A group of scientists biked around Costa Rica's tropical forests, hanging chunks of raw chicken from the trees, in April 2019. They were trying to catch a rare insect: carrion-eating bees.
Slowly, over the next five days, large bees with long, dangling legs flocked to the bait. They crawled over the folds of raw chicken, using special teeth to slice off bits of meat. They gathered the flesh in little baskets on their hind legs, where other bees collect pollen, or swallowed the meat to store in their stomachs.
The bees were preparing to carry the chicken back to their hives, where they would enclose the meat chunks in pods, leave them there for two weeks, then feed them to their babies. Scientists aren't sure what happens inside the pods during those two weeks, or how it affects the meat. The adults don't need to eat protein. They survive on nectar.
The bees with leg baskets still collect pollen for their babies, too. But three species – out of more than 20,000 known bee species – feed their larvae an entirely carrion-based diet. They're called "vulture bees."
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weird space facts to bring up this holiday season
it's officially the holiday season so enjoy these facts that i personally will be bringing up at the family dinner table!!
☆ humans can survive 90 seconds in space unprotected, but a chimpanzee can survive up to 3 minutes unprotected.
☆ stars don't twinkle until their light passes through earth's atmosphere
☆ you can fit all the planets in the solar system in the space between the earth and the moon
☆ space is completely silent (no one will hear you scream)
☆ if you turn your television to an "in-between" channel (basically the channels with a bunch of black and white static), well a part of the static you see is the afterglow of the big bang. your television is actually interpreting and catching onto microwaves from the big bang!
☆ our own galaxy, the milky way, cannibalized a small dwarf galaxy approx. 10 million years ago (hungry galaxy)
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Passed my bio exam, bought cookie-scented candle as reward, and realised I need to start studying for chem, so here we are…
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Modeling a sundew right now, and when I model an arthropod I make sure to get all the right names for their anatomy when I make the skeleton. So, I figured I'd do the same for the sundew--just what is the proper name for the bristles and the dew on top, anyway?
So I looked into the scientific literature and--I shit you not--the proper terminology is "tentacles" and "sticky secretions."
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tea & biology 🌱♥️
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Animal of the Day!
Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
(Photo by Lori Williams)
Conservation Status- Near Threatened
Habitat- Eastern and Central United States
Size (Weight/Length)- 2.3 kg; 50 cm
Diet- Insects; Worms; Fish; Snails; Tadpoles; Other hellbenders
Cool Facts- The largest species of salamander in North America, the eastern hellbender is a walking dinosaur. Despite their name, hellbenders lack claws, have tiny teeth that they rarely use, and are overall shy towards humans. They prefer quiet streams and rivers with flat rocks that they can hide under. Once it finds a suitable habitat, it often spends the rest of its life living there. On the rare occasion, a male and female will have overlapping territory. The male digs a nest in a calm area of the river. The female will lay eggs in the nest and the male will fertilize them, being one of the only salamanders that have external fertilization.
Rating- 11/10 (More like hellraiser.)
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This foliose lichen forms rosettes of lobes with upturned, edges and rounded tips. The upper surface is gray-green or green-gray in coloration (just go with it) or brownish, and is spotted with white pseudocyphellae and soralia. Lobe margins, particularly those of the inner lobes, are often covered in granular soredia. The underside is white to brown in coloration, darkening toward the center, with simple, dark rhizines. P. jeckeri grows on the bark of deciduous trees in open areas, and has been recorded in Europe and North America, but considering it was only recently delineated as its own species, it might be more widespread than that.
images: source | source | source
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Atomic structure of a prokaryotic archaeal cell surface
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Fun Fact Friday: Kiwis have Big Eggs
I hope you’re ready for some Bird Stuff because I am here to tell you about these funky birds!
Kiwis. if you’re not familiar, they’re flightless birds from New Zealand. They look like this:
I love them. They’re so funny. Look at those whiskers! I could write a BOOK of fun facts about these guys, but I’ll settle for just a few of them (for now). more under the cut B)
So, to start off: kiwi eggs are HUGE. And by huge, i mean that they can weigh as much as a quarter of the female’s body mass.
This is INSANE. For a horrifying example that was given to me, that’s basically the same as a human giving birth to a baby that is the size of a Four Year Old Child. Here’s an uncomfortable picture of what that looks like:
Why do they do this? Unclear, but the TRADITIONAL hypothesis is that it may be a hold-over from an evolutionary past in which the ancestors of kiwis were bigger. The kiwi’s closest known relatives were moa, which are extinct now but were approximately the size of an ostrich (and likely had the same violence in their hearts, which I am basing on literally just my own personal opinion), so it wouldn’t be surprising if the kiwi evolved from a huge ancestor. Since kiwis stick close to the ground, being flightless and all, the big, heavy egg wasn’t enough of a problem to get rid of. They could deal with it, so they just... kept it.
Evolution: it’s not about “being best”, it’s about “being good enough”!
