Spider builds its own spider decoys in web
Think the above picture is a spider? Well look a little harder - it’s actually a decoy made out of debris and assembled by the Cyclosa spider. Wired has more:
A spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon.
Believed to be a new species in the genus Cyclosa, the arachnid crafts the larger spider from leaves, debris and dead insects. Though Cyclosa includes other sculpting arachnids, this is the first one observed to build a replica with multiple, spidery legs.
Scientists suspect the fake spiders serve as decoys, part of a defense mechanism meant to confuse or distract predators. “It seems like a really well evolved and very specialized behavior,” said Phil Torres, who described the find in a blog entry written for Rainforest Expeditions. Torres, a biologist and science educator, divides his time between Southern California and Peru, where he’s involved in research and education projects.
“Considering that spiders can already make really impressive geometric designs with their webs, it’s no surprise that they can take that leap to make an impressive design with debris and other things,” he said.
“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said the study’s lead author, David Lindemayer, a professor at Australian National University and an expert in landscape ecology and forest management. The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes – Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. […]
The die-off of these 100-to-300-year-old trees raises concern, the researchers say, because they sustain biodiversity to a greater degree than many other components of the forest. “Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features – a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”
Big trees also supply abundant food for numerous animals in the form of fruits, flowers, foliage and nectar, noted Bill Laurance, another co-author, from James Cook University in Australia. “Their hollows offer nests and shelter for birds and animals” and “their loss could mean extinction for such creatures,” he said. […]
The study is only the latest among many reports of how climate change and other factors are taking a severe toll on the world’s forests. British Columbia, for example, is ground zero for a giant forest die-off that is occurring across the Rockies. More than 53,000 square miles of forest there has died in the last decade. The largest previous die-off, in the 1980s, spanned 2,300 square miles. […]
A new fungal disease that is attacking Britain’s beloved ash trees has been front-page news there. It is feared that the fungus could claim more than 90 percent of Britain’s ash, as it has elsewhere in Europe.
Macro Snow Flakes by Andrew Osokin
These wonderful macro shots of fragile snow flakes by Moscow based photographer Andrew Osokin display the more delicate side of winter that is often lost among the bitter weather that people associate this time of year with. I can only imagine how much patience Andrew had to capture these perfectly symmetrical shapes before they melted away forever.
About the book:
Life in Color is arranged by colour in a rainbow of beauty. Each chapter, devoted to a colour, begins with a short, inspiring essay that explores the qualities, meaning, and symbolism of that colour. Colour chapters include photographs that are predominantly blue, orange, green, yellow, purple and red. Smaller sections present images in silver, brown, black, gold, white, and “unseen colour”—not seen with the naked eye, such as laser, the universe, and microscopic images. Throughout, interesting quotes and surprising short insights in the captions give the reader an entirely new look at the colour in the world around us.
A praying mantis takes a ride on a snail’s back in Seruyan, Indonesia. Macro photographer Nordin Seruyan, who captured the moment in Borneo, says the insect was knocked from a leaf by heavy rainfall and plummeted into a puddle. Luckily it managed to climb onboard a passing snail and hitch a lift to safety.
Take a look at some of these stunning shots from the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
- Photograph: Ole Jørgen Liodden/2012 GDT European Wildlife Photographer
- Photograph: Klaus Tamm/2012 GDT European Wildlife Photographer
- Photograph: Cristobal Serrano/2012 GDT European Wildlife Photographer
- Photograph: Jerome Guillaumot/2012 GDT European Wildlife Photographer
- Photograph: Tommy Vikars/2012 GDT European Wildlife Photographer
Rhynchocephalians are one of the four orders that define the family of animals known as reptiles. Although rhynchocephalians are an ancient order dating back 240 million years, the order suffered mightily and mostly disappeared around 60 million years ago. The only remaining rhynchocephalians are tuataras, all of which live in New Zealand, and of those, they only still exist on islands that have not been invaded by rats.
Although the remaining tuataras have many unusual features due to their isolation on island similar to the unusual evolutionary changes on the Galapagos, the word rhynchocephalia refers to their defining characteristic: their horned beak-like snout. The word rhynchocephalia comes from the Ancient Greek word rhyncho meaning beak and kephalos meaning head.
Image of a modern rhynchocephalian, the tuatara of New Zealand courtesy Sid Mosdell, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.
Shorebird flock (mostly Sanderlings) at Cupsogue Beach Park, Long Island
Even if flock of birds are most common sights in everyday life, their behavior is poorly understood. Why the change of directions? why to stop somewhere? why spontaneously take to the air?
Arthur Morris, photographer