Category: text post

entophiles: Friend found some of these in her…

entophiles:

Friend found some of these in her potted plant! Any idea what they are?

EDIT: @themightyneckbeard thinks they might be leafcutter bee cocoons!

(Don’t worry, she put the larvae back, she just didn’t know what they were :’ ) Should she leave them in the empty plant pot or somewhere else?
Also, same friend would like to know your suggestions for a bee house.  She was looking at these: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Nature-s-Way-Bee-House-Purple/1000618541
Thanks as always!!

do you have any advice for someone interested …

do you have any advice for someone interested in going into a zoology related career? i'd really love to but i'm worried i'm not cut out for it

Do some hard thinking about whether or not you think you can emotionally handle a career where you’ll come face to face with the reality of the anthropogenic slaughter of the natural world and its implications for our collective future every single day.

I worked as a west coast fisheries observer for a year after graduating with high honors from an excellent school and a prestigious federal scholarship program and then witnessed firsthand the indiscriminate killing and waste of millions of bycatch animals for short-term profit. It had severe impacts on my emotional state and I’m only just now getting back into the zoology field that I’d waited my whole life to enter after making peace with what I’ve seen. I think I’m strong enough now to continue down this career path, but it took a lot of suffering and the death of parts of my idealistic personality to get there. I’ve been working in social media/brand management and walking dogs just as something to do while I get my brain right. No fancy education can teach you how to handle things like this—ultimately I think it’s more about personality and emotional fortitude.

I’m not exaggerating the pain of this career path at all, and if anyone else wants to weigh in I’d appreciate your comments on what you do to stay positive and sane while working in zoology or other conservation-related fields. It’s more important now than it’s ever been at any other point in human history, but universities would do well to incorporate the concept of climate grief into their biology programs to better prepare students for what’s out there (and some already have).

Everything is on Fire

myfrogcroaked:

I know a lot of you are really upset about the Notre Dame fire in Paris, and I’m really sad too. To see something so beautiful and so carefully constructed be damaged by forces out of your control is very painful. As a scientist who studies species that are going extinct right now, this is a feeling I grapple with more often than I’d like. The irreplaceable work of art that I worship is nature, and to watch it senselessly crumble to the ground every day hurts my heart. I highly respect your feelings about what happened today, and I hope the parallel I described can help you better understand how many of the people who have devoted their lives to conservation feel quite often. We know you get tired of us shouting about species going extinct, and we’re sorry for the broken record, but we’re surrounded by burning cathedrals built across millennia.

How do you feel?

https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.kolby.1/posts/10156332034161139

I felt the same exact way. This week has been terrible–on Saturday, a tornado tore through the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site [link], which is an archeological site in east Texas where a Native American tribe had once lived. The historic site was also home to a newly-built (2015) museum, and Saturday was Caddo Culture Day, a festival celebrating the native heritage of the area. As the storm approached, the 100 or so attendees took shelter in the museum, which the tornado hit, tearing off the roof and collapsing in the walls [link]. This isn’t in the news article I linked to, but because of the storm, it took first responders two hours to arrive. Two of the event volunteers were Master Naturalists, one of whom was a practicing medical doctor, the other was trained in wilderness first-aid, and despite their own serious injuries, they tended to the care of others until the helicopters could arrive. 

Thing is, we can rebuild museums. We can rebuild the Notre Dame’s spire. We can look at photos of the original. The stone structure remains. Not all of the interior of the cathedral was destroyed. The holy relics were saved.

We can’t rebuild species. We can’t run in and save them after we’ve culled the species diversity down past a certain point. There are species we don’t even know ever existed that we have already pushed to extinction, and we will never know how important they were. There are species we didn’t discover until they were already extinct. There are species, right now, that we know are facing extinction, but we can’t get the government to agree, and they refuse to ban the pesticides that are killing them, and we just have to sit back and watch them all die.

