#carnivorous plant pictures
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At long last, I'm nearing the completion of the final 2-pg spread of my picture book “Who is Out There?”. To recap, the book is a children's introduction to astrobiology and the theme of the final spread is how organisms on an earth-like planet can have unique anatomies. These are organisms shown in the spread with their official colors and I’ll give a rundown of each of them:
Clawmouth (top left): Possessing characteristics of plants and animals, the Clawmouth can photosynthesize but must occasionally prey on smaller animals to meet its nutrient requirements. It produces fruits to lure in small herbivores. Most of the fruits the Clawmouth allows to get eaten as it disperses its offspring. However, It will occasionally snatch a helpless victim that comes within range (detected with its four eyes) with one of its mouth tipped branches.
Rotovulture (top left smaller): A clever, opportunistic scavengers, the Rotovulture is unique not only in it’s method of flight, but in its asymmetrical body plan. Its head and neck retain the radial symmetry of its ancestors but each of its four limbs evolved to perform different tasks. It’s front limb ends in strong pincers to crush open seeds and bones. The left limb ends in an elongated claw used for probing narrow spaces and impaling small animals. The right limb has two grasping fingers for support and more delicate handling of objects. Lastly, the powerful hind limb is used to launch itself into the air where it unfolds it’s disc-like organ and rotates its body to maintain lift.
Grassland Hexapod (top right): Peaceful, elephant sized herbivores, the Grassland Hexapod actually shares a common ancestor with the Rotovulture. It is often followed by smaller herbivores as it shortens the grasses it feeds on thus allowing the small herbivores to graze. While it’s eyes are close to its mouth at the bottom center of its body, the Grassland Hexapod compensates for its lack of aerial vision with sonar it emits from slits around its upper body. These slits also emit loud sounds to deter threats or attract potential mates.
Fantail Sprinter (bottom right): Common, bipedal herbivores, Fantail Sprinters live in small herds and often follow Grassland Hexapods to gain access to shorten grass to have an alert system for approaching predators. They possess fan-like tails that sport colored patterns when flattened and agitated. They then use their tails to signal other heard members of potential threat levels. Able to run at speeds up to 55 mph, the Fantail Sprinters can use their tails to make quick turns just as cheetahs do on earth.
Multiwolf (bottom left): The apex predator of the grasslands, the multiwolf is able to run at great speeds thanks to its six pairs of limbs. Its teeth are designed to both trap prey in its powerful jaws and to cause lacerations in speedy prey, causing them to quickly die of blood loss. A solitary hunter, the Multiwolf normally preys of Fantail Sprinters but will target young Grassland Hexapods if the rare opportunity arises.
As always comments and critiques are welcome
Also, if you like my art, please consider supporting me on KoFi: https://ko-fi.com/aut2imagineart
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A single person asked for Jared pics and I’ll take literally any opportunity to gush about my plant babies so HERE HE IS my sweet boy
Pictured here on the day I bought him vs. tonight
When I got him originally his cluster was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and he got SO BIG in only a few months I’m so proud :’)
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pygmy sundews one week post-unboxing
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i felt like drawing some my plant boys next to one another because i needed to check if they looked like each other as much as i think they do. It’s pretty much was the case so i slightly changed bodytypes/shapes and colors.... Emphasis on ‘slightly’.
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not to be overdramatic but this picture from a forest service officer made me cry. this is a potential field site for my thesis.
look how beautiful it is.
look how many Sarracenia are thriving.
there’s some good in this world, mr. frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!!!
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Carnivorous plants at Kew Gardens
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Ventricosa x hamata, on arrival and today.
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Starting my TBR pile for Pride Month (June)! Some books have not arrived yet, but only like two. I'm so excited! I'm starting off with "The Dangerous Art of Blending in". If you have any recs let me know! I'm also happy to recommend books. (I am a librarian after all :p )
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I made a picture book prototype this year! It’s called A-Z of Killer Plants- I had a lot of fun playing around with/changing the techniques Eric Carle uses :0
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Twst x Pokémon Pt. 3
This is a part 3 of the last Pokémon post I did, this time with the vice dorm leaders. Sorry this is so late, I’ve been feeling under the weather recently 😓 But I’m starting to feel better now.
Request/idea received from this Anon
Babysitting their crush’s Pokémon while they’re away. However, that task has proven more difficult than expected.
Trey Clover ♣️
Trey was both delighted and nervous when you asked him to babysit Slurpuff. He had only hoped it wouldn’t be as troublesome as certain glutinous monster cat, although he had to admit he was curious. Slurpuff looked so soft and squishy! It couldn’t be that much of a handful could it?
Well needless to say, Slurpuff was actually very helpful in the kitchen. It’s unique sense of smell helped pick the best ingredients and it was more than happy to aid in assembling the treats for the Unbirthday Party, nudging Trey to taste the batter. It reminded Trey of his little siblings back home, how they’d always try and sneak a piece.
However, it all went downhill once the part started. One by one everyone’s cakes and cookies disappeared without a trace. Unaware of the pink Pokémon sneakily using Physic to float the wonderful pastries into its mouth. But it’s cover was blown when it tried to steal Riddle’s tart, and Trey had to step in before the poor little thing lost its head.
