Category: long post

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

I just wanted to say that it's grasshopper and cicada season where I live now. There so many grasshoppers that if I walk in any patch of dry sand and rock, anywhere from 10 to 100's of them start jumping at once and just cascade and fly into my face and I love them so much. What neat grasshopper facts do you have?

It’s grasshopper season here, too! I’m a bit of a grasshopper dunce, but I do still know some neat grasshopper facts.

One of my favorites is about grasshoppers vs. locusts. They’re essentially the same thing! There are some species of grasshoppers that will turn into massive swarms if they get too crowded, and they will destroy everything they will find. Some researchers looked into this, and it turns out, brushing their hind legs releases serotonin in their brains, and that’s what causes their behavioral changes! [link to LiveScience article] 

The Australian Department of Agriculture has a great page about locusts, including their life cycle, I highly recommend checking it out, it’s a great brief overview [link].

Another grasshopper fact, which I discovered by obsessively photographing every bug I see and then having people identify them for me on iNaturalist, is that… the same species can come in MANY different forms! Here are are bunch of photos of Short-winged Green Grasshoppers:

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Thing is, when I first encountered this species name, I assumed all of them would have… short wings… and that they would maybe, be green? NOPE!!! There is a LONG WINGED form (See the babe in the top left? Long wings!) And I don’t think I need to point out the ones that aren’t green. These are ALL THE SAME SPECIES! Don’t believe me? Bottom left corner, a green lady is mating with a brown gentleman. Definition of species, right?

Grasshoppers are so good at camouflaging, holy carp. Take these Aztec Grasshoppers for example. There are two in the photo. This is at Bastrop State Park, where some of the dirt is red from the iron content:

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Or what about this Broad-horned Grasshopper I saw in Malawi?

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And while we’re in Malawi, I HAVE TO SHARE this Gaudy fellow (seriously, the family is commonly called “Gaudy grasshoppers), a Dictyophorus sp. babe I saw hiding out in plain sight on a Cycad, which I didn’t see until I’d been staring at a wasp for several minutes:

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Coming back to Texas, I’ve seen SEMI-AQUATIC GRASSHOPPERS???? NO REALLY, THEY WERE ALL SWIMMING ON PURPOSE, AND THAT’S THEIR THING????? I still don’t know wtf these things are besides pygmy grasshoppers.

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Showy Grasshoppers (that’s their name!) that look like aliens:

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Aztec spur-throat grasshopper nymphs that look like candies:

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The Bird grasshoppers, named because, I presume, they are so huge they are mistaken for birds when they fly:

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One of my fondest grasshoppers memories, though, was of this Red-shanked Grasshopper, who was waiting outside my building at UT Austin when I was a grad student. I was leaving my lab late one night (1 am! Hey, I said I was a grad student!), and he was just waiting for me. I wasn’t a naturalist quite yet, this was 2014. So I did what came naturally to me when faced with a giant grasshopper:

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Grasshoppers are awesome! I hope you get to meet some fun ones!

July 6, 2019

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Art Heist

I have no idea which blog to put this in, so you’re welcome in advance.

My brother and I talk to each other approximately once or twice a year. Quality over quantity, you get the idea. We’re only three years apart, and our sense of humor and love for terrible things is identical. For example, we amused ourselves for years by reliving each other’s epic earwax stories (he won—I may have needed medical intervention for a pea-size blockage, but he had a photo that required a coin for a sense of scale).

Anyways, when I randomly got a text message from him out of nowhere yesterday, I knew it was going to be good.

That’s right

This beauty. I must have it. This must be mine.

My brother’s texts reappeared again today (amazing, two days in a row! We are truly up to something!), and he had talked to the curator for the art show at his work regarding the price of the piece.

The dimensions, first off:

36 inches tall by 48 inches wide

That is: 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide

Yes

The price is set at $900. For an original masterpiece? Of such magnitude? I HAVE to have it. This won’t be for sale for a year, that is plenty of time to justify spending $900 for a one-of-a-kind original artwork that transcends species barriers like this.