I heard Alex Wild say that being an entomologist right now is like being an art historian in a world where a museum burns to the ground every week.

Well, what happens when the museums start burning every week, too? What kind of world is that? The worst part, I know there are plenty of people who don’t care about either.

April 15, 2019

mikelikesscience: Computer Science Is A Lot!I…

mikelikesscience:

Computer Science Is A Lot!

In case you didn’t know, I went back to college for a Master’s in Computer Science. My original degree is Fine Arts. 

But before I can start the Master’s Program, I have to do a bunch of Math and Computer Science Undergrad courses. Calculus, Data Structures, Object Oriented Programming, and so on.

How hard could it be? I’ve made so many Science Raps and watched so many Education Channels–it should be a piece of Cake!

OMG. I was so wrong! Studying Computer Science is so difficult! For me it was not Cake. It was more like Brussels Sprouts.

And just like my experience with vegetables, the discipline for Computer Science is an acquired taste. I had to dedicate a lot of time to studying and doing homework. I got help from tutors, mentors, peers, and professors. I had to make a lot of mistakes in order to succeed.

Now I’m about ¾ of the way done with the Undergrad requirements. I’ll be starting the Master’s Program in the fall!

So if you were wondering what the context and inspiration for my latest video was–now you know!

Hi Mike! I was in your shoes, too! I had a BA in Psychology, but it was really hard to keep finding contracts at Microsoft during the recession (I graduated in 2005) when I was competing with people who had computer science degrees and way more experience.

So I went back for a BS in engineering (I studied chemical) and eventually continued on to a masters in biomedical engineering. But that first term back in school, I had to retake Calculus I, since the last time I took it had been 10 years ago—it had been so long since I had taken a math class that I had to relearn algebra at the same time!

This stuff is HARD, and it’s important for people considering STEM majors to know that if they are struggling, it’s not just them! So thank you for posting this! Before I graduated, one of my undergraduate professors would half jokingly introduce me as the best student in the department, and I often felt like a total idiot in some of my classes.

It’s rare for scientists and engineers to also be effective science communicators, so I’m looking forward to seeing what direction you take as your education progresses!

April 14, 2019

If it’s in a postable format, I’d …

If it’s in a postable format, I’d love to see your list of species you’ve seen in your yard!

I keep track of my species on iNaturalist, so my species count is available for anybody to look at! And when I say “list,” I mean, photographs. Because I’m a scientist, and if it’s not verifiable, it doesn’t count 😉 The links below are organized by species, if you want to see my specific observations and photographs, click the little links for “# observations” above the organism’s name and it will take you to them.

The full, unfiltered “list” only shows the top 600 before it stops loading (by design), but here it is [link]

A tiny bit of background: This list covers 0.10 acres in east Travis County, Texas (my address says I’m in Austin, but I’m not, it’s a lie). My neighborhood is a housing development surrounded by agricultural land, and my house (and the development) was built starting around 15 years ago. My back yard is backed by a row of hackberry trees, and I have neighbors on either side. I bought this house in June 2016 and have been neglecting the back yard ever since, besides occasionally planting a few trees/bushes/bird feeders. I need to post some pictures of the yard over time because it’s starting to look like a legitimate forest. If I ever need to sell this place, oh boy.

The Spider Haven Species List – Numbers By Kingdom

Protozoans [link] 1 species (so far just Dog Vomit Slime Mold, but I have two other unidentified slime molds that don’t go into the numbers yet!)
Bacteria [link] 1 species (a plant disease–I need to get a microbio setup started for cultures bwahaha)
Fungi [link] 8 species (I’ve been slacking, I know I have more in my fridge ALONE right now)
Plants [link] 70 species (there’s more, I have photos from September 2018 I haven’t uploaded yet… ugh)
Animals [link] *cough* over 900 species… uh, I’ll need to break that down a bit…

Animals in my yard

Vertebrates [link] 72 species (birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians)
Annelids [link] 1 species (earthworms creep me out, sorry)
Mollusks [link] 10 species (missing my tiny little slugs!)
Flatworms [link] 2 species
Horsehair Worm [link] 1 species
Arthropods [link] 828 species. Okay….

