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libutron:

A Violet Copper butterfly (male), Lycaena helle (Lycaenidae), from Krähbachtal at Roche Rath, East Belgium.
The Violet Copper is a rare butterfly that is often confined to very small sites, where it may be seen in large numbers. It is found in swampy, wet grassland and rough vegetation bordering streams and lakes. 
Lycaena helle occurs in scattered populations from the north of Norway to the Pyrenees and from the east of Belgium to East Asia. It is a species classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
[Source]
Photo credit: ©Frank Vassen

libutron:

A Violet Copper butterfly (male), Lycaena helle (Lycaenidae), from Krähbachtal at Roche Rath, East Belgium.

The Violet Copper is a rare butterfly that is often confined to very small sites, where it may be seen in large numbers. It is found in swampy, wet grassland and rough vegetation bordering streams and lakes. 

Lycaena helle occurs in scattered populations from the north of Norway to the Pyrenees and from the east of Belgium to East Asia. It is a species classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

[Source]

Photo credit: ©Frank Vassen

Five views of a shell of the Giant Tun Snail - Tonna galea, a species of marine gastropod mollusc in the family Tonnidae. The shell is very large, with an average height of 6 in (150 mm), but thin and inflated (though durable); as such, the shell weighs considerably less than comparable gastropod shells.

top - from left to right: Dorsal, lateral (right side), ventral, back, and front view.

  Photographs: H. Zell; edit: Heinrich Pniok and Vouliagmeni

(via: Wikipedia)

Garden tiger moth (Arctia caja), family Arctiidae

Wingspan of 45 to 65 mm (1.8 to 2.6 in). The design of the wings varies. The conspicuous patterns serve as a warning to predators, because the moth is mildly toxic. Its effects are not yet fully known, but they contain quantities of neurotoxic choline esters which act by interfering with the acetylcholine receptor.

This moth is found throughout Europe and Eastern North America. The moth is nocturnal and can usually only be seen flying around a source of light. The distinctively coloured, long-haired caterpillar, on the other hand, is seen more frequently. It can grow up to 6 cm (2.4 in) long and plays dead when in danger. The caterpillar feeds on various kinds of herbaceous and woody plants. It is especially fond of raspberry, blackberry, viburnum, honeysuckle, erica, and broom.

(read more: Wikipedia)

photos: Kurt Kulac and Jeff Delong

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Variegated oil beetle | ©Nikola Rahmé
Meloe variegatus (Coleoptera - Meloidae) female (body length: about 40 mm).
This species of beetle oil is characterized by its chubby appearance, with abdomen well developed and rounded (hypertrophied), short elytra divergent, and lacking functional wings. This particular morphology is accompanied by a slow movement and defensive reactions (thanatosis) with the expulsion of fluids through joints. 
This species is of Palearctic distribution, it is known in Europe from Portugal to Turkey and from Italy to southern Sweden. In Asia ranges from the Urals to Manchuria and much of Siberia. Has also been documented its presence in various locations in northern Africa.

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Variegated oil beetle | ©Nikola Rahmé

Meloe variegatus (Coleoptera - Meloidae) female (body length: about 40 mm).

This species of beetle oil is characterized by its chubby appearance, with abdomen well developed and rounded (hypertrophied), short elytra divergent, and lacking functional wings. This particular morphology is accompanied by a slow movement and defensive reactions (thanatosis) with the expulsion of fluids through joints. 

This species is of Palearctic distribution, it is known in Europe from Portugal to Turkey and from Italy to southern Sweden. In Asia ranges from the Urals to Manchuria and much of Siberia. Has also been documented its presence in various locations in northern Africa.

dendroica
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Sylvain azuré (Azuritis reducta) aka Southern White Admiral | ©Anne Sorbes (Vercors, France)
Azuritis reducta (Nymphalidae) is found in Southern Europe where it is widespread.
The brown upper of this butterfly shows blue sheen, according to the light. The wingspan is about 45 to 53 mm. It is visible in dry areas with rocks and grasses, in wet clearings and forest. Its preferred foodplant is the Honeysuckle.

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Sylvain azuré (Azuritis reducta) aka Southern White Admiral | ©Anne Sorbes (Vercors, France)

Azuritis reducta (Nymphalidae) is found in Southern Europe where it is widespread.