So I am currently attempting to intimidate the artist, via the curator, with my (super timid) brother acting as an intermediary, into agreeing to sell the painting to me after the show ends in a year, when I can have it shipped from Seattle to Texas, and have it form the centerpiece of my Disturbing Bird Art Wall, because I’ve got plenty of bird art, but oh boy it would all take on a new perspective with this in the center.

Stay tuned (?!)

May 30, 2019

WE HAVE A NAME

Tammie Dupuis! [link to website]

And our piece? Which we love? IS PART OF A SERIES!!!!

AND MORE! 

Let’s show some love!
Instagram: tammie.dupuis [link]
facebook: Dupuis Creative [link]

June 3, 2019

Lol @lexiellama okay:

It’s a long story, but I acquired this painting over 10 tears ago, and fought over this painting too (it had been abandoned by its previous owner). I slept with it next to my bed for a while.

For a while, every time I look at it, something in it had changed.

Y’all know how I can find a microscopic caterpillar from a mile away? I notice details.

They’ve gotta be haunted. At the time, I had a bunch of pet rabbits. They have all left me, but I like to think they’re haunting me through this damn painting (which is terrible and which I love immensely). Probably the only material possession I am more attached to than this painting is the unpainted ceramic snail I bought 17 years ago, and haven’t painted because it’s too perfect and I’m not ready to shoulder that burden.

June 4, 2019

nanonaturalist:

Art Heist

I have no idea which blog to put this in, so you’re welcome in advance.

My brother and I talk to each other approximately once or twice a year. Quality over quantity, you get the idea. We’re only three years apart, and our sense of humor and love for terrible things is identical. For example, we amused ourselves for years by reliving each other’s epic earwax stories (he won—I may have needed medical intervention for a pea-size blockage, but he had a photo that required a coin for a sense of scale).

Anyways, when I randomly got a text message from him out of nowhere yesterday, I knew it was going to be good.

That’s right

This beauty. I must have it. This must be mine.

My brother’s texts reappeared again today (amazing, two days in a row! We are truly up to something!), and he had talked to the curator for the art show at his work regarding the price of the piece.

The dimensions, first off:

36 inches tall by 48 inches wide

That is: 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide

Yes

The price is set at $900. For an original masterpiece? Of such magnitude? I HAVE to have it. This won’t be for sale for a year, that is plenty of time to justify spending $900 for a one-of-a-kind original artwork that transcends species barriers like this.

So I am currently attempting to intimidate the artist, via the curator, with my (super timid) brother acting as an intermediary, into agreeing to sell the painting to me after the show ends in a year, when I can have it shipped from Seattle to Texas, and have it form the centerpiece of my Disturbing Bird Art Wall, because I’ve got plenty of bird art, but oh boy it would all take on a new perspective with this in the center.

Stay tuned (?!)

May 30, 2019

WE HAVE A NAME

Tammie Dupuis! [link to website]

And our piece? Which we love? IS PART OF A SERIES!!!!

AND MORE! 

Let’s show some love!
Instagram: tammie.dupuis [link]
facebook: Dupuis Creative [link]

June 3, 2019

I always wondered about the houses of snails. Do they… create them? Why that shape? Will they essentially die if they were separated from their house or can they like… grow a new one or steal a discarded one like a hermit crab? In that vein: does the house grow with them or do they have to shed it if it gets too small…? 🧐🤔

Great Questions!

image

iNaturalist links to the above snails for IDs:
Top: [1] [2] [3] Middle: [4] [5] [6] Bottom [7] [8] [9]

Snails are in the class Gastropoda with slugs, and the only difference between the two are that slugs don’t have a shell. But, it’s hard to tell what to to call some species.

image

This is a Long-tailed Semi-slug from Malaysia (Copyright Arnold Wijker, photo from iNaturalist [link]). It has a shell, but it can’t fully retract into it, so it acts more like a slug. The shell is partially covered by flesh in this photo, but the semi-slug can completely cover the shell with its mantle.