ARTHROPODS

Crustaceans [link] 2 species (pillbugs!)
Myriapoda [link] 3 species
Arachnids [link] 75 species
Insects [link] 747 species. *SIGH*

I N S E C T S

Springtails [link]1 species (not easy to find!!!
Silverfishes [link]1 species
Cockroaches and Termites [link] 11 species
Butterflies and Moths [link] 279 species
Beetles [link]148 species
Earwigs [link] 2 species
Flies [link] 58 species
Webspinners [link] 1 species
Mayflies [link] 3 species
True Bugs & Allies [link] 124 species
Ants, Bees, Wasps, & Sawflies [link] 63 species
Mantids [link] 1 species, but I saw a mating pair and the male was missing a head [link]
Scorpionflies, Hangingflies, etc [link] 1 species 
Alderflies, Dobsonflies, Fishflies [link] 1 species
Antlions, Lacewings, Owlflies, Mantidflies [link] 4 species
Dragonflies and Damselflies [link] 23 species
Grasshoppers, Katydids, Crickets [link] 20 species
Stick insects [link] 3 species (but I think it should be 2, need to double check)
Stoneflies [link] 1 species
Barklice, booklice, and parasitic lice [link] 1 species
Thrips [link] 2 species
Caddisflies [link] 1 species (note: these are near-impossible to ID so I don’t really spend too much time on them)

They key take-aways appear to be: MÖTH, beetles, & true bugs. Not too much of a surprise, given I do a LOT of my snooping around the yard at night, and with my UV patio light on. Best $14 I ever spent! (I got it on sale, looks like it’s $20 now) [link]

Note: These species counts were accurate on the date I posted this list, April 12, 2019 at 12:47 am. The links will continue to work (oh please), but the numbers will change! They may go up as I add observations, or down as I my current observations are reclassified (happens ALL the time!).

April 12, 2019

Regular

botanyshitposts:

lads. i have 3 brain cells 

i think i have shin splints

from going on a long walk multiple days in a row with 20 pounds of cassava books in my backpack

I have about the same number of brain cells and I read 20 lbs of cassava roots in your backpack and thought you were like, a method research-paper writer.

April 11, 2019

Regular

slytherfriends:

nanonaturalist:

thelepidopteragirl:

zoologicallyobsessed:

Anyways where’s my lgbt scientists at? Let’s talk about how we’re queer + scientists.

yoo

Y’all I am so queer but the last time I tried to date it was a disaster (she lied about being interested in bugs to initially catch my attention–then literally screamed when I booped a spider in my yard and asked what I use for pest control… um), so I’ll stick to kissing caterpillars and moths until I run into another hot mess crawling through the bushes with a camera.

April 7, 2019

i’m not a biologist (i wish! i should’ve become a herpetologist tbh) but i’m a lesbian working in STEM! (r&d engineering)

‘Sup. I’m a chemical engineer and worked in polymer/advanced materials R&D before my company moved out of Texas and left me unemployed. I did my masters in Biomedical Engineering, but otherwise have no formal education in biology besides my Texas Master Naturalist training (it’s a volunteer-based service organization). I talk about biology for fun cuz why not?

You can still go chasing herps on the weekends! Hobbies are a thing! I met up with other people interested in nature during bioblitzes (some are professional wildlife biologists, some are just in it for fun like me), and it was a great way to learn more and visit new places. City Nature Challenge is coming up (last weekend of April), and a lot of places will have these kinds of events if you’re interested!

citynaturechallenge.org

April 8, 2019

Watching you raise bugs takes me back to eleme…

Watching you raise bugs takes me back to elementary school when I caught a bunch of little green caterpillars and stuck them in a bowl with leaves, twigs, etc in my room. They ended up forming cocoons on the walls, and I had to shoo them out through the window when the hatched. Probably not best practice for etymology, but I was 7, and it worked out in the end. The point is you do work and it brings a smile to my face! Thanks!

