Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ubiquitous Insects

Somebody finally had time to cover the truly important news:

"Mystery insect bugging experts at London museum"

On the same subject, more or less, here is another quote from O. Henry, which my sister sent me. No typos, I promise (read it carefully).

“May Martha’s father was a man hidden behind whiskers and spectacles. He lived
for bugs and butterflies and all insects that fly or crawl or buzz or get down
your back or in the butter. He was an etymologist, or words to that effect. He
spent his life seining the air for flying fish of the June-bug order, and then
sticking pins through ‘em and calling ‘em names."

--from "Buried Treasure"

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jellyfish! Live!

I've been sitting here for about ten minutes trying to decide on an original statement to start this entry. Perhaps the direct approach is best: I like jellyfish. My friend Cheyanne and I went over to the coast last week and (among other things) had a good look at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's a fascinating place, with tanks focusing on sea life from various depths of California coastal waters, everything from kelp forests to tide pools to hammer-head sharks. Theoretically, it was heaven for anyone who likes to dabble in nature photography. . .but in practice, the glass of the tanks is rather interferesome. I rest content, however, because when my camera finally condescended to focus, it was in the jellyfish exhibit, which was what I most wanted to photograph anyway.

The animal below is, I believe, called a moon jelly:

And here are some spotted jellies. They are a South Pacific species. The brown tint is due to a type of algae which the spotted jellies cultivate on themselves and use to enhance their diet.

Spotted jellies up close:

Most of the jellyfish we saw seemed to be slowly tumbling through the water, with little regard for up or down, but the species below (aptly called an upside-down jelly) has a definite preference for the position in the picture. In fact, the jellies have a sort of suction cup on top (if top it is) that enables them to anchor on a stationary object.

The Mediterranean jelly moves like a slow-motion cascade of confetti: