Hard to believe it's already the fifth instalment of Segments - your weekly arthropod highlights here on Expiscor. Hope you enjoy!
- Awesome teenager: a grade 12 student in Ottawa publishes a scientific paper about Diamondback moth parasitoids (in the Canadian Field Naturalist). This shows some amazing talent, and the future is bright for Adamo Young - let's hope that his love of science continues.
- Here's a good overview of the southern black widow spider. It includes some nice photos of immatures, egg sacs, and describes its life cycle and habitat.
- Do stick insects "stick"? Over at PLOS ONE, a paper about the functional biology of the different pads on the feet of stick insects.
- Extreme entomology - this is a stunning tale of a near-death experience for entomologist Kipling Will: a fascinating read.
- Ok, after that incredible story, I think you are ready for a Banjo-playing beetle (courtesy of "bug under glass")
- Meet the Mygalomorphae! A spidery blog post by Catherine Scott. Spiders in this lineage are so much more than Tarantulas - they include turret-builders, trap-door builders, sheet-web builders, and more.
- As I've argued, spider bites are extremely rare. But they do sometimes occur - this paper documents two cases of brown recluse bites in an area outside of their range. As the title suggest, such cases are a 'diagnostic challenge'. I was also pleased to see an entomologist/arachnologist as one of the authors (the multi-talented Matt Bertone)
- Teaching entomology in a world afraid of bugs. This is a thoughtful post, and reminds us to continue foster enthusiasm and passion for the smaller creatures of the world.
- Oh lovely! Nine new species of Cuckoo wasps from China.
- Also from Entomology Today, flies with really, really, really long proboscids. They suck. (nectar, that is)
- Ouch: five insects we never want to have sex with. There are facts and figures, references and photos!!
- Are you confused about insects? Curious about how to tell apart different groups? What about earwigs and termites.. what's their relationship? Don't worry, as Ainsley Seago points out, a termite is just an earwig facing backwards. Not convinced? This will prove the point:
- Pseudoscorpions - in addition to being lovely animals, some species live in bee hives and consume Varroa mites (nasty pests of honey bees). In this paper, authors see about mass-rearing these arachnids so that perhaps they can be used for biocontrol in bee hives. Cool idea!
- Here's another very interesting paper on pseudoscorpions: here, social parasitism is documented in two species living in the neotropics. In the authors words (and after 7 years of study): Experiments and direct behavioral observations indicated that the pseudoscorpion Parachernes melanopygus is a social parasite of Paratemnoides nidificator, able to invade host colonies and exploit their resources by simulating host nymphs’ behavior. Wow. Just wow.
- Steampunk insect sculptures. That is all.
- Entomologists have been enjoying tweets from Phil Torres and company as they have been on great adventures in Peru. Here's a great spidery tweet to illustrate some of the things they are finding. In this case, a truly odd-looking spider.
- Phil & crew (while tweeting for Real Scientists) also found more of the amazing 'silk henge' structures discussed a while back on WiredScience. And despite the 'hints' that they would tell us who/what made these structures, the mystery still remains. I can't wait!!
- Right, so it was a terrific week on Twitter for entomologists, that much is clear. That's the spirit of the tweet of the week, courtesy of Alex Wild.