Masquerade and Plants

image

image

image

There were many beautiful illustrations in the old zoological textbook I wrote about in my last post. Today I’ve picked some illustrious examples of what is known as masquerade or mimesis. Basically, prey animals during evolution developed mechanisms, to camouflage and have higher surveillance rates. Mimetic animals look like something else, not interesting to the predator, like bark, twig, leaf or even lichen. You have the examples on the pictures above, they are actuary  full of  mother nature’s wit. But could it be presumed, that mimesis is a form of  aggressive influential behaviour? Meaning ,that flora in general, is in a way pushing other species to try to survive by being more flora like. Which in turn ends in better surveillance rates of real flora, as the, so to say, fake mimetic subjects de facto are ”incompetent plants”? Would like to hear your opinion about this science-fiction idea!

Sociable weaver

image

image

illustrations from: Erjavec F.:Ptice;  Celovec 1893

I love old books , It amuses me to read archaic Slovene language, old illustrations are magical.  I’ve picked these illustrations from an old Slovene book about nature, where , among others, author stands fascinated about the artistry of little birds from Africa, able to make spectacular ”condominium” nests . There can live up to 3 hundred families in neighbour nest cells. First picture above shows the early phases of such a nest and the second picture shows it finished ( woven with grasses and tiny sticks). It is the biggest structure birds can build. A sort of bird’s megapolis.

It is interesting that these birds are not endangered today, for they are able to find so many artificial building materials around human settlements, that they have excellent conditions for their nests and therefore for many new families. And these are two good stories that made me write today’s post: I am happy to find an old Slovene book about nature in excellent condition, with great illustrations , and I am happy to learn that not only book, but also these birds made it into modern times……

 

Erinaceus concolor or somebody wandering alone in the night

As I met this little guy wandering trough the garden I had to publish his photo. Not only for he is so cute, even not for he does such a good job in the garden but for I was surprised to read all the scientific articles dealing with this little creature.Among the more interesting ones is the one about glacial eras and hedgehogs migration.Or the one about hedgehogs menu in urban area.Or about the shape of its cranium. I really wonder what influences the choice of scientific interest upon a certain subject-for.example why nobody investigated for.example hedgehogs in the art ? Is it.possible.that our archetypal picture of certain subject prejudices the interest we would develop about it? For this could mean that the investigations in science could be under different archetypes oriented towards different topics???
Anyway, this may be too much for a young hedgehog wandering trough my botanical garden…….
image

image

image

Antheraea yamamai -from silk to Mach number

PICT0300

It is a hot August whether these days here around, the temperatures above 30 degrees C for almost two weeks.Only nights are a bit cooler,we stay awake quiet late. Yesterday evening was the same,we were watching TV as a strange visitor came in-a yellow, huge moth was flying across the room almost like a bird,then he sat down on a plant and remained there long enough for us to make some pics. We’ve seen such a big moth here for the first time-and have been very impressed by his story.

Yamamai or Japanese Oak Silkmoth has been cultivated in Japan for more than 1000 years,its silk is white,elastic,durable and very expensive.Adult moth has a wingspan of 10-15cm.Its larvae feed on quercus while the adult moth doesn’t eat at all,he has enough energy to fly for a couple of days and to reproduce,then he dies.In the middle of 19-th century family Mach has settled in Veliki Slatnik (Slovenia).In 1866 Johann Mach imported yamamai eggs to start with the production of Shantung silk .The business didn’t succeed ,but the yamamai butterflies succeeded to survive in new habitat ,even more, from Veliki Slatnik they spread to whole Balkan, Italy,Austria,they have been spotted in Germany. Johann Mach and his wife are buried for a long time.Their grave at the cemetery of Veliki Slatnik is almost forgotten. Yet whenever yellow yamamai   appears here around, he brings with him a story of family  coming from far to live in these rural area,with a strange idea of producing silk and leaving this beautiful moth to fly further to Europe.And there is still another story yamamai brings with him, a story of Mach son ,loving the land around fathers farm that much that he was returning back home for his holidays.Professor of physic at the universities of Graz,Prague,Vienna wrote some of hist best works at the farm where his father explored the conditions to suit  yamamai silk production best.And who this son was? Ernst Mach, great physic and philosopher of time,Mach number is just one of his many contributions.So  from now on when I will see a yamamai I will remember Veliki Slatnik, silk and Mach number……..

