Tiny early-instar millipedes found under a rotting log, in the Piedmont of Durham Co., NC, USA. Length about 0.8mm. Most likely in the order Chordeumatida.
“Millipedes grow by adding segments (including legs) just before the anal segment up to the for each species characteristic number of body segments. But all start as ‘hexapedes’...” - Franz Janssens | flickr
Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stop
by Nell Greenfield-Boyce
Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.
That’s the latest surprise from a unique experiment that’s been underway for more than a quarter-century.
Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a general understanding of our world that scientists want to understand it as fully as possible. That’s why, in 1988, biologist took a dozen glass flasks and added identical bacteria to each of them. Those 12 populations have been evolving ever since, letting scientists watch evolution in real time…
This is the bladder trap of an aquatic bladderwort under a microscope. Believe it or not, this is a modified leaf! It creates a vacuum inside the tiny balloon shaped leaf. The long guide hairs help swimming creatures find their way to the mouth, which is darker in this photo. When something approaches the mouth opens and the sides of the bladder pop out sucking the unfortunate victim in at 1/5000 of a second! It’s one of the fastest most complicated things in nature and it is still not clearly understood!
Reconstructing the Microbial Diversity and Function of Pre-Agricultural Tallgrass Prairie Soils in the United States
by Fierer, Ladau, et al.
Native tallgrass prairie once dominated much of the midwestern United States, but this biome and the soil microbial diversity that once sustained this highly productive system have been almost completely eradicated by decades of agricultural practices.
We reconstructed the soil microbial diversity that once existed in this biome by analyzing relict prairie soils and found that the biogeographical patterns were largely driven by changes in the relative abundance of Verrucomicrobia, a poorly studied bacterial phylum that appears to dominate many prairie soils.
Shotgun metagenomic data suggested that these spatial patterns were associated with strong shifts in carbon dynamics. We show that metagenomic approaches can be used to reconstruct below-ground biogeochemical and diversity gradients in endangered ecosystems; such information could be used to improve restoration efforts, given that even small changes in below-ground microbial diversity can have important impacts on ecosystem processes…
(Phys.org) —A team of researchers from the U.S. and Germany has succeeded in filming ticks as they pierce the skin of a mouse ear, attach themselves and then start sucking blood. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the team describes how they filmed the ticks and what they learned in analyzing the video they created… (read more)
(Image: Dania Richter, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences)
ZOOLOGGER: Mollusc Grows Hardest Teeth in the World
Species: Chaetopleura apiculata Habitat: The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the north-west Atlantic
For more than 400 million years chitons – marauding marine molluscs – have roamed the seas, munching on algae-encrusted rocks with their glittering black, metallic teeth. Chitons roam courtesy of a single, broad muscular foot. They have a shell, made of eight plates, and some species live up to 20 years.
But it’s the teeth we’re interested in. The teeth are the chiton’s answer to Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton. But these are no fiction. They are the real thing, made out of magnetite, the hardest material made by a living organism.
Lyle Gordon, a bioengineer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has come a step closer in understanding just how the humble mollusc grows them…
…a species of ciliate protist that inhabits freshwater lakes and streams worldwide. They are usually found attached to algal filaments or detritus where they will sweep in food items with a ring of cilia. Like other members of Stentor this species is quite large and can reach lengths of several millimeters, which is amazing for a single-celled organism. When disturbed S.roeseli will contract into a ball and can regenerate itself if damaged.
These newly hatched arrow squid larvae (Doryteuthis plei) are each tinier than the head a pin. Free from their yolk sac, they will drift with the current out to sea as zooplankton. Many animals eat zooplankton, so few will survive to adulthood and to reproduce themselves. They may eventually grow to their adult size of around 20 to 30 cm.
And University of Cambridge researchers announced on Sept. 12 that nature has beat human ingenuity to the punch once again, in one of our most dearly held simple machines: the gear.
It turns out that at least one type of hopping insect (a planthopper), in the genus Issus, developed gears on their hind legs as a means of coupling them when they extend to jump. The planthopper’s gears, which are composed of a curved strip holding 10-12 teeth on each leg, exist only in an immature stage of the insect’s development…
Water bears (or tardigrades) are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. They require water to obtain oxygen by gas exchange. However, in dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of dessication, known as a tun, to survive. In this state, water bears can survive for up to a decade.
Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive high levels of radiation and the vacuum of space.
 Water Bear welcomes you.
 Water bear tun (Milnesium alpigenum - formerly Milnesium tardigradum). Color enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear in its dormant state, known as a tun.
Milnesium alpigenum is a carnivore that feeds on nematodes, rotifers and protozoa. This specimen originated from moss samples in Tubingen, Germany.
Also known as the cocoa thrips, the redbanded thrips is a species of thrips that is found worldwide. Like other thrips the larvae of this species are pests of many plants and will feed on cocoa and mango. The larvae will destroy the cells on which they feed and will cause distortion, injury to the leaves and fruit that they feed on. Redbanded thrips larvae will have the distinct red band and are very small. After a couple stages the larvae will mature into adults, which are black and have wings. The adults will insert their eggs into leaves and cover them with a drop of fluid. The larvae will emerge and begin feeding on the leaf.