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