Ernst Mach (German pronunciation: [ˈɛɐnst ˈmax]) (February 18, 1838 – February 19, 1916) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as the Mach number and the study of shock waves. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism and through his criticism of Newton, a forerunner of Einstein‘s relativity.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Mach

In fluid mechanicsMach number (\mathrm{Ma} or M) (generally play /ˈmɑːk/, sometimes /ˈmɑːx/ or /ˈmæk/) is a dimensionless quantity representing the speed of an object moving through air or other fluid divided by the local speed of sound.[1][2] It is commonly used to represent the speed of an object when it is traveling close to or above the speed of sound.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mach_number

Antheraea yamamai
Living adult
Antheraea yamamai superba
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae
Tribe: Saturniini
Genus: Antheraea
Species: A. yamamai
Binomial name
Antheraea yamamai
Guérin-Méneville, 1861[verification needed]
Synonyms

Wisteria sinensis and buzz about flower constancy

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

No matter how I’ve tried,I’ve newer recorded such a success with my garden efforts as did I with simple act of planting Wisteria sinensis alba about ten years ago.I am absolutely noncompetitive gardener,but must admit that it feels good when my neighbors stop by our house in simple admiration of white waterfall,I’ve noticed even some envy in eyes of my dear next-door neighbor having blue variety of wisteria which doesn’t want to flower.But there is something I enjoy even more as flattery during May, when my wisteria is  just as magical smelling cloud-it is sitting on our wisteria terrace and observing many bees and bumblebees constantly flying among scented flowers.There are so many a buzz is becoming  a sort of music,vanishing with wind and appearing stronger again and again.The same one bumblebees are coming back to eat sweet nectar again and again,day after day!Well, this is called flower constancy (and not,as one might assume the constant beauty of my wisteria) although from my point of view it could be called bumblebee constancy!

Bumblebees will also tend to visit the same patches of flowers every day, as long as they continue to find nectar and pollen,[11] a habit known as pollinator or flower constancy. While foraging, bumblebees can reach ground speeds of up to 15 metres per second (54 km/h).[12] from;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee

Wisteria sinensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Millettieae
Genus: Wisteria
Species: W. sinensis
Binomial name
Wisteria sinensis
(SimsDCfrom:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisteria_sinensis

Erinaceus concolor or somebody wandering alone in the night

As I met this little guy wandering trough the garden I had to publish his photo. Not only for he is so cute, even not for he does such a good job in the garden but for I was surprised to read all the scientific articles dealing with this little creature.Among the more interesting ones is the one about glacial eras and hedgehogs migration.Or the one about hedgehogs menu in urban area.Or about the shape of its cranium. I really wonder what influences the choice of scientific interest upon a certain subject-for.example why nobody investigated for.example hedgehogs in the art ? Is it.possible.that our archetypical picture of certain subject prejudices the interest we would develop about it? For this could mean that the investigations in science could be under different archetypes oriented towards different topics???
Anyway, this may be too much for a young hedgehog wandering trough my botanical garden…….
image

image

image

Grasshopper movie star

My petunias eaten? Green grasshopper was near by ,so I claimed him guilty.To feel better about it ,I went on net to check it out.I am calm now, grasshoppers do eat plants,indeed.But I’ve got another question by now-I’ve remembered old Aesop tale ”Grasshopper and ant” and I wonder does this assumption about lazy grasshopper have any realistic backgrounds or was it just made up for didactic purposes by Aesop? For my grasshopper was quiet laborious to cut so many petunias as it did……Nevertheless,I have found two old grasshopper films on you -tube.Both of them around 100 years old, yet ending a bit different one from the other-to fit didactic needs of the time.Which could mean, that also Aesop made it up,too.Of course My Botanical Gardens in this case absolutely disprove use of grasshoppers good name in a way that has no realistic grounds ;). But please, do have a look-and enjoy! Any scientific explanation about grasshoppers working habits is welcome!

Grasshoppers prefer to eat grasses, leaves and cereal crops. The majority of grasshoppers are polyphagous. Many will eat from multiple host plants in one day, while some prefer to rely on the same host plant. Only one of the 8000 species of grasshopper is monophagous and will only eat a single species of plant.[2]

Grasshopper
Temporal range: Late Permian – Recent
Immature grasshopper
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
Ander, 1939
Superfamilies

from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasshopper

Argiope bruennichi, stabilimentum and recycling

image

image

image

All too often I walk down my garden without seeing many little neighbors of mine living down there.This Sunday was a sunny one and it was impossible not to see this working guy-Argiope bruennichi, spinning under hot sun(I say guy as females are much smaller). I took some pics immediately ,for at least three reasons.First ,look at his prey-isn’t he quiet a catcher? Second,look at white silk zig-zag pattern-it is interesting that it is still uncertain why spiders build stabilimenta. Third,so many people hate or are afraid of spiders-without reason(at rational level at least)!Fourth,this guy is actually recycling his silk web (have a look down here)!