If you go up one taxonomic level to phylum, slugs and snails are mollusks–same as clams (bivalves, two shells!) and cuttlefish (which is where cuttlebones come from, if you have pet birds, you are giving them cuttlefish bones chew up!). So you can trace the evolution of the shell in Mollusca from bivalves, to gastropods, to cephalopods (one internal shell, though the chambered nautilus still has an external shell!)

But back to your questions!

Do snails create their shells? 

Yes, absolutely! Do you create your skeleton? Do you create your skin? It’s the same situation for them.

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Snails are born with their shells! I used to keep a planted aquarium, which meant I often had snails GALORE (they would ride in on my new plants, and reproduce like crazy). Snails are hermaphrodites, so you don’t have to worry about if you have males and females, as long as you have two (or even one–some species can self-fertilize!), you will have a million in a week. The eggs of the snails I had in my aquarium were held together with a clear jelly, and the developing snails in the eggs were white. In the lower photo below, you can see the babies in the eggs. The white parts are their shells–their skin was still transparent.

A much larger baby snail I found in my tank is in the above left, with my index finger for scale (still a tiny baby!). In the top right, I have included a very tiny baby snail from my back yard in Texas. This baby was so small his shell was still transparent!

Another question you asked kinda answered another one: 

Why that shape? Do the shells grow with them? 

This one gets really interesting! So, snails are born with their shells. But unlike arthropods, they don’t molt. They keep the same shell their entire life, for the same reason turtles do:

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From Wikipedia [link]; Original by Al2, English captions and edits by Jeff Dahl 

All their organs are in there! Some snails will even let you see inside, like with this glass snail from France!

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Photo by Julien Renoult, available on public domain via iNaturalist [link]

So what do they do when they need to grow? Let’s look a little closer.

Here is a common snail in Texas, called a Texas Liptooth Snail [iNat link]. This is a full-grown adult:

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These are pretty small snails, so let’s look in the microscope:

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Check out those ridges! Maybe you have noticed these ridges on other snails before, or maybe you haven’t. The ridges are much more pronounced on this snail because the shell is so small, but those ridges function similarly to a ring on a tree–it represents a period of growth. The shell is made up almost entirely of Calcium Carbonate, the same mineral that composes limestone and eggshells (you know, like in bird eggs?). That tiny smooth area in the center of the shell is the portion that formed while the snail was inside the egg, then as the snail ate, the nutrients from its food were used to grow extra rings at the opening of the shell, which became steadily bigger, which allowed the snail’s body to grow! Then it could eat even more food, put down bigger rings, and on and on.

So now you may be wondering, I’m talking about snail shells which are usually spiral shaped, which can be long and narrow, wide and flat, or any variation of the two. But I’m not even talking about that weird… pointy cone thing I included in my opening collage?

You mean… the limpet? 

image

Oh yes, the limpets. These ones are Tortoiseshell Limpets from New Zealand [link] You may have noticed them on saltwater beaches, stuck to the rocks, and you may have confused them for strange looking barnacles, or maybe you had no idea what they were and you just ignored them or forgot about them. Or maybe you had a different name for them. But, yes, they are gastropods. And yes, that makes them snails.

These grow almost exactly like trees: much more simply put, they are little cones, and as they grow, they make a ring at their base, which makes them a little bit larger. For some species, the availability of nutrients will result in different colors in their rings, so you can see their age very clearly!

So what happens if they lose their shell?

I think by now, you can probably guess. They can’t really “lose” their shell, because it’s part of their body, which you can see if you take a really close look at snails (or you just, harass the heck out of them like I do). 

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Snails that hold onto their shells with their mantles!
TOP: A tailed snail I saw in Malawi (Africa [iNat Link]) BOTTOM: One of my aquarium snails

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Shy snail friends attempt to retreat to safety but can’t because their organs are in the way
LEFT: A large friend from Malawi [iNat link] RIGHT: A Wolfsnail friend from Texas [iNat link]

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GRAVITY

If you can get a view of a snail from the right angle, you can see their body coming out of their shell.