Ruggie Bucchi 🐾
Better hope Ruggie doesn’t eat your precious little bundle of wool, might be hard to hold himself back. Shi shi shi, he’s only kidding! He wouldn’t do that to you! Unfortunately, Wooloo seemed to take that very personally and rolled away! It hadn’t even been 5 minutes and Ruggie was already chasing it down!
Poor Wooloo; perhaps leaving it in a dorm full of hungry carnivores wasn’t the greatest idea. Because it zoomed all over the place, trying to flee from any large beastmen. Though I’m sure it looked hilarious seeing the vice dorm leader chasing after a living pillow. Ruggie eventually needed Jack’s help in catching the little guy, and it surprisingly took a liking to the first year!
Wooloo was all over Jack, hiding behind his legs and nuzzling into his bushy tail. Peering at Ruggie with big nervous eyes. He hadn’t planned for this, Ruggie wanted to show you just how responsible he was all on his own, that included caring for your pet. But it couldn’t be helped. Jack hadn’t planned to babysit, but it seemed he had no other choice.
Jade Leech 🐬
(I love Psyduck so much 🥰)
Now Psyduck here is a bit of a special case, so you were a bit hesitant to leave it with Jade. Now there was nothing to worry about, Jade makes sure your Psyduck is well taken care of, he’ll pamper it to perfection. He has claimed he enjoys serving others. Although it appears Psyduck is a rather sensitive creature. But that just makes things more interesting, plus it’s adorable to boot.
Constantly rubbing it’s head, it takes in its surroundings rather slowly. It barely realized you left the room and was just recently waddling around looking for you, poor dear. 😅 Well this shouldn’t be a problem; playtime with rubber duckies, drawing a bath, Jade makes sure Psyduck is in top shape until you get back! However, there was one mishap Jade wasn’t preparing for.
It takes special skill to escape Jade’s well trained eye, and Psyduck just happened to find that perfect moment. Before it knocked into Jade’s terrarium, spilling out all kinds of plants and muck onto the floor with a big bump on its head. It was an accident, but Psyduck couldn’t shake that sudden glare in the eel’s eye. Not even when Jade rubbed its bruised head affectionately.
Floyd Leech 🦈
Oh boy, Gible was not happy about you leaving. Especially leaving its care to a stranger like Floyd. It stomped around and grumbled like a fussy toddler, aggressive to anyone that came near it. While everyone was afraid of getting their hand chewed off, Floyd remained as careless and as brave as ever. So Shrimpy left this little sharkie to be his playmate? How fun!
Gible did not want to play with Floyd, it tried making that as clear as possible. Playing basketball? Deflated. Some squeaky toys? Shredded to pieces. Dancing? It chomped the radio to bits. A yummy platter? Scarfed it down, plate and all. Floyd was clearly losing his patience and started to shift into one of his outrageously random mood swings.
Talk about bad timing when you have an angry Gible pouting across the room. Floyd, now upset the Pokémon wasn’t accepting his friendship, made the mistake of trying to squeeze it. Gible bit him 😬. Chomped right down on his hand, but suprisingly Floyd was fine. It did take Azul and Jade awhile to pry it off, then to keep Floyd from biting back! Hopefully, you’ll return soon before the Lounge ends up in shambles.
Jamil Viper 🐍
Honestly Jamil thinks your Salandit is super cool. Sly and cunning with a streak of mystery, it reminds him of himself. (You smug snake 😑) It was almost the perfect pet for himself, a powerful on way that. Now I’m sure Jamil has some experience with animals, he is Kalim’s right hand man and a servant of the Asim family, the kid knows a thing or two about parades.
So it’s a cake walk babysitting Salandit, at least for the most part. Pokémon are unpredictable creatures and unknown to Twisted Wonderland, so Jamil’s in for a big surprise when Salandit starts dripping actual v e n o m. The red liquid oozes out of its mouth as it starts to burn small holes in the carpet. Of course panics because, that carpet is expensive! And why did you have such a creature in your possession!
He was not prepared for this. Apparently it was having a scuffle with Kalim’s magic carpet, the piece of matting simply wanted to play with Scarabia’s new guest, but the poisonous fire-type took it as a threat instead. Chasing each other around like wild dogs. Reacting quickly, Jamil put it outside using Snake Whisper before things escalated, but decided to give you a call.
Rook Hunt 🏹
You thought Jade was pampering, Rook is over the moon for this fairy type! What a wonderful creature, absolutely beautiful! Rook is completely captivated by the fairy-like creature, the pure pink essence of love in its true form!~ ✨ As he puts it anyways. 😅 Rook will smother Sylveon with attention!
He’ll groom it to perfection and flaunt it to the entire dorm, this of course draws some attention. No one has ever seen a creature quite like Sylveon, with its sweet voice and flowing ribbons. And you left Rook himself in charge to take care of it isn’t that wonderful! ~ ✨ This basically turned into one big photo shoot, with Rook at the center gushing over his new friend.
He even takes Sylveon out on a hunt stroll with him. Man cries when it wraps it’s ribbons around it’s wrist. Let’s just hope no rowdy students make fun of their little adventure, they’ll have a merciless arrow drawn back ready to face them. Rook won’t tolerate gossiping, no one is allowed to tarnish the beauty you and your partner share together.
Ortho Shroud 🤖
Ortho was more than happy to take care of Pikachu for you! He was the one that actually accepted in the first place. It was just so cute and round and soft and friendly, a perfect companion for our little Ortho! Plus, he was really excited to analyze it for his database. Although, in reality he took this opportunity to get Idia out of his shell and help him.