Awww thanks. I did the same thing with the furry caterpillars in Washington (Isabella tiger moths and Virginian tiger moths), except I used a shoe box. Initially, I’d keep the lid on it, but over time, we would “develop trust” and the caterpillar would “stay in the box” until one day, he would disappear and I would be sad… until I’d find a cocoon on a random object in my room (like, a book). I loved their furry little cocoons. Right now, the outside of my house is covered in them, I had an outbreak of Virginian tiger moth caterpillars last fall. I think most of the moths have emerged and flown off, but I’ll probably leave the cocoons up forever.

Thanks for writing in and sharing about your moths!

April 5, 2019

Regular

p01y3thy13n3:

nanonaturalist:

pterygota:

systlin:

witchyatwork:

systlin:

madamehearthwitch:

systlin:

systlin:

But seriously, when we got our property, it was all just…grass. A sterile grass moonscape, like a billion other yards. With two big old maple trees. Just grass and maples, that was it. 

But then I got my grubby little paws on it, and I immediately stopped fertilizing, spraying, and bagging up grass clippings and leaves. I ripped up sod and put in flowers and vegetables. I put down nice thick blankets of mulch around the flowers and vegetables. 

When I first was sweating my way through stripping sod, I saw a grand total of 1 worm and 0 ladybugs. The ground was compacted into something that would bend shovel blades. 

Now, six years later, I can’t dig a planting hole without turning up fourteen earthworms, and there are so many ladybugs here. Not the invasive asian lady beetles; native ladybugs. They winter over in the mulch and in the brush pile. I see thousands of them. 

The soil is soft and rich. There are birds that come to eat, and bees of many sorts.

Like this is something that you, yourself, can absolutely change. This is something that you, personally, can make a difference in.

Like, last year I watched no fewer than twenty-nine monarch caterpillars grow up on my milkweed and fly away as butterflies. I watched swallowtails and moths grow. There are hummingbirds fighting over flowers now.

I did that. Me. You can do the same.

I would like to learn how to do this. Sometimes it all seems so overwhelming. I just want to find someone who can come over for a cuppa, and we can wander the yard and they can make me a plan. 

Preferably a very easy to follow, doesn’t take too much time every day plan.

It’s not nearly so intimidating as it sounds.

You can do a whole lot of good just by not spraying your yard, not mowing it so often, and not raking up leaves and grass.

But as a certified Lazy Ass Gardener, I can tell you for 100% certain that this is attainable, and requires absolutely zero, none, nada, zilch expensive or complicated equipment.

I don’t even have a plan. I just do things.

Wait so, dont mow as much, dont pick up the grass when you mow, and dont pick up leaves and your grass is healthier? my dad likes to mow the lawn every one to 2 weeks in the summer💀 what other tips do you guys have?

Yup. Those grass and leaf clippings rot down and fertilize the soil.

Grass does BETTER when it’s not mown short, and gives more hiding places to all sorts of insects.

Don’t spray. Let the bugs and ‘weeds’ live.

i have a 10’x10’ piece of garden that i initially used to grow things, but i abandoned it completely and now its absolutely covered in “weeds” and i even have a volunteer shrub that makes berries! the amount of native bees and other insects i attract is incredible. and all i do to maintain it is nothing.