There’s now some evidence questioning the leftover-from-giants hypothesis (audubon has a GREAT article about it), so it might be that the huge egg evolved for a different reason, but we’re still not sure yet! Yay! Science in action <3
Also, because of these objectively huge eggs, kiwis don’t lay many eggs in their lifetime compared to some other birds. Unfortunately, there is an issue with kiwi eggs in which they can get a bacterial infection, which makes them non-viable. In some places, this can happen to up to 50% of eggs. From the outside, however, the eggs look exactly the same, so the female will continue to sit on the egg, even though it will never hatch. This is what scientists call “very sad :(”
Conservationists and scientists have systems to try and minimise this damage, however, with many of them using a highly advanced piece of equipment: a bright flashlight!
If you shine a bright flashlight through the egg, you can actually see the bacterial infection! (I was told you can see it in the above photo as brown smudges, but idk which smudges are infection and which smudges are Healthy Bird or dirt, which is why it’s important to leave it to the experts). The conservationists check the eggs in monitored burrows and remove any non-viable eggs, and as a result, the females will re-mate and lay a new egg much sooner than they would if they kept sitting on the non-viable egg! For a relatively slow-reproducing species like the kiwi, this can make a BIG difference in their population numbers! Conservationists, my beloved <3
ALSO, because this 100% absolutely blew my MIND when I learned it: kiwis are bigger than you think! A lot of people picture them as being about the same size as a kiwi fruit (which is honestly a sort of adorable example of how humans connect ideas via language but ANYWAYS), but they’re actually Big Birdos. (There’s some variation but basically they’re around the size of a medium pumpkin.)
Which is, admittedly, small for a ratite (emus, ostriches, rheas...). But they’re big compared to 99% of birds I encounter sooooooo
Enjoy this picture of a kiwi, its murder claws safely restrained and its heart probably full of anger at being held in such an undignified manner!
This has been Fun Fact Friday!!!
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An international research team have discovered a specific type of gut bacteria in bees that can improve memory.
The study, led by scientists from Jiangnan University, China in collaboration with researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Oulu, Finland, have shown that a species of gut bacteria, known as Lactobacillus apis, is linked to enhanced memory in bumblebees.
The researchers show that bumblebees with more of this type of bacteria in their guts have a better memory than individuals with fewer bacteria. Bumblebees that ate food containing more of this species of gut bacteria were also found to have more long-lasting memories than individuals with normal diets.
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I could remember that…
Improve your focus, memory and brain activity with this free app:
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the feminine urge to win a nobel prize for physics and make all the men jealous
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If the seahorse wasn't strange enough, one of its strangest features is that it has no stomach. Therefore, it needs to graze constantly, as food moves through their minimal digestive system quickly. They need to eat around 3000 small copepods per day to satiate their energy requirements.
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Since finals are coming up I figured I would show you some of my tips! I'm really not ready but maybe it won't be so bad.
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Every year around this time, I have pie on the brain. And when I think about pie, I think about Ochrolechia lichens. This particular member of the genus has a wrinkled and warty white-gray crustose thallus spotted with granular soredia. It has lecanorine apothecia, meaning that the rim of the apothecia is derived from the thallus. In this case, that means the rim is often wrinkled and sorediate. The apothecial discs are slightly concave or flat, and are a gorgeous rosy orange-brown, and dusted with glittered pruina. Very festive! O. alboflavescens grows on the bark of conifers in boreal-montane regions of Europe and North America.
images: source | source | source
info: source | source
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in loving memory of trixie, my pet nudibranch. trixie was a Vayssierea felis nudibranch/sea slug/sea bunny who was ~.5cm long. here's a tiktok i made about her with video footage of her!
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i uh. really hate to break this to you, as it breaks your omegaverse worldbuilding. but egg/egg and sperm/sperm combinations can both reproduce sexually. the gametes can still fuse and create an embryo. having some chemical that reacts to itself to stop the body from self-implant is a good idea though
Anon is referencing this post.
My assumption was that if this were possible in mammals, people whose families are prone to fraternal twins would be having immaculate births all the time.
I poked some bio friends about this and @ii-thiscat-ii said:
Well. Theoretically possible but I’ve never heard of it happening in nature for ancient evolutionary reasons
Genetically there’s no issue but mechanically… eeeh
Two sperm cells don’t have enough cell stuff to create a viable embryo and two egg cells will just sit there and not move
Then @gelpenss jumped in with:
A lot of sperm cells are really wonky aren’t they?
Honestly even SKIPPING that like, you’d expect a lot… not necessarily immaculate births. But like, were it viable in mammals you’d theoretically see females give birth to offspring that aren’t related to her at all and are only related to her sexual partner just due to… statistics? Volume?
Like, if sperm could fertilize themselves, theoretically you could have incidental viable embryos produced in any coupling and an environment able to gestate. But we don’t.
Yeah like, two egg cells fusing is something I can see a mad scientist working out at some point. Two sperm cells is like if you have a truck with engine parts heading for a factory but instead it just finds another truck. You might have all the part s but you won’t be building any engines.
The egg/sperm divide is ancient and exists for a reason.
Relevant source: https://davidson.weizmann.ac.il/en/online/askexpert/who-needs-dads?amp
So like. In theory anon has a point but functionally it's really easy to justify not happening.
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