Humans and animals were already a well known subject Ortho knew plenty about, even a few beasts were a well known species. So a loveable Pokémon shouldn’t serve a problem. While Idia wasn’t all that excited about watching a living, breathing, messy pet (virtual pets were much easier) Ortho was not having it and saw this as a good experience.
Playtime was his favorite, Pikachu was just so fast and full of energy. Zipping back and forth with a Quick Attack to chase the bouncy ball, or using its tail to play catch. It was such a cheerful little sunshine, it even shocked Ortho a bit with its cheeks. Emitting little sparks of electricity, which felt really nice. They’re both just so cute together, Idia snuck a few pictures of them napping together.
Lilia Vanrouge 🍷
Another child for Lilia to adopt!! Oh how precious! Immediately Lilia’s fawning over your cute Noibat, however, you tell Lilia to be careful as this Pokémon is quite young. Of course Lilia heads your warning and bids you a graceful farewell, before rushing off with the cutie in his arms to flaunt to his whole dorm.
Almost immediately Lilia’s going to test his cooking skills; a growing boy like that needs to eat right? Well don’t worry, chef Lilia will whip up something nice, which of course has Noibat cheering for a hot meal. The trio of terrified fae and their drowsy human: they couldn’t have Lilia kill off something so precious, you’d be heartbroken!
However, perhaps they were a bit too slow in stopping Lilia, because thanks to his magic he had already whipped up a horrendous looking hole of soup. But what had everyone’s jaws dropping was that Noibat enjoyed it! It even cooed for seconds, nudging Lilia with the bowl. Of course Lilia was over the moon, he’ll have to ask to babysit more often.
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On a remote patch of land in the south-west of Ireland lies a precious fragment of a lost world [...]. Eleven years ago, [ED] [...] moved to [...] an old farm on County Cork's rugged coast. The farm, on the Beara Peninsula, included a strip of native woodland, something that is now incredibly rare in Ireland, as well as Europe. [ED] saw that 32-acre (13-hectare) patch of ancient trees as [...] [a] temperate rainforest – a type of mossy forest once far more common in Britain and Ireland, made possible in part thanks to moist island air. By pulling out heaps of non-native plants, including rhododendron, and erecting a fence to keep sheep and [non-native] deer from grazing the area, [ED] gave his forest a chance to flourish [...] explaining that there's been a noticeable increase in the presence of birds and insects, too.
The picture elsewhere is less than leafy. The Republic of Ireland has the lowest forest cover of any country in Europe. It wasn't always that way. Once, 80% of the land here was covered by native trees – the figure now just 1%. Farmland dominates, covering 72% of land in the Republic [...].
For an island so often referred to as "green", there's a striking lack of [forest]. [...] Many wonder to what extent Ireland's biodiversity can really be rescued through rewilding. Is it even possible [...] in the 21st Century?
[ED]'s Atlantic rainforest is full of native tree species including oak, birch, willow and hazel. [...]
Julian Friers is an artist living in the north of Ireland who has pictured what lost ecosystems looked like – literally. His paintings of extinct Irish animals show long-departed creatures in familiar places. Some are gone forever, such as the woolly mammoths who once plodded around what is now County Antrim in Northern Ireland. [...] Some of his paintings, however, depict potential candidates for reintroduction – including the lynx, which still exists in some parts of Europe, such as Spain. [...] But returning large carnivores to the wild in Ireland is a divisive idea. The Green Party in the Republic of Ireland has called for wolves to be reintroduced after 250 years of absence, though there are no official plans to do so yet. [...]
But there are other, less emotive species, that [F] thinks could be reintroduced. These include the corn bunting, a small light brown and rather plump-looking bird, and sturgeon, a large river-dwelling fish that has been extinct in Ireland since 1967.
However, as [NR] at Queen's University Belfast points out, it's not always clear what groundwork is needed to ensure reintroduction programmes will go to plan. In 2001, golden eagles were brought back to Ireland in County Donegal's Glenveagh National Park. Although the birds have sustained a population there ever since, their numbers have not grown as expected. [NR] says surveys [...] have found that there is not enough prey for the eagles in the area, such as hares and red grouse. That might be because the park is being over-grazed by deer and sheep [...]
He says that, on the road to species reintroductions, conservationists could start by following this example of preparing suitable habitats, encouraging fragmented patches of native forest, peatland and wetland around Ireland to expand.
The vast majority of the trees that do exist in Ireland today, explains [F], are actually in non-native commercial plots, such as dense pine tree plantations. "Which is mostly very low biodiversity," he says [...].
There are schemes afoot in this vein. Take the 11,000 hectare (42 sq mile) wilderness area in the Nephin Beg mountains of County Mayo. Here, 4,000 hectares (15 sq miles) of non-native pine are to be transformed into a patchwork of native trees and wetland.
Then, of course, there are the bogs.
Ireland is famous for its once plentiful peatlands [...]. But Ireland's pristine raised bogs have dwindled to just 1% of the area they used to cover. [...] Huge volumes of peat were extracted and burned as a means of generating heat or electricity. The use of peat as an energy resource will end in the Republic of Ireland by 2028 but large tracts of exploited peatland have been left barren, says [CO], who was chief executive of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council until December. In winter, these areas become muddy and treacherous, with little or no plant life. And in the summer, they dry out into great seas of dust. [...]