The brown upper of this butterfly shows blue sheen, according to the light. The wingspan is about 45 to 53 mm. It is visible in dry areas with rocks and grasses, in wet clearings and forest. Its preferred foodplant is the Honeysuckle.

bbsrc

bbsrc:

The new IPCC Climate Change Report is just out. Could new sources of energy help combat climate change?

Meet the Gribble

This little critter, a marine isopod, could help power cars of the future by turning wood into liquid fuel. 

http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/industrial-biotechnology/2012/121128-f-meet-the-gribbles.aspx

Image: Laura Michie with thanks to Dr Alex Ball for permission to use the confocal microscopy facilities at The Natural History Museum.

noworseforwear

archiemcphee:

Norway has just emerged as a challenger for Japan’s title as Masters of Awesome Cuteness. These photos were taken on the set of “Piip-Show”, a live reality tv show following the lives of a cast comprised of wild birds and the occasional squirrel. Conceived by Norwegian freelance photographer Magne Klann, the show takes place on a set which is an outdoor bird feeder modeled after Java, a well-known coffee shop in Oslo, Norway.

“Different personalities meet inside the bar. Among others a short tempered nuthatch, a blue tit with the memory of a gold fish, a happy-go-lucky great tit, and a depressed bullfinch. Like in any other bar there is bickering, petty theft, fighting and attempts at romance”.

We can’t help but try to pair these animals with various cast members from Seinfeld.

Billed as the very first reality show for birds, the “Piip-Show" is a three-month-long project that’s being broadcast live on the Norwegian broadcasting network NRK.

Click here to watch the “Piip-Show” online

[via Junkculture]

Brighter Days For the Long-tailed Tit
Climate change could be beneficial for at least one little woodland bird.
When it comes to climate change, there will be some winners and a lot of losers: The World Wildlife Fund estimates that up 40 percent of Europe’s 426 bird species could disappear with just a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature. But at least one little bird appears to be bucking the trend.
Brian Hatchwell’s team at University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom have studied the long-tailed tit’s breeding habits for more 20 years. Three years ago, they began a project to study how climate affects the birds’ breeding. 
Populations of the long-tailed tit, a diminutive passerine, ballooned in the last 45 years. There are now twice as many tits living in the U.K. than there were in 1969. And the team thinks a warmer spring breeding season is behind it. 
The long-tailed tit’s nesting season, typically from March to May, is nothing short of a two-month marathon. Their nests, woven from spider silk, feathers, and brush to be elastic enough to expand as their offspring grow, demand a huge amount of labor. In the four to five weeks it takes to build one, a single tit will fly a total of 300 miles shuttling materials back and forth…
(read more: Audubon Magazine)
photo: Alan Shearman

Brighter Days For the Long-tailed Tit

Climate change could be beneficial for at least one little woodland bird.

When it comes to climate change, there will be some winners and a lot of losers: The World Wildlife Fund estimates that up 40 percent of Europe’s 426 bird species could disappear with just a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature. But at least one little bird appears to be bucking the trend.

Brian Hatchwell’s team at University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom have studied the long-tailed tit’s breeding habits for more 20 years. Three years ago, they began a project to study how climate affects the birds’ breeding. 

Populations of the long-tailed tit, a diminutive passerine, ballooned in the last 45 years. There are now twice as many tits living in the U.K. than there were in 1969. And the team thinks a warmer spring breeding season is behind it. 

The long-tailed tit’s nesting season, typically from March to May, is nothing short of a two-month marathon. Their nests, woven from spider silk, feathers, and brush to be elastic enough to expand as their offspring grow, demand a huge amount of labor. In the four to five weeks it takes to build one, a single tit will fly a total of 300 miles shuttling materials back and forth…

(read more: Audubon Magazine)

photo: Alan Shearman

Wild Atlantic Way, County Donegal to County Cork, Ireland
Photograph by Kevin Galvin, Alamy
The Wild Atlantic Way is far more than a scenic route from County Donegal south to County Cork along Ireland’s untamed western coast. The 1,491 miles were designed to be driven in small sections, allowing time to revel in the stories, sights, and history found around each bend in the road.
“The most mystifying poetry of the route for me lies no doubt along the Mayo coastline, replete with thunderous views, land art, living 5,000-year-old ruins, and mesmerizing islands,” says Travis Price, a frequent visitor to Ireland’s western coast. “It is indeed a place where the soul catches up with body, the craic [fun] of daily life is abundant, and truly the ancient Irish spirits are soaring into the salt laden air. The word authentic literally disappears, as there is indeed no other than that there.”…
(read more: National Geo)

