Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Link List: Clever Crows, Parasitic Wasps, and Other Such Delights

Take a look at these beautiful photos by Annie Marie Musselman during her six years at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center: "Wild-Animal Photos Capture Calm in Crisis", published in Wired. If you're interested, there are more photos and some more of her story on her kickstarter page, where she is working to raise money to publish Finding Trust as a book of photos.

I'm particularly impressed by the second photo in the image; the juxtaposition of eagle and meditating volunteer is stunning.

2) More artistic news; Artist Michael Anthony Simon uses spiderwebs to make sculptures, from Io9. There are a few additional webs here, on Beautiful Decay. Supposedly, he has a website somewhere, but I can't find it. If you do, let me know!

3) I've seen this BBC snippet before, but it's still pretty amazing: Wild crows in Japan use cars as nutcrackers. Some of them even know how to wait for the light to change. Crows in other parts of the world have used the same technique and other variants, so it's not a one-time deal. This PBS documentary, A Murder of Crows talks about it somewhere, but I don't remember the time stamp. Of course, I think the whole program is worth watching anyway.

4) And on a revolting, but fascinating, note, here's a Nature article on a Wasp Larva that Disinfects Its Roach Host. That's right. The emerald cockroach wasp (Ampulex compressa),a parasitic wasp, exudes disinfectant while it munches its unwilling host. There's even a video on the site because the scientist who decided to study this, Gudrun Herzner of the University of Regensburg in Germany, installed a plastic window in the paralyzed cockroach so she could view the proceedings.

5) On a more peaceful note, here's a New York Times article about The Immortal Jellyfish, the scientist who studies them, and he town where he lives. The Turritopsis dohrnii doesn't die when it gets old; instead, it becomes a polyp and grows up all over again. At the moment, the only person actively raising the jellyfish (which need a lot of attention if they aren't going to die ordinary, starvation or filth-induced deaths) is Shin Kubota, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The jellyfish is interesting in itself, but so is the article, which was just plain fun to read.


  1. Wow, that was some amazing reading. Thanks for sharing those links. I especially liked reading about the immortal jellyfish- fascinating and amusing (the end of the article) as well.

  2. Glad you enjoyed them!

    There's so much to see and learn!