“Say ahh” Sphodromantis gastrica (…

“Say ahh” Sphodromantis gastrica (African mantis) adult female opens wide for the mantis doctor. #sphrodromantisgastrica #sphrodromantis #africanmantis #mantodea #mantis #prayingmantis #insects #arthropoda #invertebrate #wildlife #nature #animals #science #entomology #biology #alien #exotic #pets #photography #mantismonarch #doctor
https://www.instagram.com/p/B2KZGnWBWb2/?igshid=1jgir6azzffec

Live from my bedroom window: Obscure Bird Gras…

Live from my bedroom window: Obscure Bird Grasshopper 👌
Check out those pecs 😍

September 6, 2019

Major Mola Moment: First Confirmed Hoodwinker …

montereybayaquarium:

image

Consider this your o-fish-al welcome to Monterey Bay, Hoodwinker Sunfish! You certainly had us fooled 😅

Divers in Monterey Bay have photographed two hoodwinker sunfish this year—the first confirmed sightings of this new species of sunfish in Central California!

image

A hoodwinker sunfish being cleaned by señorita wrasses off of Pacific Grove. Video: Joe Platko

Known to science as Mola tecta, the hoodwinker sunfish was officially described in 2017 by Dr. Marianne Nyegaard at Australia’s Murdoch University.

The word “tecta” is Latin for hidden—a perfect moniker for a hoodwinker. Mola tecta were thought to live mainly in the cold waters around Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Chile. 

But then, earlier this year, a massive hoodwinker sunfish washed up in Santa Barbara

This sighting of Mola tecta was tantalizing for sunfish researchers: Are hoodwinkers new arrivals to the area, carried by Chile’s cool Humboldt current and somehow punching their way through the equator and into our temperate waters due to some climatic abnormality? Or have hoodwinkers been around these parts for some time, hiding in plain sight until Marianne’s discovery gave attentive observers the right clues to look for? Maybe a little bit of both? Something else entirely?

image

Mola mola, known as the common sunfish, in the Open Sea display at the Aquarium

image

Mola tecta found in Monterey Bay just offshore of Pacific Grove. This was the first confirmed sighting of a Mola tecta in Monterey Bay. Photo: Jr Sosky

image

Key characteristics of Mola tecta for identification. Photo: Jr Sosky/Marianne Nyegaard

A blessing in disguise

Whatever the case, there are now at least two more Mola tecta confirmed here in California, and the first ever identified in Monterey Bay.

In early August, a merry band of underwater photographers came across a large ocean sunfish being cleaned by señorita wrasses at Eric’s Pinnacle, a rocky outcrop off Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove. 

We shared an image on the Aquarium’s social media feeds by photographer Joe Platko under the guise of a Mola mola Monday Motivoceanal Moment!” 

image

Our (erroneous) post on Twitter. More social media copy mistakes that lead to discoveries of new sunfish species in our backyard, please!

Mola mola is no stranger to the Monterey Bay—we see youngsters and heavyweights throughout the year just offshore of the Aquarium, and we’ve frequently had them on display in the Open Sea. 

(You may know Mola mola better from the expletive-ridden video of a Boston fisherman coming across a sea monster in this viral video https://youtu.be/r0IQCLQDfKw , or perhaps you’ve read the decidedly contrarian hate-click account of how “useless” sunfish are. )

Weighing nearly 5,000 pounds and spanning over 11 feet from tip to tip, Mola mola is one of the heaviest bony fishes in the sea (its Western Pacific cousin, the bumphead sunfish Mola alexandrini is just a touch heavier in the record books.)  

Something fishy about that fishy…

Content with our content, we looked to see what you all thought of this magical “Mola mola”—and that’s when things got exciting!

A comment right here on Tumblr by Drop Science mentioned that this fish looked more Mola tecta than Mola mola. The two are remarkably similar in appearance, but there are a few tells. Most noticeably, a Mola tecta caudal fin is is divided by a smooth band projecting backwards to the fin’s edge. 

Intrigued, we forwarded more images from Joe Platko and his dive buddy Jr Sosky to Senior Aquarist and resident mola expert Michael Howard. 

Michael has been instrumental in our ocean sunfish program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium over several decades, pioneering training methods, specialized diets and tracking programs for these megafish. The Aquarium is the only one to successfully display Mola mola in North America. 

