggs in another python collected for the study — a female weighing 30 pounds (about 13 kg), with a length of more than 10 feet (3 m),” Welsh added.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Elephant plays with Samsung device

Elephant massacre in Cameroon
April 1, 2012

"The nation of Cameroon recently suffered one of the worst mass killings of elephants in years. Up to four hundred fifty of the animals have been found dead in the country’s Bouba Ndjida National Park since January.
A United Nations agency expressed deep concern over the killings. John Scanlon is head of CITES -- the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
A CITES study showed an increase in the number of elephant kills in two thousand eleven. Secretary-General Scanlon said people are killing the animals for ivory – the substance that makes up their tusks. He said the deaths are a major concern not only for Cameroon but for all areas where African elephants live.
MARIO RITTER: The CITES chief said the incident shows that a new poaching problem is taking place. He said poachers are using high-powered weapons to destroy elephant populations. Reports say groups from Chad and Sudan have attacked elephants during recent weeks. The hunters are thought to sell the ivory to get money, weapons and ammunition for armed conflicts."