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LEFT: Globular drop [iNat link] RIGHT: Decollate snail [iNat Link], both from Texas
GIANT friend on my arm from Malawi [iNat link]

Thanks for asking, I hope I satisfied your curiosity! 

March 16, 2019

lampfaced:

nanonaturalist:

demonladytakkuri:

nanonaturalist:

Barn Owls are THE BEST. They are in a separate family from all other North American owls, and instead of whoo hoooting they do the TV STATIC SCREAM FROM YOUR NIGHTMARES.

Gotta love the raptor presentations at the state parks! This was at Lockhart State Park tonight at our Master Naturalist meeting. These presenters rehabilitate injured birds of prey through Austin Wildlife Rescue (austinwildliferescue.org), an organization that always NEEDS VOLUNTEERS to help out with the adorable baby animals. If you’re in Central Texas, check them out!

June 18, 2018

The barn owls are members of the family “tytonidae” while every other owl species is a member of the “strigadae” family.

While we typically think of owls like the one in the original post as being barn owls, every species in the family can technically be considered a barn owl.

This includes the various species of masked owls which are relatively similar to your common barn owl

As well as both varieties of sooty owl which are strikingly different than the common barn owl

There are also the grass owls which are behaviorally different than other barn owls in their habits of living on the ground rather than trees

And the two odd tytos out, the red owl and ashy faced owl respectively. Scientists know almost nothing about the former and no individuals have been kept in captivity despite being discovered quite some time ago. Even photographs of it are rare, but it appears to be an orange barn owl with a pink face.

Structurally speaking, barn owls actually have very few traits in common with strigadae owls as their face and beak shapes and proportions are entirely different. There are also differences in their legs and talons, while their similarities are limited to feather composition, ear placement, spinal structure, and binocular vision among a few other internal components.

That being said, barn owls are far from the only family of non-hooting owls as hooting is almost exclusive to larger species, typically genus Strix or bubo. Many other species will trill, screech, and/or hiss.

Barn owls are rather unique in having an incredibly keen sense of hearing, even in comparison to other owls. They can hear and discern between different heartbeats and triangulate the sound perfectly due to their satellite dish-like face shape.

In addition, this barn owl is not actually Tyto alba, it’s a Tyto furcuta, T. alba is the species native to Western Europe while T. furcuta is native to North America.

Many thanks for this owlditional quality content. I give three screams of approval 👍

bay owls (genus Phodilus) are in Tytonidae and they are some of my favorite owls of all time. they can be found in Southeast Asia, and some sites claim central Africa as well but I’m not sure?

they can shut their eyes and look eyeless

OR OPEN THEIR EYES WIDE THIS AND LOOK LIKE DEMONS

did I mention they have the best judgemental faces because of their eye positioning

and babies look like tiny demonic gryphons

last I went looking, not a lot is known about bay owl behavior aside from general Tyto habits. I just know they’re so out there appearance-wise and I love them so much for it.

Thank you for moar owlsome info + photos. These are good birbs.

October 8, 2018

typethedragon:

the-awkward-turt:

nanonaturalist:

starcults:

a-wandering-intern:

terrible-tentacle-theatre:

nanonaturalist:

thegreatpigeonking:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

alwayshere195:

fireheartedkaratepup:

thebeeblogger:

foxthebeekeeper:

jumpingjacktrash:

libertarirynn:

bollytolly:

l0veyu:

viva-la-bees:

fat-gold-fish:

how do u actually save bees?

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers
  • Support your local beekeepers
  • Set up bee hotels for solitary bees
  • If you see a lethargic bee feed it sugar water
  • Spread awareness of the importance off bees

+Don’t eat honey✌🏻

NO.

That will not help save the bees at all. They need the excess honey removed from their hives. That’s the beekeepers entire livelihood.

