Category Archives: nature

The Contented Zoologist: Mid Feb 2017

My MS degree from Auburn (just after the last Ice Age) was in Vertebrate Zoology. I would have been just as happy--if not happier--if it had been in Invertebrate Zoology since there are a gazillion times more animals without than with backbones. And they have had oodles (another highly scientific word) more time to show up with bizarre, worthwhile and "clever" adaptations to life on Earth. And it has never been easier for an armchair BoZo (I go both ways, botanical and zoological) to explore the world of animal wonders. How could I possibly keep from sharing from time to time? ► This … Continue Reading ››

A Pill Bug By Any Other Name

So what do you call them? And if you say you've never seen them before or held one (or a couple of dozen) in your hands as a child, well--the pity. We called them roly-polies. You might have called them pill bugs or sow bugs or wood lice, but they are not bugs nor lice, and they are not even insects. They are more closely related to shrimp and lobsters, and are Crustaceans living on land--the only ones fully capable of doing so. And judging from the widely-divergent and varied names they have been given, you can assume that these innocuous detritivores are globally … Continue Reading ››

Nature Deficit Disaster: Vanishing Species

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/video-why-should-humans-care-about-biodiversity-loss-180961708/ There was a time when we could pretend to not know it was short-sighted to let tongueless buffalo carcasses rot by the millions. Or shoot passenger pigeons for sport. Or wipe out all top predators because we had the notion the world would be a better place without them. There was a time when humankind could depend on business, more or less, as usual, over the long term of our short history. That long calm was called the Holocene--the term that geologists use for that period of 15 to 20 thousand years after the last … Continue Reading ››

TIME and a World of Change ~ Part I

Static shot of animated wind patterns by way of windytv.com
Static shot of animated wind patterns by way of windytv.com. Click image to go there and see it live.
I am a child of the age of Disneyland, and my brain's view of time was permanently altered by what I saw there for the first time. Sunday nights, home in front of the round-screen television set (the size of a major appliance), my favorite Disney programs--the nature specials--looked at the planet's places and animals. There were creatures and parts of the … Continue Reading ››

The Honesty of Insects

img_7042wheelbug800They are never duplicitous or deceitful. They are not envious of more powerful or attractive members of their group nor do they seek more creature comforts than is their hardwired destiny. They may stink or sting, buzz and bump their wee-brained heads against the ceiling or windowpane and die to leave their moldy carcasses in the dark corners of our lives. But they never run for office. This particular specimen offered itself for portraiture at the edge of a Floyd Country Store window this week. It is commonly called a "wheel bug"--a true bug of … Continue Reading ››