There are efforts to re-wet some peatlands and encourage the sphagnum moss that grows on them to flourish again. This would benefit a variety of insects and birds.
Images, captions, and text published by: Chris Baraniuk. “What would a truly wild Ireland look like?” Future Planet. 11 February 2021.
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I’ve been meaning to add a Grass-Type to my team for some time now. I went to an adoption fair recently and came home with the sweetest Carnivine, who I have named Venus. She loves hugs and snuggles. I’m pretty sure she’s some kind of variant, since she has a lot more roots? Vines? Whatever the tendrily things on her lower half are, she has about twice as many as she should from what I’ve seen in pictures of standard Carnivine. She’s also bigger than the default, and they said she’s still growing. I’m not too familiar with this species, so anything you could tell me would be welcome. I especially would appreciate it if you could tell me what bits are plant matter and what, if any, aren’t, so I know what to be careful of in training/battles. Anything unique to them would also be great.
So cute, do love Carnivine, they’re a good sturdy grass type!
The bottom growths are indeed vines, but from those vines they can grow their roots from small nodes, if they submerge them into the soil. Their preferences are quite specific, they thrive when they have a big bucket of soil, it needs to be very low in nutrients, and damp, rain water at all times. If they dry out they get MISERABLE, so just lots of moisture. Try not to use tap water as it’s full of stuff they do not like much at all, such as chalk and the likes. If you can catch rain water in a vat in the garden or on a balcony, and use that, it’s free, easy and often the best for this species. They are big fans of a lot of light, and need a very bright space to be at their peak.
The only part of this Pokemon that doesn’t grow back is it’s stem, the thick rounded centre part. They can even lose their entire head and regrow a new one! But this is a slow process, and you’ll have to help them to their pot to root in and they will go dormant until they can see again and safely move about.
They are notoriously carnivores, and will snack on the rogue bug type, or even small bird Pokemon, so letting them feed naturally will help their wellbeing. If they are well fed and healthy they will drain their prey of their life force and let the body go, not killing anything, but if they’re a little sick or more hungry than usual they’ll eat the whole thing, melting them down with strong acids within their mouths. This process takes an entire day, so don’t be surprised if they take a day here and there to sit around in the sun and do very little.
They despise the cold, never leave them out in the frost. Some grass types can handle it, but this one cannot. They need heat, and so a lot of trainers pair them up with a good natured fire type to balance out in colder months.
They have very kind natures, people take them as an aggressive species because of their behaviours, but they just show affection in different ways to typical Pokemon. Tight hugs with their vines, and gentle chewing with their toothy mouths are all ways they show love. Just make sure to wipe off the saliva and you’ll be just fine, takes a long time to take effect so there’s not a lot to worry about, they usually catch on fast with us squishy humans, and don’t hurt us if we express discomfort, and put boundaries in place. If you notice they don’t see you in discomfort when they use their mammoth strength on you, make a long ver high pitch squeal sound when you’re uncomfortable, hold the note for like 5-6 seconds, they’ll let go. This is how their young respond when experiencing pain, it’s a defence thing but if you do it they’ll figure out that they’re being too rough and ease off. Do explain to them what’s up, they’re not the brightest sparks but they do understand basic ideas and principals without too much issue.
Otherwise they’re great partners, loving Pokemon, and may give side shoots from the base of their stem (above the vines in that joining area) of young sprout Carnivine. These are basically just small heads, with tiny thin stem bodies at the start. When they get old enough, they drop off and root in, growing the rest of their form in the space of a summer. This will happen without a mate, and only if the Pokemon is mature and healthy. They do this once a year, but only produce 1-3 offspring. If you’re not keen on this, then it’d be wise to pinch the new baby buds out before they mature to have stems, as this is the sign that they are officially a living Pokemon, before this point they are simply a growth. This is an issue you’ll either love or loathe, so come back if this is something you want further information on later down the road.
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Tamaraneans are descended from felines, right? Because that's what the fever-dream of comics' continuity established at one point?
Cats can't live off of a plant-based diet. They're carnivores. They also shouldn't drink milk after they've been weaned.
Kory is lactose intolerant and HATES eating greens. She's descended from carnivores; she doesn't need to eat a salad. But she will to be polite.
Kory loves dairy products (cheese, ice cream, so much delicious food!) but are they really worth the consequences? And normal Lactaid doesn't work with her physiology.
Garfield (and, later, Damian) tries to coax her towards dairy alternatives. It doesn't taste the same so she only eats the alternatives when she doesn't have a choice and has something to do after.
Kory raising two Tamaranean/Human hybrids. Jake can handle dairy and is allergic to most vegetables. Mar'i is lactose intolerant and veggies are important for her to stay healthy.
Kory trying to coax one kid to NOT eat vegetables while also trying to convince the other that leafy greens are delicious.
Mar'i is not fooled by her mother. Probably because Kory's strained smile couldn't take back the three minutes of gagging it took for her to get the stuff down.
Eventually, Dick and her figure out how to hide veggies in Mari's meals while also keeping them out of Jake's food. But not before their kitchen has been almost destroyed by a temper tantrum throwing toddler with superpowers who does not want to eat broccoli.
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look how big this pitcher is
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Virginia Native Aquarium
So 9 months ago, I started up an aquarium to keep some of the fish, plants, and inverts I can find in my local area. Partly it was because I’ve always wanted a tank with North American Native Fish (NANF) but also because I didn’t know what was around here and wanted to learn more. It’s a very low-tech tank, but I thought you guys might want to hear about my experiences. If you do, click the read more!
The Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) have been the darlings of my tank. They are boisterous and a little territorial, but not really aggressive - though I have seen them nip at the Blacknose Daces that entered their turf. They are the first ones to greet me and beg for food and at 3 inches they are the largest fish in the tank. At a maximum size of 5-6 inches, they still have some ways to grow! I’d love to collect some more, but finding them has proven to be a bit of a challenge.
Most people who keep native fish have tried or at least encountered Gambusia (Mosquitofish) species. They are common and invasive, meaning you can find them just about anywhere. I have about 11 Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) currently - 9 females and 2 males. I was a little hesitant to try them because I hear the horror stories of aggressive mosquitofish, but in all honesty these guys have been pretty inoffensive. Is it because this G. holbrooki is less aggressive than the more well known G. affinis, because of the size of the tank (55 gallons), because of the sex ratio, or something else? I have no idea! But they are doing well for me.
I recently collected some Blacknose Daces (Rhinichthys atratulus) from a local stream - funny enough, the 2004 study I found in the area said that species wasn’t present there, but I managed to catch 7 around the 1 inch size. They didn’t take to captivity well and over the course of a week I got down to 1 specimen, who is still alive. Looking it up after, I read that adults are hardy but the young don’t take the transition to captivity well. With that in mind, my plan is to go back soon and capture a few of the adults and give it another shot.
I’ve found a few local species and added them to the tank - clockwise:
Heliosoma anceps. I’ve never actually tried Ramshorns before, but I’ve heard a lot of horror stories. These guys were to slow to reproduce but are in good numbers these days. They also get pretty hefty! My biggest gal is shown below.
Physa acuta. Pond Snails are some of my favorite snails - they stay small, are inoffensive, and are great little algae eaters and clean up crew. I add them to just about every freshwater tank I have, so of course they are here too!
Pleurocera virginica. These snails never really did great for me. They didn’t reproduce (that I could tell) and their numbers have been declining steadily from the 12 or so I started with to maybe 3 or 4 now. Inoffensive for sure, but not super exciting.
Bithynia tentaculata (not native!). I didn’t find out that these were an invasive species until after I collected them - I initially assumed they were some sort of Pond/Bladder or Apple Snail species. It took half a year or more for them to start reproducing and I’ve only recently seen young ones. Visually appealing with little yellow outlines and seem to be pretty harmless.
If I have a superstar plant, it’s the Inflated Bladderwort (Utricularia inflata). What started off as two smallish strands I picked up at a local lake has exploded into several feet of plants. If you look in the main picture, all the fuzzy, algae looking stuff is actually Bladderwort. A carnivorous plant, the bladders they use to trap prey can’t hurt anything bigger than Mosquitofish fry but they also take in nutrients through photosynthesis. They have done so well - I hate having to trim and throw it out!
Vallisneria has been weird for me. I collected specimens with long leaves, but they have almost exclusively decided to use energy putting out daughter plants rather than growing the main plant. Some of them have grown a dozen daughters 18 inches from the main plant. But they’ve all stayed small. I’ve also collected some Spikerush (Eleocharis spp) from the local pond. It’s doing well but staying small - I like the contrast with the thicker val leaves particularly.
I’ve collected various Pondweeds (Potamogeton spp) while keeping this tank, some native and some introduced. The only one that’s done well for me (sort of) is P. spirillus. Once it gets to the top of the tank, I give it a few days, cut it back, and re-plant the cut piece. Voila, two plants! One weird quirk - when I changed lighting from florescent to (cheapo) LEDs, they basically all died back. It wasn’t until I bought a Stingray fixture and set up CO2 that it decided to come back.
Yellow Floating Heart (Nymphoides peltata) grows in my local pond... an invasive species but hey I figured I’d give it a shot. It’s not doing very well at all - my experience is that it has a quick burst of growth to get to the top, stagnates, and then starts to die back. That makes sense; I really only see it near the shore of the lake and it avoids deeper water. The 55 and even an earlier attempt in a 10 gallon are too deep for it. It might be fun in the future for a shallow vivarium but it’s unimpressive here. Worth noting, I actually have some in a drainage ditch at my house too. Even in the dry seasons, it grows great there. Go figure.
This Potamogeton robbinsii is a total unknown for me. I never purposefully collected it, I can’t say I’ve even seen it locally. But two strands of it are growing in my tank. It’s not growing very well right now, not sure if the lighting is off or it doesn’t like the substrate, but it’s not dying. It’s just... there. I guess the fact it’s there at all is kinda neat but I don’t really recommend it.
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(February 11, 2021)
Ireland was once a wilderness of temperate rainforest and pristine bogs, where large carnivores and other beasts roamed. What would it take to restore Ireland to its wild state?
On a remote patch of land in the south-west of Ireland lies a precious fragment of a lost world – owned and managed by one man. Eleven years ago, Eoghan Daltun sold his house in Dublin and moved to his new home, an old farm on County Cork's rugged coast. The farm, on the Beara Peninsula, included a strip of native woodland, something that is now incredibly rare in Ireland, as well as Europe. Daltun saw that 32-acre (13-hectare) patch of ancient trees as his very own temperate rainforest – a type of mossy forest once far more common in Britain and Ireland, made possible in part thanks to moist island air.
By pulling out heaps of non-native plants, including rhododendron, and erecting a fence to keep sheep and deer from grazing the area, Daltun gave his forest a chance to flourish and expand. Life has, in fact, exploded.
In late spring, the forest becomes a sea of flowers. "It's just, it's really beautiful," Daltun says. He calls it an "ecological resurgence", explaining that there's been a noticeable increase in the presence of birds and insects, too.
The picture elsewhere is less than leafy. The Republic of Ireland has the lowest forest cover of any country in Europe. It wasn't always that way. Once, 80% of the land here was covered by native trees – the figure now just 1%. Farmland dominates, covering 72% of land in the Republic and 75% of land in Northern Ireland. For an island so often referred to as "green", there's a striking lack of wilderness.
Ireland's dearth of biodiversity has long been noted, and it is getting worse. A 2019 report found that 85% of Ireland's habitats had "unfavourable" conservation status, and nearly half of habitats were in decline.
One option to redress this loss is "rewilding" – the process of returning human-altered land to a more natural, ecologically-rich state. Rewilding could even act to counter climate change, through establishing ecosystems that lock in carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Across Ireland, rewilding projects, including Daltun's, are now springing up. But these schemes are sometimes controversial and can prompt heated debates – for example, when environmentalists suggest the reintroduction of large predators, like wolves. Many wonder to what extent Ireland's biodiversity can really be rescued through rewilding. Is it even possible to bring back a long-lost wilderness in the 21st Century?
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the end of being alone (3)
Ch 1 | Ch 2 |
warning: mentions of fear, crocodiles, discussion of teeth
Logan found himself grateful that he’d made arrangements to postpone their other jobs for a bit, because it looked as though they’d be staying firmly on this planet’s surface for a while.
There had been all of one attempt to bring Virgil aboard the Mindscape, and it had resulted in a significant amount of crying from both the child and Patton. Whatever circumstances had led the Human to this planet, it had left them deeply fearful of any sort of spacefaring vessel.
… This did not annul Logan’s suspicions about smuggling, though he was careful not to say as much in front of Virgil. The child was keen, and any time the fact that they were a Human was mentioned, they withdrew and began displaying body language that Logan believed indicated a desire to flee. Checking that exits were still there, putting space between themself and any of the Mindscape’s crew, anxious tics, and so forth.
Needless to say, they avoided the topic.
However, to Logan’s surprise, the child didn’t seem at all adverse to basic questions about themself. Understanding their responses was rare, of course, but the kid was picking up on Common with a shocking quickness, and Roman had turned out to be rather talented at interpreting their gestures when they didn’t have the right words.
The data that Logan had collected from these inquiries was both strange and intriguing. He’d carefully woven a mental list of it all.
1. Virgil seemed to identify by he/him, though whether that was an actual gender preference or simply a child wanting to be called the same pronouns as the three of them was up for debate. Either way, Logan seriously doubted that there was any way to convey the nebulous concept of gender through a language barrier, so he let the matter lie.
2. After eating too fast, Virgil would convulse slightly in a semi-rhythmic pattern for a short period. He didn’t seem alarmed or pained by this, only slightly irritated when it would interrupt him mid-sentence. The condition of ‘hiccups’ was thankfully temporary, since it made Roman quite jumpy. For their tiny, squeaking nature, Patton had called them ‘hicchirps’, which was ridiculous, but Virgil seemed to enjoy any and all wordplay that made it through his grasp of the language, so Logan stowed his complaints.
3. Virgil was terrified of the locals. Despite being plainly evident, this observation didn’t make sense at first, seeing as the nearby town consisted primarily of native Hiiynal and a few offplanet transfers, none of which could be described as particularly dangerous or violent. After a few days of gentle questioning and no reprimands for not answering, Virgil finally told them that the locals would ‘chase monsters far away’ and so he couldn’t risk getting near. Questioning was temporarily halted in favor of showing the Human the art of shadow symmetry, for purely scientific reasons, of course.
(Supposition: Human children enjoyed movement games.)
4. While the synthetic meat from the ration kits was accepted by Virgil, he showed a surprising preference for sweeter food items, such as fruit and sugar crystals. Seeing as Humans were rumored to be obligate carnivores or even raw flesh-eaters, this was a strange discrepancy. Virgil had even eaten some of the leafy vegetables Logan had brought, face pinched up in disgust but insisting that eating ‘greens’ would make one tall. It was unclear to Logan what color had to do with nutrients or growth. He was also slightly alarmed at the implication of Virgil being short for his age.
5. Virgil seemed, for all intents and purposes, fixated on Roman.
The latest data point was a work in progress. Logan hadn’t mentioned it to Roman himself, because the Cravon was already fairly worked up over everything the Human did as it was. Nobody seemed sure if this jumpiness was because of the Human child, or on behalf of it.
Still, it was present in little ways. For example, even as he answered Logan’s latest series of questions, his gaze would occasionally flicker up from his hands to Roman, who sat at the mouth of the little cave, carefully peeling more fruit. It wasn’t about the food; Patton had taken it upon himself to make sure the child knew he only had to ask to get something to eat. No, this ‘almost-staring’ was a frequent occurrence, no matter what Roman preoccupied himself with.
“You were saying you met… Susan… when another predator was attacking it?”