Wild Atlantic Way, County Donegal to County Cork, Ireland

Photograph by Kevin Galvin, Alamy

The Wild Atlantic Way is far more than a scenic route from County Donegal south to County Cork along Ireland’s untamed western coast. The 1,491 miles were designed to be driven in small sections, allowing time to revel in the stories, sights, and history found around each bend in the road.

“The most mystifying poetry of the route for me lies no doubt along the Mayo coastline, replete with thunderous views, land art, living 5,000-year-old ruins, and mesmerizing islands,” says Travis Price, a frequent visitor to Ireland’s western coast. “It is indeed a place where the soul catches up with body, the craic [fun] of daily life is abundant, and truly the ancient Irish spirits are soaring into the salt laden air. The word authentic literally disappears, as there is indeed no other than that there.”…

(read more: National Geo)

libutron
libutron:

It Looks Like a Fungus But It Is Not a Fungus
Despite having the common name of the Maltese mushroom, Cynomorium coccineum (Cynomoriaceae) is in indeed a plant, one very strange and holoparasitic.
As holoparasite, Cynomorium coccineum has virtually no chlorophyll, thus being unable to photosynthesize to live on its own, so this plant spends most of its life underground (it is a geophyte) as a form completely parasitic of other plants.
The Maltese mushroom grows in dry, rocky or sandy soils, often in salt marshes or other saline habitats close to the Mediterranean coast.
When not blooming, the Maltese mushroom is simply a rhizome, an underground stem, attached to the roots of its host plant through especial cup-like appendages called haustoria. It is a root parasite and has no root system or leaves. After the winter rains, it blooms in late spring. A dark-red or purplish slow-growing inflorescence emerges from the soil on a fleshy, unbranched stem (most of which is underground) with scale-like, membranous leaves that in reality do not function as such. Its inflorescence grows to 15–30 cm long with many minute scarlet flowers, which may be male, female or hermaphrodite in some cases.
The Maltese mushroom was already known to both Arabs and Chinese people from the early Middle Ages period. Not only it has been known and collected as survival food in times of famine but it was also known for a wide range of medicinal properties and thus used to treat a variety of symptoms and disorders. 
The Latin term Cynomorium comes from dodder in Greek “kynomorion”, and the latin word coccineum is due to its vivid scarlet color.
[Read more]
Photo credit: ©Ori Fragman Sapir   (Wadi Malha, Jerusalem, Israel)

libutron:

It Looks Like a Fungus But It Is Not a Fungus

Despite having the common name of the Maltese mushroom, Cynomorium coccineum (Cynomoriaceae) is in indeed a plant, one very strange and holoparasitic.

As holoparasite, Cynomorium coccineum has virtually no chlorophyll, thus being unable to photosynthesize to live on its own, so this plant spends most of its life underground (it is a geophyte) as a form completely parasitic of other plants.

The Maltese mushroom grows in dry, rocky or sandy soils, often in salt marshes or other saline habitats close to the Mediterranean coast.

When not blooming, the Maltese mushroom is simply a rhizome, an underground stem, attached to the roots of its host plant through especial cup-like appendages called haustoria. It is a root parasite and has no root system or leaves. After the winter rains, it blooms in late spring. A dark-red or purplish slow-growing inflorescence emerges from the soil on a fleshy, unbranched stem (most of which is underground) with scale-like, membranous leaves that in reality do not function as such. Its inflorescence grows to 15–30 cm long with many minute scarlet flowers, which may be male, female or hermaphrodite in some cases.

The Maltese mushroom was already known to both Arabs and Chinese people from the early Middle Ages period. Not only it has been known and collected as survival food in times of famine but it was also known for a wide range of medicinal properties and thus used to treat a variety of symptoms and disorders. 

The Latin term Cynomorium comes from dodder in Greek “kynomorion”, and the latin word coccineum is due to its vivid scarlet color.

[Read more]

Photo credit: ©Ori Fragman Sapir   (Wadi Malha, Jerusalem, Israel)