Showing posts with label Insect. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insect. Show all posts

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Giant, awesome ‘tree lobster’ survived 80 years in hiding

A giant, awesome bug that looks like an alien almost didn't survive because people are idiots.

The Lord Howe Island stick insect, which you see hatching below, looking like an alien struggling out of a human torso, will grow to the size of your hand. 

It’s also called a “tree lobster” — that’s how big it is.
English: Lord Howe Island phasmid
English: Lord Howe Island phasmid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most incredible thing about these insects, though, is not how big they are or how Geigeresque they look, but how close they came to not existing. In the early 20th century, a British trade ship crashed on the South Pacific island that these stick insects inhabited, and black rats from its hold took over the island and ate all the bugs. 

One very small population survived, hanging out around one tiny little bush on another island (really more of a bare outcropping of rock), until a pair of Australian scientists found them there.

I really recommend NPR’s Robert Krulwich’s telling of this story. Here’s a taste:
On their way down, on a precarious, unstable rock surface, they saw a single melaleuca bush peeping out of a crack and, underneath, what looked like fresh droppings of some large insect …The only thing to do was to go back up after dark, with flashlights and cameras, to see if the pooper would be out taking a nighttime walk. Nick Carlile and a local ranger, Dean Hiscox, agreed to make the climb. And with flashlights, they scaled the wall till they reached the plant, and there, spread out on the bushy surface, were two enormous, shiny, black-looking bodies. And below those two, slithering into the muck, were more, and more … 24 in all. All gathered near this one plant.
To sum up, a giant, awesome bug that looks like an alien almost didn’t survive because people are idiots (and rats are jerks). But it did, because sometimes people aren’t total idiots and are a little bit brave. And now you can watch how awesome this bug is on the internet.

Hat tip to the GristList

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I so juicy

And this time I've got proof.

The other evening I was sorting some of the boxes from The Move, in the 2 * 2 strip of grass we call a front garden. And I was bitten 4 times on the feet.

I decided that if I am to work at all in the garden I need to go out midday - seem sensible? I thought so too. So yesterday I went to organise some the detritus in the garden at around 1 pm. And got bitten on the crotch (YOWZERS!), the thigh and the neck.

Fine, these things happen.

Mosquito biting fingerImage via Wikipedia

A bit of Le Target's anti-itch creme and all is right with the world.

This morning I met with a friend at a small, local, cafe to go over a few aspects of my CV / resume. We had a cup of unpleasant, watered down coffee and chatted for nearly an hour.

We walked to my car and stopped in the shade to go over something - and I was bitten on my arm and hand.


I got home and asked Her Indoors where the anti-itch creme was and showed her the bite on my hand. It had swollen to scary proportions, but praise be to Le Target, their creme returned the finger to near normal size.

JuicyImage via Wikipedia

So next time someone asks how I am I am very tempted to say - 'Juicy - and I've got proof'.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

They're in my pants

DirkvdM tamandua.Image via Wikipedia

Whilst making a bottle for His Highness the Baby I noticed a few mini-ants running around the surface. It was 3 am so I didn't want to pay much attention to them.

At 8 am when I made Her Holiness's coffee I noticed them again, this time around the sugar bowl.

Normally I'd just call the exterminator and have them chemically removed but we're moving house in less than a month and I don't want to spend the money.

So my question to you, dear reader, is;

Short of hiring an anteater from the local menagerie, do you have any cheap and easy ways to abate the flow of ants into an apartment?

Answers in the Comments please.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]