Virgil nodded, hurriedly looking back to his hands. “It was a big bite monster, and Susan was loud crying, so I did, uh,” he lifted his arms up, hands spread wide, “this, and I was loud at it until it ran away. Like raccoons back on Dirt.”
Dirt was apparently Virgil’s name for his home. Logan hadn’t heard of ‘raccoons’ before. He decided not to get sidetracked. “I’d estimate the creature you saw was a Lifel. They are the natural predators of Humlilts.”
“Natural?” Virgil mimicked.
“It means ‘of nature’,” Logan attempted to clarify, gesturing around them. “In the wild.”
Virgil only grew more confused with the wide, encompassing gesture. “Sky? Was not flying.”
Logan glanced at Roman, checking that he was still preoccupied. Patton was back at the ship, contacting a friend for advice. There seemed no better opportunity if he wanted to avoid overwhelming Virgil.
“Virgil, would you like to try something new?” he asked, carefully neutral. It wouldn’t do to put any pressure on the child.
The Human squinted at him slightly, quick to use his most common phrase. “Will it hurt?”
“It will not hurt,” Logan replied, ignoring the tightening in his core with careful practice. It always felt so wrong, that a mere pupa would be so familiar with hurt. “I will always tell you if something might hurt.”
“Mmm.” The Human hummed, the way he always did when they told him such things. Like he wasn’t sure if he could believe it. “What’s it?”
“What is it,” Logan corrected automatically. “It is something I can do, to show you new words. Want to try a little bit, first?” That was the phrase they used for new foods, but it applied well enough to mindsharing.
Virgil clenched and unclenched his hands for a moment longer before nodding, going a little tense like he expected something unpleasant. Logan held a hand out to him, waiting until he’d reached out in return to start sharing.
Small, simple flashes of images and sensations. Quiet forests, shallow oceans, clean air. Plants, bugs, animals, humanoids, living and dying and living again. Nature.
Virgil had pinched his eyes closed immediately at the start of the low-level telepathy, and Logan only had a moment to worry that maybe it had hurt him in some manner.
Then, there was a feeling of recognition. Without a moment to spare, Virgil had grasped the nature of the Vidi and was projecting his own thoughts. Walking on a crunchy leaf-covered trail with other Human young, a winged insect emerging from a cocoon, the crack of thunder and heavy rain on a windowsill. Nature.
“Wow!” Virgil whispered, imprint thoughts flickering like flames, too quick for Logan to really see. “You see into heads!”
Logan pulled back slightly, offering a bit of content-smug in return to the Human’s awe. “That is one way of framing it, yes. So, you understand what I mean, about the Lifel being a natural predator?”
“Carnivore,” Virgil mumbled, and then offered image-thoughts of several creatures that Logan could only assume were from the deathworlder’s home planet. He watched with morbid curiosity as Virgil remembered a clip from a screen, displaying large ungulates with twisting horns crossing a river, and then being dragged underwater by a dark, writhing shape.
“That’s a crocodile,” Virgil told him, his eyes still closed tight in concentration. “They’ve got big teeth and they do death rolls. They look like alligators, but I know they aren’t because gators live in Florida.”
“Florida?” Logan asked. He wondered if perhaps ‘gators’ were kept in captivity for species preservation. Or perhaps they were too dangerous left in the wild?
Virgil showed him a memory of a long, reptilian form with a narrow, tooth-filled jaw. It was wading steadily through a swimming pool, not paying any mind to Virgil, who was sitting with his legs dipped in the pool, watching in fascination. “I lived there!”
“Oh,” Logan managed, his ears going numb with fear at the idea of a child being so near a creature like that. “So it would seem.”
The Human patted him carefully, a gesture of comfort. “It’s okay. The bad guys didn’t take any gators or crocodiles from Dirt. Just people.”
Virgil’s words trailed off, a sense of melancholy overwhelming him. Rather than find out more about the Human’s past, Logan felt an unreasonably strong urge to stop that sadness. “Could you perhaps tell me more about these… ‘crocodiles’? You seem to be quite informed on them.”
“I had a book about them,” Virgil managed, slowly dragging his thoughts away from his abduction. “Did you know some crocodiles have a… a ‘biting force’ of five thousand pounds?”
He had lapsed into English, the sentence sounding well-recited, but Logan still got the general idea of what he meant, and a strong image of a picture book, covered in writing he couldn’t read but still understood. If Logan was right about the measurement conversions, the fact was terrifying.
“That’s very interesting,” he mused, because terrifying and interesting often went hand in hand. “Are there any other predators that can bite like that?”
Virgil scrunched his face up in thought. “Maybe sharks. Oh, but for sure a T. Rex!”
Logan saw a very concerning glimpse of a large fish with too many teeth before Virgil’s mind switched to a cartoon depiction of a larger creature with also too many teeth. He was beginning to see a trend in deathworlder species. “I… see.”
“They’re all dead, though,” Virgil told him sadly, projecting a memory of a huge display of bones. He then seemed to perk up, glancing over at Roman again. “Except for in space!”
Logan narrowly avoided laughing out loud, covering his throat before the vibrating chirps could get far. So, this was the truth behind the Human’s interest!
“Roman is not a ‘dinosaur’,” he clarified, once he felt composed enough to do so. “In fact, I believe he rarely even eats meat.”
Virgil squinted at him. “Are you sure? Maybe he’s a secret dinosaur.”
Logan wiggled his fingers thoughtfully. “I suppose we’ll just have to check.”