Growing from just a few dozen pounds to several hundred, our resident sunfishes are released back to the wild. Once back in the bay, Michael’s satellite tags have revealed that Mola mola may migrate very far up and down the coast, and spend considerable time diving into the deep sea to feed on a varied diet of jellies, squid, crabs and other fare.

After reviewing the images, Michael thought there was certainly the chance that a hoodwinker had been found. He got us in touch with Marianne Nyegaard herself, and she confirmed that these were indeed the first images of a live Mola tecta in Monterey Bay! 

Then, just three weeks later, diver Wei Wei Gao happened upon another Mola tecta off of Cannery Row!! 

image

A hoodwinker sunfish filmed off Cannery Row. Video: Wei Wei Gao

A tecta-nic shift in our sunfish understanding!

In email exchanges that used up both of our yearly supplies of exclamation points, Dr. Marianne remarked that these sightings show just how little we know about one of the ocean’s most iconic fishes. 

Michael is now diving into our records to see if there’s a chance we have had a Mola tecta hidden in our studies. And as for us, we’re buzzing with excitement at the discovery of this neighbor in our backyard, pleasantly deceived by a hoodwinker sunfish, and awestruck by the limitless wonder and mystery of our beloved Monterey Bay.

image

The first-ever confirmed Mola tecta in Monterey Bay being cleaned by señorita wrasses. Welcome to the neighborhoodwinker! Video: Joe Platko.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

September 5, 2019

heya, i just wanted to ask how and where you g…

heya, i just wanted to ask how and where you get most of your info on arthropods/other "weird" critters. i wanna learn more about them, but idk where to start

Info on wikipedia is actually pretty great for that, people do add almost every known fact to most pages, although for more obscure species you have to dig to find much more.

Some great online blogs (some still updating, some not but with big archives!) include:

Gwen Pearson (Bug Girl) on Wired

Catalogue of Organisms

Myrmecos (also a nature photography blog, and has special focus on ants)

Fly obsession – just flies!

Regular

anaisnein:

cipheramnesia:

fihli:

this morning my starbucks is all women, so when i ordered it was all “i love your glasses!” “that drink is soooo good” “have a great day babe!” which is amazing showstopping incredible BUT yesterday the same starbucks was staffed by all guys and my interaction went kind of like this:

first guy, unprompted: we’re trying to help john name his scorpion

his coworker, leaning around him: here’s a list of names you should vote or write your own

me: …..what

john: AGGRESSIVELY SHOWS ME PICTURE OF BABY SCORPION

But… I need both of these interactions. Ideally combined.

One of my friends had a (live) scorpion in his pocket at a Taylor Swift concert. No reason, he just happened to have one on him. He didn’t show it to anyone or tell anyone about it. Missed opportunity, in my opinion.

September 4, 2019

“Morta” Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii…

“Morta” Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii (spiny flower mantis) sub-adult male nymph. He has two lovely ladies for him, as long as he doesn’t molt too soon.
#pseudocreobotrawahlbergii #spinyflowermantis #mantodea #mantis #prayingmantis #gottesanbeterin #mantiden #mante #insects #insekten #insectos #insekten #arthropoda #invert #wildlife #nature #animals #science #entomology #biology #alien #exotic #pets #photography #mantismonarch #morta #Atropos #fates #mythology
https://www.instagram.com/p/B2AIPiMBdGS/?igshid=1exxxkdo9m7pc

Regular

glumshoe:

I’m going to cry, I want one so badly…

thistlebackedwulver:

@glumshoe Big Ol Plush Velvet Worms!

spirellity:

They are back in their full wormyness! Velvet Worms!

get them in my shop spirellity.com

Same

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturalis…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

pterygota:

theres some fun stuff going on in the iNatters of tumblr project!

for anyone interested, theres a scavenger hunt up, as well as badges for fulfilling objectives!

for those who dont know, iNatters of tumblr is a project stated by @nanonaturalist​ to encourage people to use iNaturalist. you can see the original post about starting the project here. i have since become a co-admin of the project.

if youre not already a part of it but want to be involved, we welcome you to join! create an account on inaturalist.org and let us (me, @pterygota​ or kuchipatchis on iNat, or @nanonaturalist​ or nanofishology on iNat) know you want to be included so we can add you to the project, because hitting “join” on the project page allows you to watch the project, but not to be included. that has to be done by us manually.

