For a long time, scientists wishing to observe the stages of a caterpillars metamorphosis into a butterfly had to dissect the insects pupae. While this provided valuable insights, the dissections only acted a snapshots of the process. Now, scientists have taken 3-D scans of the same caterpillars as they undergo holometaboly inside their cocoons. This provides a more complete, linear tale.
Why Are So Many Deep Sea Creatures Red?
Red light does not reach ocean depths, so deep-sea animals that are red actually appear black and thus are less visible to predators and prey.
As you travel from surface waters to deeper waters, the quantity of light changes; it decreases with depth. The quality of light also varies with depth. Sunlight contains all of the colors of our visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet). These colors combined together appear white.
Red light has the longest wavelength and, therefore, the least amount of energy in the visible spectrum. Wavelength decreases and energy increases as you move from red to violet light across the spectrum in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet…
(read more: NOAA Ocean Explorer)
Image: The deep-sea scyphozoan jellyfish, Atolla wyvillei, as seen under white light. Image courtesy of Edith A. Widder, Operation Deep Scope 2005 Exploration, NOAA-OE.
A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), a type of cat body type genetic mutation that causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws.
Polydactyl cats have been extremely popular as ship’s cats. Although there is some controversy over whether the most common variant of the trait originated as a mutation in New England or was brought there from Britain, there seems to be agreement that it spread widely as a result of cats carried on ships originating in Boston, Massachusetts, and the prevalence of polydactyly among the cat population of various ports correlates with the dates when they first established trade with Boston. Contributing to the spread of polydactyl cats by this means, sailors were long known to value polydactyl cats especially for their extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard rodents. Some sailors also considered them to be extremely good luck when at sea.
*The fat footed cutie above belongs to my guy, which means we’re best friends.
My aunt and uncle recently redid their bathroom. This is the wallpaper they found hidden underneath. I might have stared at it for far too long. It’s ridiculously cool, right?!?
2013 World Taxidermy Championships
If you are in Springfield, Illinois right now, count me incredibly jealous: the 2013 World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships started yesterday and run through the weekend. The WTC is the olympic equivalent of competitive animal preparation, and the event offers the sculptors and artists the opportunity to showcase their work, view advancements in taxidermy technology, and appreciate one another’s efforts over the last year. There are competitions for every division from Youth and Novice, to achievements in Freeze-Drying, and - of course - the Master Division, where the winner is awarded a $4,000 prize, some amazing live-mount eyes by Karl Lange and Tohickon (like the Rolls-Royce of glass-blown, hand-crafted eyes), and the honor of knowing you created the most beautiful taxidermy mount in the world.
There’s also the honorable Carl Akeley award granted to the sculptor who can best exhibit that, indeed, wildlife taxidermy is a valid form of art, and the practice is still alive and well today.
About the images:
Lowell Shapley keel-billed toucan won the Carl E. Akeley Award in 2011.
Ken Walker’s panda was awarded Best in Show in the Recreations category - the ‘panda’ is actually comprised of the dyed skins of multiple American black bear specimens, seeing as how giant pandas are protected.
Dennis Harris - “Air Zebra” Lion and zebra won Best in World at the 2009 WTC. The lioness is only supported in one area, where her tail touches the arm of the zebra. If that isn’t an incredible feat in animal engineering, I don’t know what is.
Mountain wave clouds form downwind of an obstacle in the path of a strong air current. Since air cools as it rises and warms as it falls, it is at the peak of a standing wave where moisture condenses and clouds form.