Seriously refusing to eat honey is one of those well-meaning but ultimately terrible ideas. The bees make way too much honey and need it out in order to thrive (not being funny but that was literally a side effect in Bee Movie). Plus that’s the only way for the beekeepers to make the money they need to keep the bees healthy. Do not stop eating honey because somebody on Tumblr told you too.

excess honey, if not removed, can ferment and poison the bees. even if it doesn’t, it attracts animals and other insects which can hurt the bees or even damage the hive. why vegans think letting bees stew in their own drippings is ‘cruelty-free’ is beyond me. >:[

the fact that we find honey yummy and nutritious is part of why we keep bees, true, but the truth is we mostly keep them to pollinate our crops. the vegetable crops you seem to imagine would still magically sustain us if we stopped cultivating bees.

and when you get right down to it… domestic bees aren’t confined in any way. if they wanted to fly away, they could, and would. they come back to the wood frame hives humans build because those are nice places to nest.

so pretending domestic bees have it worse than wild bees is just the most childish kind of anthropomorphizing.

If anything, man-made hives are MORE suitable for bees to live in because we have mathematically determined their optimal living space and conditions, and can control them better in our hives. We also can treat them for diseases and pests much easier than we could if they were living in, say, a tree.

Tl;dr for all of this: eating honey saves the bees from themselves, and keeping them in man-made hives is good for them.

✌️✌️✌️

Plus, buying honey supports bee owners, which helps them maintain the hives, and if they get more money they can buy more hives, which means more bees!

I tell people this. About the honey and what to do to save bees. I also have two large bottles of honey in my cabinet currently. Trying to get some flowers for them to thrive on. Support your bees guys

… uh guys… the whole “Save the Bees!” thing is not about honeybees. It’s about the decline of native bees almost to the point of extinction. Native bees do not make honey. Honeybees are domesticated. Taking measures to protect honeybees is as irrelevant to helping the environment as protecting Farmer John’s chickens.

To help save native bees, yes, plant NATIVE flowers (what naturally grows where you live? That’s what your bees eat!), set up “bee hotels,” which can be something as simple as a partially buried jar or flower pot for carpenter bees, and don’t use pesticides. Having a source of water (like a bird bath or “puddles” you frequently refresh) is also good for a variety of wildlife.

Want to know more about bees that are not honeybees?

Dark Bee Tumblr is here to help [link to post chain about forbidden bees]

ALSO also also

Every place has different types of bees. Every place has different types of plants/flowers. Those hyped-up “save the bees” seed packets that are distributed across North America are garbage because none of those flowers are native in every habitat. Don’t look up “how to make a bee hotel” and make something that only bees from the great plains areas would use if you live on the west coast.

Look up what bees you have in your home! Here’s a great (excellent) resource: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/630955-Anthophila

This is every bee that has been observed and uploaded to the citizen science network of iNaturalist. You can filter by location (anywhere in the world! This is not restricted to the US!), and you can view photos of every species people have added. Here’s the page for all bees, sorted by taxonomy, not filtered to any specific location [link]. Have you seen a bee and want to know more about it, but you don’t know what kind of bee it is? Take a picture, upload it to iNat, and people like me will help you identify it–and it will also become part of the database other people will use to learn about nature!

Some native Texan bees I’ve met!

A sweat bee! [link to iNat]. These flowers are tiny, no larger than a dime.

A ligated furrow bee! [link to iNat] They burrow and nest underground.

A longhorn bee! [link to iNat] I don’t know where they nest, but I often find them sleeping on the tips of flowers at night (so cute!)

Meet your local bees! Befriend them! Feed them! Make them homes! Love them!

This is one of the native bees I met in Arizona! This handsome man is a male Melissodes sp., AKA a type of long-horned bee. I saved him when he was drowning in a puddle.

I love him

This is a great post all in all but I’d just like to note that colony collapse syndrome is definitely a thing, so domestic honeybees are absolutely in danger as well

Europen Honey Bees are an invasive species in the US and compete with native bees.

