Butterfly keeper Heather Prince holds one of a newly-emerged Atlas Moth (Attacus Atlas) a Chester Zoo. With a wingspan of 30cm it is the largest moth species in the world.
Picture: Peter Byrne/PA (via Animal pictures of the week: 10 August 2012 – Telegraph)
Posts from the ‘insects’ Category
Commonplace in North America, the golden tortoise beetle is able to change the transparency of its shell from jewel-like to clear with the use of microscopic valves that control moisture under the shell. It can usually be found on morning glories, its favorite food.
Unlike rigid man-made wings, insect wings do not rely on air moving over a curved surface to provide lift. In this high-speed video you can see that as the dragonfly flaps its wings, tiny vortices swirl from the edges of the wings. These provide the lift that keeps the insect aloft.
(Video by NACImageTechnology)
When it comes to odd and beautiful evolutionary tangents, the compound eyes of insects have to be at the top of the list for specialization, other-worldliness and beauty. I just love how the ommatidia of insect eyes are faintly iridescent, and at once both individual units and a larger whole.
Shikhei Goh has a huge gallery of macro photos of insect eyes here, and they are phenomenal.
I call this guy “Wilford Brimley”.
Previously: Did you catch this three-dimensional view of a fruit fly embryo’s development, cell by cell?
Metal Insect Sculptures by Elizabeth Goluch
Elizabeth’s lifelike insect and spider sculptures incorporate metal, gold, silver, enamel, and a little slice of steampunk. You are highly advised to check out her website to see all the amazing details I couldnt post here, as most of her clockwork bugs have movable parts and secret compartments that reveal hidden flourishes (the Dragonfly, for instance, hides a dragon beneath its wings while the ladybug houses a tiny house inside of it. SO GO LOOKS).
Whoa. These are cool. And they have little parts in them that go along with their names! Even better.
Art + Science = Awesome
Plant Communication – According to new German research, plants send out airborne GLV compounds when distressed. “They found that when these plants are attacked by tobacco hornworm caterpillars,Manduca sexta, the caterpillars’ saliva causes a chemical change in the GLV compounds the plants had produced. These modified compounds then attract predatory “true bugs,”Geocoris, which prey on hornworm eggs and young larvae. Although more research will be needed to figure out exactly how the molecules in the caterpillar saliva cause this change in the GLVs, it’s clear that the caterpillars themselves cause the change in the GLV signal, the researchers say. It may thus be possible someday to induce the same sort of change via genetic engineering, which might protect plants against pests without encouraging the resistance that pests develop in response to pesticides.”
However, some people believe it is much more likely the predators have evolved to detected the GLV compounds to hunt prey.
Whether the plant evolved to attract predators of its attacker or the predators evolved to associate the GLV compounds with dinnertime, evolution is incredible.