Circus of the Spineless #50

Welcome to the 50th entry in the Circus of the Spineless carnival series. This was the first carnival I ever participated in, and now I’m thrilled and grateful to be hosting CotS as my (relatively) new blog’s very first carnival.

I’ve loosely organized this carnival according to taxonomy and order of submission. Let’s dive right on in to the wonderful world of the invertebrata, beginning with some squishies.

Phylum: Annelida
Class: Clitellata

GrrlScientist, from Living the Scientific Life, starts us off with a moderately gag-worthy post about a nose-dwelling leech, Tyrannobdella rex. This is potentially the most terrifying T. rex I have ever heard of.

Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda

Dave Ingram, of Dave Ingram’s Natural History Blog, shares photos and musings about a herd of Grovesnails (Cepaea nemoralis) in his post, Glorious Grovesnails.

Jill Wussow, who writes the improbably named blog, Count your chicken! We’re taking over!, also brings glorious photos of some slippery snails, Redwood Sidebands (Monadenia fidelis).

Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Order: Diptera

I’ll kick off the large batch of arthropod submissions with probably the biggest news in the inverte-blogosphere this past month:


This is the end
Dipteran friend
This is the end
My winged friend, the end
Of our taxonomic plan, the end
Of paraphyly that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your ommatidia…again

David Winter, at The Avatism, brings us two posts about the taxonomic cataclysm brewing over the Drosophila genus. First, he describes the scientific importance of this Nobel Prize winning insect, and then the fallout surrounding its likely re-naming.

Joan Knapp, at Anybody Seen My Focus?, spotted a truly bizarre fly visiting a flower he was photographing. He managed to snap a few shots and identify this flying fuzzball as a bee fly, Sparnopolius confuses

Order: Hymenoptera

Ted MacRae, of Beetles in the Bush, posted an ant identification Pismire Puzzle. This myrmecine mystery set off an entomologically-epic commentary thread. (I think this entry just fried my alliteration cortex)

The Geek in Question, at Fall To Climb, brings us this post about a mutualistic relationship between ants and aphids. For once the hymenopterans aren’t picking on the helpless aphids.

Roberta Gibson, at Wild About Ants, describes some gall-forming wasps that apparently trick aphid gall-tending ants into protecting their homes without reward. Wasps are possibly the true jerks of hymenoptera.

Zen Faulkes, at NeuroDojo, lends support to my ‘wasps are jerks’ hypothesis with an article about jewel wasps (Ampulex compressa) that commit atrocities of mind control against cockroaches.

Order: Hemiptera

Matthew, at Backyard and Beyond, brings us more gall-forming goodness in his post about aphid and wasp galls found in Brooklyn, of all places. Exciting nature can be lurking anywhere!

Order: Lepidoptera

Chris Grinter, at The Skeptical Moth, goes moth tasting in the Napa Valley and photographically samples some intoxicating vintages of Adelidae fairy moths.

Order: Orthoptera

Joy Kidd, at The Little House in the Not-So-Big Woods, relates her hunt for an elusive Northern Green-Striped grasshopper that seemingly possessed the ability to will itself invisible amongst the leaf-litter.

Zen Faulkes, at NeuroDojo, gives us a second submission about big love among some very big wetas (Deinacrida rugosa). Bonus (possibly?): Fleetwood Mac.

Order: Coleoptera

Fred First, at Fragments From Floyd, inadvertently risks his finger to give us a look at an oil beetle (Meloidae). Also know as blister beetles, they excrete the caustic compound, cantharidin.

Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida

Ed Young, at Not Exactly Rocket Science, discusses the weird mating dynamics of wasp spiders (Argiope bruennichi) and finds males are less likely to be eaten after having sex with their sisters.

Subphylum: Myriapoda
Class: Diplopoda

Dave Ingram, of Dave Ingram’s Natural History Blog, came across a an almond-smelling millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana). It turns out that the smell is cyanide, a defense mechanism for the many-legged forager.

Adrian Thysse, at The Bug Whisperer, got a fancy new macro flash and tried it out on a millipede (genus Cylindroiulus). The little Diplopod proved a willing subject and even yielded a bonus arthropod, tiny mite parasites, attached to its legs.

Subphylum: Crustacea
Order: Decapoda

Kevin Zelnio, at Deep Sea News, has a post about the bizarre visual system of hydrothermal vent shrimp. Their retina has moved to their carapace and may be used to sense blackbody radiation from the vents.

That does it for this month. Thanks for reading, I hope I did the half-centennial of Circus of the Spineless justice.

Next month’s carnival will be at Deep Sea News, so start sending those fine folks your submissions.

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15 Responses to “Circus of the Spineless #50”


  1. 1 Zen Faulkes May 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Love love LOVE the DrosophApocalypse Now graphic!

  2. 2 david winter May 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Superb. That DrosophApocalypse Now graphics is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long while!

  3. 3 Joy K. May 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    The links look so organized and tidy! I love it!

    Can’t wait to start browsing.

  4. 4 Adrian Thysse May 3, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks for all your work on this, it’s a cool collection.

  5. 5 Ted C. MacRae May 4, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Excellent presentation – love the mantis shrimp in the title area. A few posts I’ve already seen, more that I haven’t – I’ll be anxious to check out.

  6. 6 allthingsbiological May 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

    This is really spectacular. The taxonomic structure works well and this is a really engaging selection. VERY nicely done!

  7. 7 Roberta May 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Thanks for hosting and nice job. I should mention, however, that the ants do get a sweet reward produced by the oak tree. It’s just that the wasps don’t have to produce it themselves :-)

  8. 8 Mike Bok May 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks everyone for the kind words and link-backs. Much appreciated.

    I’m glad everyone liked the DrosphApocalypse Now image, I was chuckling to myself the whole time I was making it.

  9. 9 Jill May 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Excellent write-up! Well done – i concur- the DrosophApocalypse Now graphic is pretty awesome!

  10. 10 Free PlayStation Gift Card for http://androidcashnow.com/Playstation-Gift-Card/ April 7, 2014 at 6:20 am

    It’s very easy to find out any topic on net as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this site.


  1. 1 Field Notes:¬†Galls « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on May 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm
  2. 2 Circus of the Spineless #50: The Mantis Shrimp Strikes Back/Drosophapocalypse Now Edition | Deep Sea News Trackback on May 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm
  3. 3 More Carnivalia « Mauka to Makai Trackback on May 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm
  4. 4 Inspired by Myrmecos: Parajapyx « Macromite's Blog Trackback on May 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm
  5. 5 Linky Linky Shminky Pinky Heth - eth - eth - eth - eth - eth - eth - eth - eth! Chris Waddle | Prog Gold Trackback on May 6, 2010 at 9:45 am

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I have moved.
Arthropoda can now be found here.

Michael Bok is a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp.

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