Native bee populations are specifically evolved to pollinate certain native plants. Most are unlikely to have a significant effect on the pollination of the non-native crops that people need to grow to survive. It’s true that honeybees will compete with native bees as well, and can be classified as an invasive species, but so long as native bees are supported and native flora is maintained, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to coexist. And while there’s a whole different argument to be had about the negative effects of growing nonnative crops at all, if they fail, as they likely would without the honeybees that a large percentage of farmers keep to pollinate their and other local crops, the effects on humanity will be catastrophic 

Lest people think I am anti-honeybee (no? I love honeybees?? They are precious??), the above is correct. Like it or not, the way we grow our food (much of which is not native to where it’s farmed) absolutely requires pollinators like honeybees. We would have a hugely massive food crisis on our hands without honeybees.

But, because so much $$$ is tied into the continued production of food, governments and food production companies will do whatever they can to mitigate the effects of colony collapse and other honeybee health issues. What can you do to help honeybees? Buy and eat food. Easy, right?

What is being done to protect native bees? Well,

1) Scientists and researchers are feverishly trying to get them listed as protected species and absolutely failing (see @thelepidopteragirl’s post about colleagues of hers: [link]).

2) Scientists and researchers are trying to get pesticides known to have devastating effects on bees and other pollinators banned and absolutely failing ([link]).

3) Scientists and science communicators (like me now, apparently) are trying to spread this information about native bees and their importance so more people can do little things like plant native flowers (lookup North American species for your zip code here: [link]), change how often they mow their lawns ([link]), and vote out the assholes who are profiting by destroying our environment ([link]). Success on this one: TBD, and by people like us.

As a gift to the honeybee lovers out there, please accept this photo of one making out with a stinkhorn mushroom:

^An excellent post on the complexities of the “Save the Bees” movement

These are my native bees, Tetragonula carnonaria, native to my area in Australia. They’re pretty easy to keep and make great friends, they don’t sting and their honey is delicious

Resurrecting The Bee Post to say @typethedragon your little stingless bee friends are perfect and I love them

September 1, 2018

reguess1997:

bigantifabully:

boodlesandtonicplz:

lauraannegilman:

aria-lerendeair:

ooksaidthelibrarian:

seeminglycaptivating:

seeminglycaptivating:

alex-riko:

rosebeaches:

I love kids they’re all like.. “when i grow up i’m gonna be an astronaut and a chef and a doctor and an olympic swimmer” like that self confidence! That drive! That optimism! Where does it go

It gets destroyed by adults not believing in you and telling you to pick a realistic career. And by society creating all these obstacles to the point that you’re too tired to try.

But they’re not really unrealistic, SOMEBODY is going to be an olympic swimmer and it might as well be you.

Actually I want to talk about this a little more than I did, because olympic swimming is incredible and works perfectly to talk about attaining goals.

I used to be a varsity swimmer, and I was damn good, but I was forced into it by my parents and completely lost my love for it and therein my drive. But in high school I was swimming against such talented swimmers like Olympic Swimmer Missy Franklin. I’ve met her, and the main difference between her and me was that I was strong but had no passion, but she was strong BECAUSE she had passion. 

And I could have been good, really good, maybe even Olympic good. I even have the predisposition for it, been swimming since I was 2 years old, have a mom who was almost an olympic swimmer. Missy didn’t have either of those things, she just wanted it, loved it, had been doing it for a long time, and decided she was going to kick ass at it.

Right, that’s great and all, but I completely missed my opportunity to be an olympic swimmer, yeah? and can never achieve those dreams I had as a kid? No, not even though. There was this whole thought that female athletes peak when they’re 17 years old and lose their skills quickly after that, and male athletes peak around 19. But then Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres shows up. She was an olympic swimmer when she was 17, 21 and 25. Pretty normal age for retirement. She had a few kids. She kicked butt at being a mom. 

And then at 33 years old she decides she’s bored or something gets back in shape and kicks so much ass at the trials that she lands herself on the Olympic Team ONCE AGAIN. And then 8 years later, she decides, heck I’m 41 now, no one has ever made the olympic swim team as old as I am, I want to get in shape yet again and teach these children how sports work.

