Thursday, October 25, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Baby Rabbit Decomposition in Time-Lapse
For the filming I used my new Pentax Optio WG-1 which is really durable and versatile. I started taking 1 picture every 12 minutes, but as the action sped up over the last two days I increased the frequency to once every 5 or six minutes. On the last day when I went out to check the progress, I was disappointed to see the whole rabbit was gone. There were no bones or anything left, so I thought a snake or something had gotten in and carried it off. However, after watching the playback, I realized that the maggots had devoured the entire rabbit. I was expecting a skeleton to stay together for several weeks and had planted some grass seeds to grow up and eventually beautify the whole gory scene, but it went way faster than I expected. The entire process took only 4 days.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Springtails in a Mud Puddle - Collembola
Springtails are hexapods that were previously considered by most to be insects that have now been reclassified by many as having a separate lineage from the insects. Springtails (Collembola) have been classified as an order within the class insecta, or as a subclass of Entognatha alongside insects in the subphylum hexapoda, or if considered to be a basal lineage of hexapoda then they are elevated to a class.
Springtails are small, usually less than 6mm, with these shown being 1-2 mm and are very abundant. Many species are known to be agricultural pests in some cases but beneficial in others.
The name springtail is derived from their spring-like abdominal appendage, the furcula, which is tucked underneath the body and held in place by small appendage called a tenaculum (or retinaculum). When threatened, the springtail rapidly and forcefully extends the appendage, forcing it into the air making it very difficult to catch for closer observation or as a quick meal. Shown below is a video I made of these tiny creatures using my iPhone 4S and olloclip macro lens(both are awesome). You can see the tails extending rapidly, but even under my microscope, I haven't clearly identified the tenaculum which is supposed to hold the furcula in place while tucked under the body. **these creatures had not been harmed or injured when I made this video, they just could not handle the smooth texture of the surface on which they were placed. I quickly released them back to nature after the video was made.** Sources Wikipedia - Springtail and bugguide.net
Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark!!!
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Super Bowl XLVI Predictions
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
2011 Family Pumpkin Carving Contest
We had another successful pumpkin carving contest this year. We had no injuries, no fights, and fair judging. There were only eight entries, all are pictured above. The youngest 2 entrants, both my children had to draw their design and my wife cut the pumpkin from that design. Everyone else did all their own work from start to finish. As always no foreign props were allowed and stencils could not be used either. Members of my household made a clean sweep (below). My wife came in first place with the blazing head (top right). I had the second place pumpkin seen on the bottom with the arms and the crown. My 7 year old came in third with the scowling vomit look on the far left and my 3 year old's was fourth with the sagging left eye (top middle). Thanks to our judges who are new to the neighborhood and are now glad we select different guest judges to help us out every year.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
DIY Time-lapse Dolly
I recently purchased a Pico Dolly so I could attempt to make a self-contained time-lapse dolly that I could take anywhere.
Here is the Pico Dolly with the first step complete. I used the rim of a lid that went to an old pill container and attached it to the inside of the wheel. I had to take the wheel off and then replace it using a small hex key.
I used fishing line tied through the spokes of the wheel to attach the lid so I wouldn't damage the wheel with glue or drill holes.
Next I took 2 pieces of plywood and attached them to the dolly using 1/4 inch bolts through the predrilled standard tripod screw holes in the dolly.
Then I attached the pulleys from a motorized pulley set from Hobby Engineering.
Finally I connected a rubber bands to the pulleys, a battery pack, and a potentiometer to use as an on off switch and to modulate the speed a little further as needed.
Ultimately I had to attach another rim to the front wheel because I had some trouble getting traction with just one wheel and with the elasticity of the rubber band, the motion needed to be a little smoother. Here is the first video I made with this setup.
The biggest draw backs to this rig are that despite gearing down the rpms, it still moves a little too fast for most natural outdoor scenes. Also it has to be on a relatively smooth and level surface.
UDATE: 11/21/11 - Here is my second version using a chain and sprocket system
Friday, September 09, 2011
Termites and Their Pests, Mites and Nematodes (Roundworms)
Here is a study from Florida Entomologist on "Mites and Nematodes Associated with Three Subterranean Termite Species (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)"
My best guess based on the the above paper and not much else is that the organisms here are as follows:
Eastern Subterranean Termite - Reticulitermes flavipes
Mite - Family Acaridae, Genus Australhypopus
Nematode - Family Rhabditidae, Genus Rhabditis
Anyone with more knowledge of these species please feel free to offer corrections in the comments.
And don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Head Louse: Pediculus humanus capitis
Now I have a new toy sitting in my office waiting for an opportunity to get some better pictures of small critters of this sort. Today I plucked this head louse from the head of a little girl who was brought in to my office to see me for a cold. My astute nurse pointed out the fact that she had lice so I grabbed one to view under my new microscope. The first part is at the lowest power then the final two parts are at a higher power. The final part was done when it was still alive and its innards were still moving. I used a Celestron LCD digital microscope for the video.
And don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark!!