theres much more information you can see by following the link, but if you havent looked, the scavenger hunt will fun for the next two months, and heres the list:

  • An example of camouflage
  • A plant growing out from the water
  • A mushroom
  • A fish
  • A pupa
  • Something fuzzy
  • Something spiky
  • Something having a meal
  • A symbiotic relationship
  • Something growing on or out of a man-made object
  • An animal with more than 8 legs
  • An animal with no legs
  • Something that lives in a shell
  • Something yellow and black
  • Something brown and white
  • Something purple and green
  • Something really common in your area
  • Something not native to your area
  • A bee native to your area
  • Something classified as a threatened species
  • A feather
  • An animal track
  • Mating behavior
  • A plant gall
  • A leaf mine

you can post the scavenger hunt list with links to your corresponding observations for each item on your tumblr blog and/or iNaturalist journal. please note that posting your observations to tumblr may mean giving out personal location information to a larger audience, so use discretion if posting to there. we may make posts featuring observations from the scavenger hunt, but will check with you for permission before doing so.

feel free to shoot a message if you have any questions, and if you are reading this, we would LOVE for you to participate!

Fun Scavenger Hunt is underway!!!

Join us over on iNaturalist to participate, and let me or @pterygota know if you need to be added to the project (the join button just lets you watch it, one of us needs to manually add you!)

You can add the badges to your iNat profile page as you earn them 😀

Have fun!

August 30, 2019

I’m not really participating, but here’s an oak gall wasp, Andricus quercusfoliatus:

Hint: it’s the thing that’s not an acorn, but is where one should be (lower left of the two non-leaf things).

This is on the live oak in my front yard. These are super common, and the wasps are teeny-tiny!

September 2, 2019

@jabercoll Ah, but you can’t see the wasp! This is a gall! The weird artichoke looking thing? Inside that is a wasp larva. A gall is plant tissue that develops due to another organism, typically an arthropod like a wasp, fly, or mite, manipulating it in some way to help it reproduce. For this gall, the wasp laid its egg inside the oak tissue, and instead of an acorn, the oak is growing a nice protective… artichoke thing… for the wasp larvae to grow up inside.

You have probably seen galls before, but thought they were seed pods! That’s what I thought until I learned about them! They will stay on the tree long after the wasp flies off, and eventually they’ll fall off. Oaks often have big brown ones. Look for them sometime!

September 2, 2019

Same for me, the first time I saw this type of gall! Here’s my iNat observation [link]:

Basically, I thought maybe it’s a weird little flower thing? Do oaks have flower things? Where do acorns come from anyways? Or maybe it’s a gall? But why does it look like a weird flower thing? Is it… a boy acorn???

One of my plant friends later on in the comments IDed the wasp for me! That’s where I learned abput these! This was all the way back in 2017!

September 2, 2019

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: pterygota: …

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

pterygota:

theres some fun stuff going on in the iNatters of tumblr project!

for anyone interested, theres a scavenger hunt up, as well as badges for fulfilling objectives!

for those who dont know, iNatters of tumblr is a project stated by @nanonaturalist​ to encourage people to use iNaturalist. you can see the original post about starting the project here. i have since become a co-admin of the project.

if youre not already a part of it but want to be involved, we welcome you to join! create an account on inaturalist.org and let us (me, @pterygota​ or kuchipatchis on iNat, or @nanonaturalist​ or nanofishology on iNat) know you want to be included so we can add you to the project, because hitting “join” on the project page allows you to watch the project, but not to be included. that has to be done by us manually.

theres much more information you can see by following the link, but if you havent looked, the scavenger hunt will fun for the next two months, and heres the list:

  • An example of camouflage
  • A plant growing out from the water
  • A mushroom
  • A fish
  • A pupa
  • Something fuzzy
  • Something spiky
  • Something having a meal
  • A symbiotic relationship
  • Something growing on or out of a man-made object
  • An animal with more than 8 legs
  • An animal with no legs
  • Something that lives in a shell
  • Something yellow and black
  • Something brown and white
  • Something purple and green
  • Something really common in your area
  • Something not native to your area
  • A bee native to your area
  • Something classified as a threatened species
  • A feather
  • An animal track
  • Mating behavior
  • A plant gall
  • A leaf mine

you can post the scavenger hunt list with links to your corresponding observations for each item on your tumblr blog and/or iNaturalist journal. please note that posting your observations to tumblr may mean giving out personal location information to a larger audience, so use discretion if posting to there. we may make posts featuring observations from the scavenger hunt, but will check with you for permission before doing so.

feel free to shoot a message if you have any questions, and if you are reading this, we would LOVE for you to participate!