And she still has the record for oldest US Olympic Swimmer, not even any men have beat out that record.

So basically what I’m saying is you could be an olympic swimmer, you really could be. And there are obviously a lot of things stopping you and trying to get in your way: your brain, society, too much chocolate cake for example. But if you really dedicate yourself to it and love it with all of your heart you could, you really could.

And lets say olympic swimming isn’t your jam? That’s cool too. There isn’t a single skill in this world that you can’t learn if you absolutely love it and want to. Any skill you want is going to take time. There are countless famous people who started learning a skill after 20, 30, 40, or even 50. Not a single person has even been president under age 35 (most likely because you’re not allowed to be, but there’s a reason for that). Whatever you want to do you’re probably going to be bad at first, and I’m talking really shitty.

Van Gogh got started in his 20′s and was thought to have no artistic talent at first and was forced to sit in the back of classrooms where the worst artists in the class sat. So yeah you’ll probably be bad, like really bad and everyone including you will think you’re bad. If you stick with it though, if you’re willing to work for years and years, if you keep loving it after all the pain it’s given you, 

then you might just paint Starry Night.

image

#looks like there’s still time for me to learn how to draw

… YES. As someone who started drawing at 35 and who always was like: ‘eh, I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life, but I would love to be able to’ this is near and dear to my heart. If you want to draw, start drawing. Keep drawing. Be shit at drawing at first. Keep it up, doodle things on scraps but also draw stuff you don’t think you can draw. Challenge yourself, you will be surprised what you can do. It will be frustrating at times, but it will also be awesome. It is SO much a matter of practice and dedication, not talent.

This applies for writing, too.  

Don’t ever think for a second that it doesn’t!  Want to start writing?  Then write!  You will get better the more you write, the more often, and you will improve, all of the time, as long as you dedicate yourself.  

The worst lie we tell ourselves is “it’s too late.”

“If you just ~believe~ in yourself, all your goals are attainable~!”

College is still not free, you hippy dippy shits. Nobody misses their dreams because they don’t want them hard enough. People miss out on their dreams because they can’t afford them.

All the wanting to be a bodybuilder in the world won’t buy you a gym membership. All the wanting to swim in the world won’t build you a pool or pay for a coach. Want to be a great painter all you like; a nice canvas will keep on costing as much as a tank of gas.

Fuck this “follow your dreams” shit. Capitalism shuts us out of our dreams. Nonsensical bullshit like y’all’s posts teaches us to blame ourselves for not ~chasing our dreeeams~ hard enough. There are no poor astronauts.

This kind of fake motivational bullshit that pretends the people who succeed didn’t have access to materials and training the average person doesn’t is the secular version of prosperity gospel and I hate it. It contributes to shutting out the poor and teaches them that it’s their fault for being excluded. Fuck that. Fuck everything about that.

If you, too, try your very hardest, AND HAVE ACCESS TO TRAINING, FACILITIES, MATERIALS, AND THE LEISURE TIME TO PRACTICE HONING A SKILL THAT COMES WITH FINANCIAL SECURITY, you just may become the very fucking best there ever was!

Counterpoint: Motivational posts like these could be used to make people realize that the only thing stopping them from following their dreams is Capitalism; once the self-doubt is out of the way, what is there to stop us other than the concept of private property? It is Capitalism that creates the societal atmosphere of competition, from which spawns the idea that “since I’ll never be as good as them, I might as well not even try”.

The opposite idea, that “I am just as human as those at the top” inevitably leads to the realization “If I had the same access (according to my needs), I could have the same success (according to my abilities)”. From there, recognize everyone is just as human as those at the top, so we should be willing to provide them (according to our abilities) with access (according to their needs) so that they can have success.

It’s not too late to join an anarchist commune. It’s not too late to spread empathy and compassion. It’s not too late to make people question the idea of private property. It’s not too late to make a better world.

College isn’t Free, but Knowledge Can Be!