For reals. I have to mow my front yard (I live in an HOA… ugh), but I don’t bag my clippings. I never water my yard (and I live in Texas!), but my grass is green all year. The clippings and mulched leaves keep in moisture and they’re nature’s fertilizer! Lizards and frogs hide under the leaves and clippings, and when you remove those, you are removing their habitat. Bugs will show up and munch on the clippings, and their waste adds more nutrients as well. I don’t fertilize. I don’t spray. I let nature do its thing. Even just in the front, there are bugs everywhere. I’ve found the tiny green sweat bees nesting in the ground under my rose bush, and the giant cicada killer wasps had a nest somewhere in my front yard last year–I couldn’t find it, but they were pollinating the sorrelvine that randomly showed up and decided to climb up my oak tree (which was the host plant for the Vine Sphinx moths and the first batch of sawflies I raised!)

In the back? I planted a few things in a small garden area, and I intentionally planted three (3) trees, but I’m busy/lazy and the back yard became the paradise jungle it is when I was writing my Master’s thesis after moving into this house, and I never had the heart to start mowing it. A bunch more trees decided to start growing on their own and I constantly have to murder soapberry and hackberry and elm saplings. My yard is covered in a mix of native plants and invasive bunch grass, in addition to random grains and sunflowers growing under the bird feeders. They all serve as hosts for insects. 

In less than three years, I have documented almost 1000 species of plants, insects, birds, fungi, slime molds, and mammals. My yard is 0.10 acres. I have ladybugs crawling out of my ears. The larvae are pupating all over my horse skeleton!!!

So yeah. Want species diversity in your yard? Plant native plants. Are you a lazy ass like me and want species diversity? Then don’t do anything, congratulations, nature still wins (just look out for all those invasives, and have fun pulling out catchweed -_-

April 5, 2019

READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THIS THREAD!!! YOU CAN JUST LET IT ALL GROW THE HELL OUT!!!!!!!!!!! REMEMBER THAT

plus catchweed, or cleavers, IS EDIBLE!!!!!! (but you must boil it for a some time so that the hooked hairs on it dont irritate your esophagus. The younger cleavers require less cooking.*)

*also some people are allergic to it, so do a skin test by rubbing on skin to see if you develop a reaction, and eat a small amount of it first

Funny Story!

I do not react to poison ivy (apparently). And I can’t tell the difference between the mature vines and boxelder maple (apparently):

^ that’s poison ivy

^ this is the same poison ivy

I had no idea until somebody on iNaturalist corrected my ID and asked me if I felt itchy. Pro-tip, maple doesn’t have berries, dummy.

But: I am so allergic to plants in general that I can’t eat most fruits and vegetables raw. I can’t carve a pumpkin for Halloween without wearing gloves. When I was a teenager and my allergies were a lot worse, I couldn’t sit in the grass if I was wearing shorts without getting a huge rash. When I had my first prick test at the allergist, I reacted to oregano. When the pollen count is high, I have to enter a Zen meditative state to keep from clawing my eyeballs out they’re so itchy (like right now, and this is after I’ve taken my allergy meds). One time I went for a short spring hike, and my allergies got so bad, my throat became so swollen, and my sneezing became so powerful, that I launched out a tonsil stone I didn’t even know I had (!!!). 

But I can manhandle poison ivy all I want, I guess.

I wear gloves when I go out on catchweed-killing missions (I’m not joking, my entire back yard is getting overtaken with that crap), but if I’m wearing short sleeves, and it touches my bare arms? I basically want to die for the next couple hours. My arms look like I got the worse chiggers ever. It’s all those damn hooks breaking my skin and letting all that pollen in!

Which reminds me, chigger season is coming! It’s not getting me three years in a row, I’m PREPARED! (*change/wash your clothes and take a hot shower ASAP after wandering around in tall grasses/vegetation!)

April 5, 2019

Regular

pterygota:

systlin:

witchyatwork:

systlin:

madamehearthwitch:

systlin:

systlin:

But seriously, when we got our property, it was all just…grass. A sterile grass moonscape, like a billion other yards. With two big old maple trees. Just grass and maples, that was it. 

But then I got my grubby little paws on it, and I immediately stopped fertilizing, spraying, and bagging up grass clippings and leaves. I ripped up sod and put in flowers and vegetables. I put down nice thick blankets of mulch around the flowers and vegetables. 

