Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Bird Blogging: Brown Pelican, Pelicanus occidentalis

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These are pictures of pelicans I took last month when I went to Florida. I believe they are brown pelicans, Pelicanus occidentalis. One day, the air was fairly still on the beach and we saw a large flock of these birds feeding. Before that day, I had never thought of them as pleasing to the eye, but these birds are actually quite graceful in flight and fun to watch. As we watched them dive for fish I noticed an interesting interaction between the pelicans and seagulls. Several times, I saw seagulls wait for a pelican to dive and then go down and try to get in on the action. A few times, I even saw the seagulls land on the backs of the pelicans while they prepared to pull their bills out of the water. As the pelicans pulled their heads back and tried to swallow the fish, the seagulls would lunge forward and try to steal the fish out of the mouths of the pelicans. I was not able to film that event but I did get a video of a pelican diving for fish with a seagull following(2.6mb, 7 sec).

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Herplogging: Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera

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This is a spiny softshell turtle, Apalone spinifera (Trionyx spinifera by some schemes). It wandered its way up to my driveway from a nearby pond in the neighborhood. By judging from its large size, around 12-14 inches, I would say that it is probably a female and that she may have been looking for a good safe place to lay some eggs. It was suprisingly docile and allowed me to move it around some, but I was very careful because it always looked like it could have taken a nice chunk of flesh if I got too close to its head.

Here is some more detailed information on spiny softshell turtles, and here is more information with a video of a swimming softshell turtle.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Bird Blogging: Sandpiper

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Here is a picture of a sandpiper(?species) from our last trip to Florida. I have really become fond of these birds from our yearly visits to the beach. They are always nearby and actively following the shoreline up and down with the waves. With each wave, they probe the sand with their long bills as it settles with the receding water. Here is brief video of two of these birds in action on the shoreline.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Glue Trap Ten Revisited

I didn't get any discussion about the glue trap ten last week so I guess I will have to go it alone. Keep in mind that I just took the pictures and then quickly tossed the trap.

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1. Brown Recluse, Loxosceles reclusa-I just recently posted a different one I caught on the same type of trap but it was by itself. I counted about 16 or so on the latest trap.

2. It looks like a millipede from the arthropod class diplopoda, with its 2 pairs of legs per segment. For me at this point, any further specification would just be guessing.

3. Housefly, Musca domestica - That was easy, but here are one, two, and three questions you probably didn't know the answers to.

4. Some type of Rove Beetle, family Staphylinidae is my best guess.

5. There are just so many beetles I don't think I could be more specific than to say that I think it is a ground beetle from the family Carabidae.

6. The Beetle's drinking buddy, Cockroach Order Dictyoptera, Suborder Blattaria. I thought I was better at identifying cockroaches but thats the best I can do with only this picture. Check out Blattabase: The Cockroach Homepage

7. Camel Cricket - Family Gryllacrididae or Rhaphidophoridae depending on whom you ask. I say that it is probably in the genus Ceuthophilus just becuase it is more common.

8. What a crappy picture, maybe its a mosquito.

9. Spider

10. Garlic Clove, Allium sativum - Here are some garlic plants with carpenter bees

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Being Overweight (but not obese) Provides "Cushion" in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Via American Family Physician:

A recent volume of the American Journal of Public Health reports that the best Body Mass Index for a man to survive a motor vehicle accident is around 28, which is overweight but not obese. Having a BMI of less than 22 (normal or underweight) or greater than 35 (30+ is obese) was associated with a greater likelihood of fatality. The study did not find an association between BMI and risk of fatality in women.

I was not able get the entire article, so I am unsure of all the proposed mechanisms of this benefit, but it appears that researchers are attributing this advantage of being overweight to a "cushioning effect". Though it seems obvious that having extra adipose tissue would provide a some protection from mechanical injury, I would also add that there may be a metaphorical "cushion" in terms of having metabolic reserve in the event of a prolonged recovery period from severe injury.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Glue Trap Ten

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I found this glue board underneath our oven this week while looking for some lost pans, which were also present. It had been there probably over a year and was completly forgotten. I will save discussion of the organisms present for later. In the meantime, feel free to take a stab at identifying the ten organisms most clearly visible in the pics I took. I am not so sure about some of them myself, so be as specific as possible.

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Friday Herp Blogging: Green Anole, Anolis carolinensis

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These pics came from my recent trip to Florida. I believe they are green anoles. These lizards are found in the southeastern US, from eastern Texas to Virginia. I saw them getting ready for some morning sun on the wall of the outdoor shower of our cottage. Their color can range from bright green to brown or gray and their size ranges between 5 and 8 inches. Males have a flap of skin that hangs from their neck called a dewlap which is used for attracting mates and in territorial displays. The article in Animal Diversity Web, notes that "Their color varies depending on their mood, temprature, humidity, and their health. They are often referred to as the American Chameleon, although they are unrelated to chameleons."

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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