I have very strong feelings about this stuff–about how it’s never too late to follow your dreams, about how you can do anything you put your mind to, and how actually never mind if you’re poor you’re screwed so just complain and don’t try. I won’t argue that anybody can become a doctor or an astronaut or a world champion at a sport that requires special equipment. But I will argue that if you want to learn something, you are not too old or too poor to learn it.

For whatever reason, people seem to think I’m an entomologist. I mean, technically, I guess I am? But I have never taken an entomology course. I do not own entomology text books. I don’t even know the names for basic anatomical features on most insects. Back when I was 30, I couldn’t have told you the difference between a katydid and a grasshopper, I didn’t know what a leaf-footed bug was, and how do you raise caterpillars? What? People do that???

Everything I know about entomology, I learned by taking pictures of bugs, trying to figure out what they were by looking them up on the internet, and talking to people who were more knowledgable about insects (online, of course) to figure out what knowledge gaps I had. When I found out some things weren’t known (what?! science isn’t done?!), I figured I could find those things out myself (that’s where all the raising bug stuff came from…). All of this I have done after the age of 30. The amount of money I have spent to learn about insects? Less than $100, which I have spent on books over the past two years. I’m broke. No money. But hey, going outside is free. In the process of keeping myself entertained (for free) by teaching myself about something I love learning about, I have made discoveries that essentially put how certain species of butterflies are identified into question, I have documented species of ants and spiders in areas they had never been recorded in before, I have become an international source of stick insects for collectors/researchers (some of my babies are going to be in a guide book soon!!!), and I have given lectures on entomology to general audiences.

Want to be a bodybuilder, but can’t afford a gym membership? Who needs a gym?! Check out some library books about body building and nutrition. Find out how you can add exercise routines into your daily tasks, even if it’s carrying a couple jugs of water/sand/whatever when you walk to work. 
Want to be a painter, but can’t afford a fancy ass canvas? who cares? Paint on what you can find and develop your own personal style. Or hell, make your own damn canvases. All they are is fabric wrapped around a wooden frame. I was a knitter, but I couldn’t afford yarn. So I bought sweaters at thrift stores ($5 or less), unraveled them, dyed the yarn myself with food coloring.

This whole defeatist attitude seen in one of the above comments gets to me, because I have seen this before. I had a friend as a teen who was super into video games. Like, super into them. His dream was to design video games for a living. Cool! I love people trying to achieve their dreams! Except… he never did anything about it besides complain that he would never be able to do it. Did he learn how to code? Did he learn video game design elements? Did he map out a game design of his own making? No. He never even tried. Did he even know what video game designers did? Probably not. I’m sure today he would say he’s not a video game designer because he couldn’t afford to attend the exclusive video game design school (spoiler: most video game designers didn’t either). And sure, he couldn’t afford it, those schools are expensive! And sure, maybe if he did do all of those things I mentioned above, maybe he still wouldn’t be a video game designer. But it’s because he never even tried.

Yes, we all need to be realistic. Especially those of us with limited means. But all of us have the ability to learn new things and have achievements that make us feel successful. So keep your dreams. Keep working towards them. Even if you “fail” at one, for whatever reason, you have an infinite capacity to find new ones that you can reach.

August 31, 2018

stubbornmarrow:

nanonaturalist:

thelepidopteragirl:

nanonaturalist:

entophiles:

Couple a cute moths I spotted today

(I know the left is a clymene moth but not sure of the right)

Right moth is a dagger

Random page of daggers from The New Moth Book (Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Southeastern North America) as examples.

ahhh that guide is out???? I’ve been waiting for it !!!!

Yeah, it just came a few months ago and it’s great! The range is somewhat limited BUT it has many (but not all) of the species you can expect to encounter in the American South. Very good for experts and noobs alike.

1. i have the northeast guide and love it.

2. if you live in the southeast of n.a., and like moths, this is bound to be awesome!

3. i love that there are so many moth species that many, many, many of them now have ridiculous common names!  one of my favorites was “agreeable tiger moth.”

4. moth week is any second now!  look for moths!

I live in the northeast and have the Peterson northeast guide but I always forget to use it ;;;