Common names: Black Witch, Mariposa de la muerte, Pirpinto de la Yeta, Tara Bruja, Mariposa negra, Miquipapalotl, Tepanpapalotl, Taparaco, X-mahan-nah, Duppy Bat, Money moth, Papillion-devil, La Sorcière Noire, Mourning or Sorrow moth.
Ascalapha odorata is a moth (Noctuidae) found throughout Central America and Mexico, with its distribution extending from Brazil to the southern United States. It is considered a harbinger of death in Mexican and Caribbean folklore, although there are different myths in many other cultures (read more about the myths associated with this moth).
This bulbous, ethereal shape is a spreading flame front captured by artist Fabian Oefner in his new "Aurora" series. Oefner used a few alcohol droplets in a glass vessel and ignited the volatile vapors, capturing the propagating flame. Take a look at it in action. Because the air inside the vessel is mostly still, the chemical reactions in the combustion occur much faster than the air’s motion. As a result, the flame spreads as a thin sheet instead of a uniform, widespread flame. The wrinkled and corrugated look of the flame front is due local turbulence distorting the flame. (Photo credit: F. Oefner)
60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035
Imagine a ribbon roughly one hundred million times as long as it is wide. If it were a meter long, it would be 10 nanometers wide, or just a few times thicker than a DNA double helix. Scaled up to the length of a football field, it would still be less than a micrometer across — smaller than a red blood cell. Would you trust your life to that thread? What about a tether 100,000 kilometers long, one stretching from the surface of the Earth to well past geostationary orbit (GEO, 22,236 miles up), but which was still somehow narrower than your own wingspan?
The idea of climbing such a ribbon with just your body weight sounds precarious enough, but the ribbon predicted by a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) will be able to carry up to seven 20-ton payloads at once. It will serve as a tether stretching far beyond geostationary (aka geosynchronous) orbit and held taught by an anchor of roughly two million kilograms. Sending payloads up this backbone could fundamentally change the human relationship with space — every climber sent up the tether could match the space shuttle in capacity, allowing up to a “launch” every couple of days.
The report spends 350 pages laying out a detailed case for this device, called a space elevator. The central argument — that we should build a space elevator as soon as possible — is supported by a detailed accounting of the challenges associated with doing so. The possible pay-off is as simple as could be — a space elevator could bring the cost-per-kilogram of launch to geostationary orbit from $20,000 to as little as $500.
- Mexichromis mariei
Size: 1.2 in (3 cm)
- Pteraeolidia ianthina
Size: 5.9 in (15 cm)
- Phyllidia ocellata
Size: 2.4 in (6 cm)
- Phyllidiella pustulosa
Size: 2.4 in (6 cm)
- Godiva sp.
Size: 1.6 in (4 cm)
- Hypselodoris sp.
Size: 2 in (5 cm)
- A quartet of Risbecia tryoni nudibranchs show the beginnings of trailing behavior, in which the animals follow one another’s slime trails, each hot on the tail of the next. (It often occurs in pairs.) Scientists once thought trailing was related to mating, but evidence is thin; its true purpose remains unknown.
Goldenrod nectar, golden sunlight and a very happy great golden digger wasp.
Paradox Solved? How Information Can Escape from a Black Hole
Every black hole conceals a secret — the quantum remains of the star from which it formed, say a group of scientists, who also predict that these stars can later emerge once the black hole evaporates.
The researchers call these objects “Planck stars” and believe that they could solve a very important question in modern physics: the information paradox, or the question of what happens to information contained in matter that falls into a black hole.
The idea could also finally reconcile quantum mechanics and Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity that describes gravity, thus showing how a theory of quantum gravity might solve longstanding puzzles in the world of physics.
Cotter river, Australian Capital Territory
Perhaps a Cycad Blue, Theclinesthes onycha.
Near Cotter campground, Australian Capital Territory.
The Mangrove Saltmarsh Snake (Nerodia clarkii compressicauda) appears to use its tongue to lure its fish prey. The ‘luring tongue flicks’ were longer in duration than the normal ones, involved curling, and were only observed when the snakes were foraging for prey. This behavior has also been documented in Aquatic Garter Snakes (Thamnophis atratus) although they did not engage in the strange curling.
Hansknecht, K. (2008) Lingual Luring by Mangrove Saltmarsh Snakes (Nerodia clarkii compressicauda). Journal of Herpetology 42(1) 9–15
It is not uncommon to see moose in southeast Idaho and we enjoy sharing our moose photos here at the Pocatello Field Office. In Idaho you find the Shiras moose which is the smallest subspecies of moose in North America. A mature Shiras bull moose can weigh 800 pounds.
The heavy Beast, Barytherium (1901)
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Order : Proboscidea
Family : Barytheriidae
Genus : Barytherium
Species : B. grave
Barytherium is a genus of an extinct family of primitive proboscidean that lived during the late Eocene and early Oligocene in North Africa. The Barytheriidae were the first large size proboscideans to appear in the fossil records and were characterized by a strong sexual dimorphism.
The only known species within this family is Barytherium grave, found at the beginning of the 20th century in the Fayum, Egypt. More complete specimens have been found since then, at Dor el Talha Libya and most recently at Aidum area in Oman. In some respects, these animals would have looked similar to a modern Asian Elephant, but with a more slender build. The most visible difference, however, would have been the tusks. Barytherium had eight very short tusks, four each in the upper and lower jaws, which resembled those of a modern hippopotamus more than those of an elephant. The upper pairs were vertical, while the lower pairs projected forwards from the mouth horizontally. Together, these would have created a shearing action for cropping plants.
Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus)
Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Epinephelus striatus lives around the western Atlantic, from Bermuda to northern South America. It can change the patterns on its skin as camouflage or to communicate with others. Large groups gather to spawn in response to the moon and water temperature between December and February in the south and between May and August in the north. This species has separate male and female sexes, and doesn’t change from female to male like many other groupers.
Like other groupers, E. striatus has declined dramatically due to over-fishing. This is facilitated by its slow growth rate and large spawning aggregations.
Catching E. striatus during the spawning season is banned in Belize and spawning sites are protecting around the Cayman Islands. Other protection measures are still being proposed in other countries.
Photo: Jurgen Freund on ARKive.
The All-Seeing Eye
Clear-winged Forest Glory (Vestalis gracilis)
In the compound eye of invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans, the pseudopupil appears as a dark spot which moves across the eye as the animal is rotated or as it turns its head or as you move around it. This occurs because the ommatidia (light receptors) which one observes “head-on” (along their optical axes) absorb the incident light, while those to either side reflect it. The pseudopupil therefore reveals which ommatidia are aligned with the axis along which the observer (or in this case, the camera’s sensor) is viewing.
What this means is that eyes like that of this damselfly (the other classic example is praying mantids (image below)) DO NOT have a pupil in their eye like ours, but it is more of an optical illusion. But it explains why their gaze always seems to follow you around and the insect seems to be looking directly at you (which may, in fact, not be the case).
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese insects and spiders on my Flickr site HERE……