Wasp spider
Argiope bruennichi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Araneidae
Genus: Argiope
Species: A. bruennichi
Binomial name
Argiope bruennichi
(Scopoli, 1772)The spider builds a spiral orb  web at dawn or dusk, commonly in long grass a little above ground level, taking it approximately an hour. The prominent zigzag shape called the  stabilimentum,  or web decoration, featured at the centre of the orb is of uncertain function, though it may be to attract insects.When a prey item is first caught in the web, Argiope bruennichi will quickly immobilise its prey by wrapping it in silk. The prey is then bitten and then injected with a paralysing  venom and a protein dissolving enzyme.From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_bruennichi

Originally the decorations were thought to stabilize the web (hence the term stabilimentum)[citation needed], though this theory has since been dismissed. One more recent theory is that web decorations attract prey by reflecting  ultraviolet light.[4] Light in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum is known to be attractive to many species of insects.[4]While the most conspicuous and well-studied decorations are constructed entirely of silk (for example in Argiope), some spiders combine silk with other items such as egg sacs and debris (for example in  Cyclosa).From :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_decorations

Webs allow a spider to catch prey without having to expend energy by running it down. Thus it is an efficient method of gathering food. However, constructing the web is in itself an energetically costly process because of the large amount of protein required, in the form of silk. In addition, after a time the silk will lose its stickiness and thus become inefficient at capturing prey. It is common for spiders to eat their own web daily to recoup some of the energy used in spinning. The silk proteins are thus recycled.From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_web:

Antheraea yamamai -from silk to Mach number

It is a hot August whether these days here around, the temperatures above 30 degrees C for almost two weeks.Only nights are a bit cooler,we stay awake quiet late. Yesterday evening was the same,we were watching TV as a strange visitor came in-a yellow, huge moth was flying across the room almost like a bird,then he sat down on a plant and remained there long enough for us to make some pics.We’ve seen such a big moth here for the first time-and have been very impressed by his story.

Yamamai or Japanese Oak Silkmoth has been cultivated in Japan for more than 1000 years,its silk is white,elastic,durable and very expensive.Adult moth has a wingspan of 10-15cm.Its larvae feed on quercus while the adult moth doesn’t eat at all,he has enough energy to fly for a couple of days and to reproduce,then he dies.In the middle of 19-th century family Mach has settled in Veliki Slatnik (Slovenia).In 1866 Johann Mach imported yamamai eggs to start with the production of Shantung silk .The business didn’t succeed ,but the yamamai butterflies succeeded to survive in new habitat ,even more, from Veliki Slatnik they spread to whole Balkan, Italy,Austria,they have been spotted in Germany. Johann Mach and his wife are buried for a long time.Their grave at the cemetery of Veliki Slatnik is almost forgotten. Yet whenever yellow yamamai   appears here around, he brings with him a story of family  coming from far to live in these rural area,with a strange idea of producing silk and leaving this beautiful moth to fly further to Europe.And there is still another story yamamai brings with him, a story of Mach son ,loving the land around fathers farm that much that he was returning back home for his holidays.Professor of physic at the universities of Graz,Prague,Vienna wrote some of hist best works at the farm where his father explored the conditions to suit  yamamai silk production best.And who this son was? Ernst Mach, great physic and philosopher of time,Mach number is just one of his many contributions.So  from now on when I will see a yamamai I will remember Veliki Slatnik, silk and Mach number……..

Ernst Mach (German pronunciation: [ˈɛɐnst ˈmax]) (February 18, 1838 – February 19, 1916) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as the Mach number and the study of shock waves. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism and through his criticism of Newton, a forerunner of Einstein‘s relativity.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Mach

In fluid mechanicsMach number (\mathrm{Ma} or M) (generally play /ˈmɑːk/, sometimes /ˈmɑːx/ or /ˈmæk/) is a dimensionless quantity representing the speed of an object moving through air or other fluid divided by the local speed of sound.[1][2] It is commonly used to represent the speed of an object when it is traveling close to or above the speed of sound.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mach_number

Antheraea yamamai
Living adult
Antheraea yamamai superba
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae
Tribe: Saturniini
Genus: Antheraea
Species: A. yamamai
Binomial name
Antheraea yamamai
Guérin-Méneville, 1861[verification needed]
Synonyms