Five years ago, this blog was born. In 2013, I wrote a grand total of two posts and received 21 visitors – not stellar for promoting conservation and an appreciation of biodiversity. But the number of posts and visitors have grown over the years… this site has now been viewed over 15,000 times! I can’t thank you enough.
Here’s a brief look back at the “top” posts:
- First post: “Carapace Cornucopia” (one of my favorite paintings)
- Most-viewed post: “Penis Bone – No Joke” … yes, that is the top-performing post. 🙂
- Month with highest number of views: September 2015 (2.5k) thanks to Scientific American blog, Symbiartic, and my students’ amazing work
- Thanks, Philippines! Visitors from the #2 country of origin like the folktale of the Firefly and the Apes.
- My favorite post: Springtime Symbiosis
- Most enjoyable science paper to read: Signs of Spring
- Cutest model (tie): Who’s in My House? and Purring Predators
- Smelliest model: Corpse Flower Opens – And Stinks
Thanks for visiting, and for all the encouragement and positive comments!
What’s the #1 killer of Roly Polies (Armadillidium vulgare)? I’ll give you a few hints… it’s not hungry birds, shoes, or tiny heart attacks.
The irony is that Roly Polies are crustaceans (not bugs, millipedes, lice or small organic tanks). Their closest relatives include shrimp and lobster.
Roly Polies like moisture – they retreat to damp areas and burrow underground in case of drought. They roll up as a defense against dehydration (and when you poke them). Ah, the wonders of evolution on land. All this protection against desiccation, but no ability to survive in water.
So now that you know Roly Polies are crustaceans, don’t try to rescue them by putting them back in the sea. We’re about 300 million years too late for that!
SOURCE :Population Characteristics of the Terrestrial Isopod Armadillidium Vulgare in California Grassland by Oscar H. Paris and Frank A. Pitelka
Ecology Vol. 43, No. 2 (Apr., 1962) , pp. 229-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1931979
Daffodils (Narcissus poeticus) bring true joy to the winter-weary world.
But after a few moments of appreciation, what does a biologist do? Dissect it!
The showy parts of the plant consist of tepals (the petal-like structures) and a corona (the trumpet-shaped form that defines a daffodil). Growing from the center of the flower are the stamen with pollen-laden anthers and the style, leading down to the ovary.
If you decide to dissect your own daffodils, wash your hands afterward. The plants contain a mildly toxic substance – mostly to fend off herbivores like deer or insects. And if you just want to admire cut daffodils on your coffee table, keep them in their own vase. That toxin can harm other flowers too.
That daffodil is no pansy!
Carnivores have ‘em. Rodents and bats have ‘em. Even many primates have ‘em. But not humans.
(penis bone) is one of the most variable bones in the mammalian skeleton – you can even ID an animal by the shape and size of that one bone. Just like with insect penises, the shapes of these reproductive structures can change quickly in evolutionary terms (Carl Zimmer writes a wonderful post looking at these shifts
What’s its function?
Well, we’re not 100% sure yet. It may allow males to copulate before being fully, ahem, at attention. Or it may stimulate the female to ovulate. Some bacula grow spiny projections which may, like some insect penises, clear out other sperm before injecting one’s own.
Let’s not leave out the girls!
The penis and clitoris develop from the same structure. So, if the penis has a bone… does the clitoris? You bet! It’s called the os clitoridis (or baubellum).