“Roman, would you come here for a moment?”
Roman looked up from his task, immediately suspicious. Logan sounded strangely amused, like he was on the brink of laughing at him. That was never a good sign.
Still, the Human was looking over at him with those wide, strange eyes, and he wasn’t about to run away. He got to his feet, leaving his pile of dana peels behind as he crossed the cave floor. “What is it, dear esteemed companion who would never take advantage of me?”
“I need you to show us your teeth,” Logan said, very much not being a dear esteemed companion who would never take advantage of him. Roman resisted the urge to hang his head in resignation. He should have expected this. The Ulgorii was shameless when it came to exploiting his friends for science.
“How about absolutely not?” he replied, because there were actually limits to his tolerance for shenanigans, and one of those limits was threat-displaying at a baby Human.
“Hold on, look,” Logan said, and then bared his own ridged teeth with a click.
The Human did his small grimace-smile back, entirely unphased. They both looked to him expectantly. Roman felt as though he was being ganged up on.
“Um,” Virgil said, painfully tentative, “please?”
Roman felt extremely ganged up on.
He squatted, tail keeping him perfectly balanced, and pulled at the corner of his mouth to show some of his teeth.
“Woah,” Virgil breathed.
“See how the back teeth are narrow but dull? They’re designed to crack bones and get to the marrow at the center,” Logan narrated, like the nerd he was. “Roman doesn’t have the small incisors or sharp molars required for proper full-time carnivores.”
Roman almost reminded his crewmate to use small words, but Virgil seemed to get the idea, leaning uncomfortably close to stare. He then opened his own mouth, like he was planning to take a bite out of something, displaying a shocking number of tiny little bone-teeth crammed inside. Some of them were uncomfortably sharp.
Rather than attack anyone, though, Virgil touched his own teeth, carefully inspecting the shape of them. Roman resisted the urge to get him to sanitize his hands. Kits would be kits, he supposed.
Logan was patiently watching as Virgil pointed to each tooth in turn, and he obligingly recited the name of each type of tooth for the kit. His two lower arms took frantic notes on Human jaw structure, probably to prepare more elaborate meal plans better suited to a deathworlder diet. The kid soaked every bit of information in like a sponge.
Finally, after a long moment of thought, he announced, “My ‘lower canine’ is going to fall out in close time!”
“Soon,” Logan offered, always quick to interpret the Human’s occasional nonsense Common. “'My lower canine is going to fall out soon.'” And then, after a moment’s pause. “Wait, it’s going to what?”
And then, because Roman’s day needed more nightmare fuel, the kit bared his tiny fangs at them and poked one with his tongue, revealing that it did indeed seem to be sickeningly loose. In fact, Roman could see a few other gaps in the curved row of teeth, some with little bits of bone peeking out.
“Stars above,” Roman said, feeling a little faint. Logan was already interrogating a very confused Virgil on whether or not losing teeth was indicative of an illness or not.
“They’re just my little teeth,” Virgil told them, seemingly unconcerned with holes in his mouth. “I get big ones later.”
“There are plenty of species that have milk teeth, but to have their adult set not fully-formed by the time the milk teeth are ready to fall out…,” Logan quickly devolved into muttering, hands flicking.
“Doesn’t that hurt?” Roman asked despite himself, eyeing the kit just in case he was going to burst into tears all of the sudden. Roman himself had lost one or two front teeth before his next set had fully formed, and each time it had felt like biting on hot metal.
“Nuh-uh.” Virgil seemed to have moved from confused to amused, still not entirely sure what the fuss was all about. “Not unless I,” he mimed pulling on the tooth, and Roman made a click-click-click of parental don’t-do-that chiding before he’d even fully registered the alarm he’d felt at the motion.
Virgil clicked back at him curiously, sounding exactly like a tiny version of an exasperated parent. Roman tucked his face against his shoulder, unsure if he should laugh or despair.
This Human was really going to be the death of him.
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# 1 - 7
A small selection of my house plants!
1. saracenia purpurea, pitcher plant. recently acquired at a plant show
2. I killed a baby house centipede and threw it into one of the pitchers and now it haunts me. It’s just sitting at the bottom of the plant digestive pool in this position, pale white with beady black eyes on a background of green fading into dark red. My middling skill could not capture the menace of its many spindly house centipede legs
3. I have no idea what this is. a gift. maybe an aloe? 6 month friend. The leaves are not fleshy, rigid and toothy. only about 3 inches tall. a few of the top leaves got knocked off when I moved and it has not been doing well since. Bottom leaves are beginning to shrivel and turn yellow but there was no root rot when I checked. a mystery
4. aloe vera chinensis variety? rescued offset from an old job building 1 yr ago. My largest houseplant. it is constantly cloning babies that I am giving away. Please take some. It recently started mysteriously discoloring
5. string of pearls. I influenced my sister to also get into succulents but she is really bad at remembering to water them ever. This was handed off to me in late September when she left for school. Actively dying. tragic.
6. astrophytum myriostigma. Has spent 1 year not doing anything, so optimistic that it is not actively dying. tiny and adorable, about 2 in tall
7. mystery plant 2, has acquired some new leaves in the year I have had it so maybe healthy? not sure. very thick leaves that have a grainy, stiff feel to them. oldest leaves are dark green, newest are pale pastel blue- green, intermediate leaves are rusty orange.
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