Fun Scavenger Hunt is underway!!!

Join us over on iNaturalist to participate, and let me or @pterygota know if you need to be added to the project (the join button just lets you watch it, one of us needs to manually add you!)

You can add the badges to your iNat profile page as you earn them 😀

Have fun!

August 30, 2019

I’m not really participating, but here’s an oak gall wasp, Andricus quercusfoliatus:

Hint: it’s the thing that’s not an acorn, but is where one should be (lower left of the two non-leaf things).

This is on the live oak in my front yard. These are super common, and the wasps are teeny-tiny!

September 2, 2019

@jabercoll Ah, but you can’t see the wasp! This is a gall! The weird artichoke looking thing? Inside that is a wasp larva. A gall is plant tissue that develops due to another organism, typically an arthropod like a wasp, fly, or mite, manipulating it in some way to help it reproduce. For this gall, the wasp laid its egg inside the oak tissue, and instead of an acorn, the oak is growing a nice protective… artichoke thing… for the wasp larvae to grow up inside.

You have probably seen galls before, but thought they were seed pods! That’s what I thought until I learned about them! They will stay on the tree long after the wasp flies off, and eventually they’ll fall off. Oaks often have big brown ones. Look for them sometime!

September 2, 2019

nanonaturalist: pterygota: theres some fun s…

nanonaturalist:

pterygota:

theres some fun stuff going on in the iNatters of tumblr project!

for anyone interested, theres a scavenger hunt up, as well as badges for fulfilling objectives!

for those who dont know, iNatters of tumblr is a project stated by @nanonaturalist​ to encourage people to use iNaturalist. you can see the original post about starting the project here. i have since become a co-admin of the project.

if youre not already a part of it but want to be involved, we welcome you to join! create an account on inaturalist.org and let us (me, @pterygota​ or kuchipatchis on iNat, or @nanonaturalist​ or nanofishology on iNat) know you want to be included so we can add you to the project, because hitting “join” on the project page allows you to watch the project, but not to be included. that has to be done by us manually.

theres much more information you can see by following the link, but if you havent looked, the scavenger hunt will fun for the next two months, and heres the list:

  • An example of camouflage
  • A plant growing out from the water
  • A mushroom
  • A fish
  • A pupa
  • Something fuzzy
  • Something spiky
  • Something having a meal
  • A symbiotic relationship
  • Something growing on or out of a man-made object
  • An animal with more than 8 legs
  • An animal with no legs
  • Something that lives in a shell
  • Something yellow and black
  • Something brown and white
  • Something purple and green
  • Something really common in your area
  • Something not native to your area
  • A bee native to your area
  • Something classified as a threatened species
  • A feather
  • An animal track
  • Mating behavior
  • A plant gall
  • A leaf mine

you can post the scavenger hunt list with links to your corresponding observations for each item on your tumblr blog and/or iNaturalist journal. please note that posting your observations to tumblr may mean giving out personal location information to a larger audience, so use discretion if posting to there. we may make posts featuring observations from the scavenger hunt, but will check with you for permission before doing so.

feel free to shoot a message if you have any questions, and if you are reading this, we would LOVE for you to participate!

Fun Scavenger Hunt is underway!!!

Join us over on iNaturalist to participate, and let me or @pterygota know if you need to be added to the project (the join button just lets you watch it, one of us needs to manually add you!)

You can add the badges to your iNat profile page as you earn them 😀

Have fun!

August 30, 2019

I’m not really participating, but here’s an oak gall wasp, Andricus quercusfoliatus:

Hint: it’s the thing that’s not an acorn, but is where one should be (lower left of the two non-leaf things).

This is on the live oak in my front yard. These are super common, and the wasps are teeny-tiny!

September 2, 2019