If you’ve never been up close to a blinking bird, here’s a GIF that slows down the blink in a sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus). In addition to using the nictitating membrane to moisten their eye, birds of prey invoke them to protect their eyes from branches during a hunting approach and from prey that might fight back. Humans, sadly, don’t have them anymore, save a little bit of tissue called the plica semilunaris.
As an aside, there’s something rather unnerving about a science fiction movie in which a human is portrayed with functioning membranes. I wonder whether part of our reaction (or my reaction, if it’s just me) is that the membranes might signal the onset of aggressive behavior, where the aggressor is about to strike and wants full protection. I wonder whether animals with functioning nictitating membranes have such a perception. Wouldn’t surprise me.
When it’s too hot to take photographs outside, I can always go down to my basement to photograph camel crickets (“sprickets” to many). I know, lucky me. But if you have a moist basement, you probably have them, too. The ones below are the introduced species (I think), Diestrammena asynamora, from Asia. They drive me nuts. So much so that I wasted time collecting ways to get rid of them (see my page, “Getting rid of camel crickets“, if you’re interested). The list is not 100% effective, as photographs attest, but at least I don’t have thousands of them anymore.
Posted in Biology, Education, Photography, Science
Tagged asia, basement, camel cricket, cricket, Diestrammena asynamora, entomology, insect, introduced, invasive, japan, japanese, moist, Orthoptera
On a warm, moist day in Fall, hundreds of worms found love in a nearby field. Here are three of the happy couples:
Posted in Biology, Education, Gardening, Photography, Science
Tagged clitellum, cocoon, copulating, copulation, earthworms, egg, female, genital pores, grass, hermaphrodite, male, mating, megadrile, mist, moist, rain, reproduction, sex, sperm, wet