When I first was sweating my way through stripping sod, I saw a grand total of 1 worm and 0 ladybugs. The ground was compacted into something that would bend shovel blades. 

Now, six years later, I can’t dig a planting hole without turning up fourteen earthworms, and there are so many ladybugs here. Not the invasive asian lady beetles; native ladybugs. They winter over in the mulch and in the brush pile. I see thousands of them. 

The soil is soft and rich. There are birds that come to eat, and bees of many sorts.

Like this is something that you, yourself, can absolutely change. This is something that you, personally, can make a difference in.

Like, last year I watched no fewer than twenty-nine monarch caterpillars grow up on my milkweed and fly away as butterflies. I watched swallowtails and moths grow. There are hummingbirds fighting over flowers now.

I did that. Me. You can do the same.

I would like to learn how to do this. Sometimes it all seems so overwhelming. I just want to find someone who can come over for a cuppa, and we can wander the yard and they can make me a plan. 

Preferably a very easy to follow, doesn’t take too much time every day plan.

It’s not nearly so intimidating as it sounds.

You can do a whole lot of good just by not spraying your yard, not mowing it so often, and not raking up leaves and grass.

But as a certified Lazy Ass Gardener, I can tell you for 100% certain that this is attainable, and requires absolutely zero, none, nada, zilch expensive or complicated equipment.

I don’t even have a plan. I just do things.

Wait so, dont mow as much, dont pick up the grass when you mow, and dont pick up leaves and your grass is healthier? my dad likes to mow the lawn every one to 2 weeks in the summer💀 what other tips do you guys have?

Yup. Those grass and leaf clippings rot down and fertilize the soil.

Grass does BETTER when it’s not mown short, and gives more hiding places to all sorts of insects.

Don’t spray. Let the bugs and ‘weeds’ live.

i have a 10’x10’ piece of garden that i initially used to grow things, but i abandoned it completely and now its absolutely covered in “weeds” and i even have a volunteer shrub that makes berries! the amount of native bees and other insects i attract is incredible. and all i do to maintain it is nothing.

For reals. I have to mow my front yard (I live in an HOA… ugh), but I don’t bag my clippings. I never water my yard (and I live in Texas!), but my grass is green all year. The clippings and mulched leaves keep in moisture and they’re nature’s fertilizer! Lizards and frogs hide under the leaves and clippings, and when you remove those, you are removing their habitat. Bugs will show up and munch on the clippings, and their waste adds more nutrients as well. I don’t fertilize. I don’t spray. I let nature do its thing. Even just in the front, there are bugs everywhere. I’ve found the tiny green sweat bees nesting in the ground under my rose bush, and the giant cicada killer wasps had a nest somewhere in my front yard last year–I couldn’t find it, but they were pollinating the sorrelvine that randomly showed up and decided to climb up my oak tree (which was the host plant for the Vine Sphinx moths and the first batch of sawflies I raised!)

In the back? I planted a few things in a small garden area, and I intentionally planted three (3) trees, but I’m busy/lazy and the back yard became the paradise jungle it is when I was writing my Master’s thesis after moving into this house, and I never had the heart to start mowing it. A bunch more trees decided to start growing on their own and I constantly have to murder soapberry and hackberry and elm saplings. My yard is covered in a mix of native plants and invasive bunch grass, in addition to random grains and sunflowers growing under the bird feeders. They all serve as hosts for insects. 

In less than three years, I have documented almost 1000 species of plants, insects, birds, fungi, slime molds, and mammals. My yard is 0.10 acres. I have ladybugs crawling out of my ears. The larvae are pupating all over my horse skeleton!!!

So yeah. Want species diversity in your yard? Plant native plants. Are you a lazy ass like me and want species diversity? Then don’t do anything, congratulations, nature still wins (just look out for all those invasives, and have fun pulling out catchweed -_-)

April 5, 2019