221 posts tagged Nature
221 posts tagged Nature
Today the Department of Awesome Camouflage is marveling at this incredible praying mantis who looks more like a collection of sticks and bits of plants than a predatory insect. This exceptionally stealthy mantis belongs to the genus Toxodera, which consists of some of the largest mantids in the world. It was discovered and photographed by Peter Houlihan in Borneo:
Amidst the dense jungles of Borneo lives quite possibly the largest mantis in the world! Yet, despite its size, it remains nearly impossible to find. Late one night, I was collecting insects in the rainforest for my research when I encountered this brilliantly cryptic mantis amongst a swarm of unaware insects. I am still not sure how I spotted it, but it is by far the most impressive mantis I have ever seen.
The newest addition the Archie McPhee Library is an epic journey across the planet and back through time via a beautiful book entitled The Oldest Living Things in the World [Buy on Amazon] by Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Rachel Sussman. Nature is awesome and the Earth is very very old and Sussman spent the last 10 years researching, working with biologists and traveling in order to photograph the oldest continuously living organisms on the planet.
Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a stunning and unique visual collection of ancient organisms unlike anything that has been created in the arts or sciences before, insightfully and accessibly narrated by Sussman along the way.
These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow only one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungus in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah. Sussman journeyed to Antarctica to photograph 5,500-year-old moss; Australia for stromatolites, primeval organisms tied to the oxygenation of the planet and the beginnings of life on Earth; and to Tasmania to capture a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub that’s the last individual of its kind.
Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena presents this stunning time-lapse video, created by photographer and volunteer fire lookout Gary Yost, of San Francisco Bay area’s famous fog rolling in to envelop the landscape, illuminated by the last August’s supermoon:
"The Bay Area is famous for its dense fog, and when you’re in it the fog is cold and grey. But there’s another side to the fog and the only way to see what happens when it fully comes in and blankets the SF Bay Area at night is to be above it. Because Mt. Tam is closed to everyone but rangers and fire lookout volunteers after sunset, very few people have ever seen the majestically mysterious vapors of the Pacific ocean as it flows in to completely cover the Bay. What starts as a partial blanket quickly rushes in to fill the gaps and by 1am, the lights of the cities below eventually become completely smothered."
[via io9 Space]
Today, thanks to Romanian photographer Remus Tiplea, we learned that Damselflies enjoy playing peekaboo, or at least they do in his backyard in Negreşti-Oaş, Romania. We had no idea that these delicate insects are also adorably shy.
Visit Remus Tiplea’s National Geographic profile to check out more of his photographs.
[via Faith is Torment]
It’s late summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere and some folks have reached the point at which the novelty of hot weather has worn off and they’ve all but forgotten what it feels like to shiver. If that sounds like you, please allow the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena to distract you for just a moment with this amazing photo taken by Redditor SearonTrejorek.
A couple winters ago in South Carolina, at the Hardin Gardens on the Winthrop University canvas, SearonTrejorek (after a few unsuccessful tries) managed to peel a perfect layer of ice off a leaf of a Magnolia tree. The flawless ice leaf was very fragile and quick to melt, but he was able to hold it in his hand long enough to capture its existence in this refreshingly chilly photo.
[via Twisted Sifter]
"Right now, in almost every river in the world, some 12,000 different species of caddisfly larvae wriggle and crawl through sediment, twigs, and rocks in an attempt to build temporary aquatic cocoons. To do this, the small, slow-moving creatures excrete silk from salivary glands near their mouths which they use like mortar to stick together almost every available material into a cozy tube. A few weeks later a fully developed caddisfly emerges and almost immediately flies away."
Since the 1980s Duprat has been collecting caddisfly larvae from their normal environments and transporting them to aquariums in his studio. There he gently removes their own natural cocoons and puts the larvae in tanks filled with materials such as pearls, beads, opals, turquoise and pieces of 18-karat gold. The insects still do exactly what comes naturally to them, but in doing so they create exquisite gilded sculptures that they temporarily call home. If you saw them out of context, you’d never guess they’d been created insects.
Today the Department of Phenomenally Fancy Antennae found its new mascot: this amazing little male beetle from the family Phengodidae, also known as glowworm beetles. Their larvae are known as glowworms. Male glowworm beetles use their fancy-schmancy, feather-like antennae to detect and follow pheromones produced by female beetles.
These awesomely unusual pink grasshoppers owe their blushed coloration to a congenital condition known as Eythrism (previously featured here), which causes abnormal redness in an animal’s fur, plumage or skin.
"It is called erythrism an unusual and little-understood genetic mutation caused by a recessive gene similar to that which affects albino animals. This mutation results in one of two things happening or even a combination of the two; a reduce or even absence of the normal pigment and/or the excessive production of other pigments, in this case red which results in pink morphs."
Head over to The Huffington Post for additional images and to learn more about this unusual and beautiful mutation.
Today we join the Department of Teeny-weeny Wonders in astonishment at the golden mesh marvel that is the cocoon of the Urodidae moth. Also known as “false burnet moths,” these small to medium sized moths spend their pupal stage in unusual and incredibly beautiful open-mesh cocoons, which are sometimes suspended on a very long thread below a leaf.
"This type of cocoon is known as a "open-network cocoon" and is unlike other cocoons in that it doesn’t completely enclose the pupa in silk. Instead, it only partially surrounds it, likely enabling better airflow to control for humidity and may help prevent fungi from growing on, and eventually killing, the pupa. This cocoon very likely belongs to a moth in the family Urodidae, which is known for making this type of lattice-structured cocoon surrounding its pupa."
Here’s an awesome icy creation to help those of us in the northern hemisphere take our minds off the heat of the summer. French designer Arturo Erbsman created these beautiful Polar Light ice chandeliers. Designed to be hung from tree branches in winter, they’re composed of metal frames covered in soft white woven fishnet that catches precipitation.
"At dawn, when the morning dew deposits micro droplets on the surface, it gradually freezes and turn into stalactites. Over course of the day, the structure stiffens coated with ice.
At nightfall, it glows as rays pass through the ice, thus highlighting the beauty and delicacy of crystallization of water. This ephemeral work of nature exudes a timeless boreal light.”
Visit Arturo Erbsman’s website to learn more about this enchanting project.