Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Circus of the Spineless #6

Welcome to the Circus of the Spineless. I hope you all forgot the beauty and elegance of the previous edition of the Circus by now, so you won't say "Yeew, this is, like, soooo con-ven-tio-nal!".

I was thinking of organizing the carnival according to Borges' Chinese Classification of Animals, but that did not work: "dogs" and "pigs" are explicitely forbidden here. How many Invertebrates are capable of breaking a vase? Not to mention that most invertebrates look like a fly from a distance anyway.

Then, I was thinking of making a similar type of classification myself, e.g., "pretty pictures", "blogs with yellow background", "bloggers with the middle name starting with T", but that did not work either: some categories were very full, and others quite empty.

In the end, I had to go with the conventional classification, which revealed a bias in itself. While we may complain about the propenderance of cat and dog pictures on blogs, why are there no posts about sponges, cnidarians and annelides, not to mention tardigrades, rotifers and chaetognaths? Ah, well, we go with what we have:

Butterflies and Moths

Let's start with Some tropical lepidoptera from Urban Dragon Hunters.

From Aydin Ă–rstan's Snail's Tales lots of kinky stuff: An upside down butterfly, What are these butterflies doing? and Sex on the grass.

Firefly Forest Blog took some great pictures of a Great Purple Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak Revealed and a Texan Crescent.

Photography Class - Butterflies and More butterflies (and a moth) from TBG from Tortoise Trail.

Pharyngula explains a recent paper on the Evolution of a polyphenism in moths.

Stridulations is an entomologist who adds more to the story in The amazing polyphenic Manduca.

What butterflies are these, asks Annotated Budak.

Follow the life cycle of a sulphur: Sulphur Chrysalis - "Artsy" Lighting, Sulphur Chrysalis, Sulphur Larva - Early Instar (otra vez), Sulphur Larva - Early Instar, Pigs (Two Different Ones), Gorged on the greeenery and Flower Afficionado on The Taming of the Band-Aid.

Social Insects

Matt Dowling of Ontogeny runs a series called Here's Your Moment of Friday Ant Zen. You can see some fancy ants there, including Temnothorax curvispinosus, Mexican Honeypot Ants, or Torture-rack ants.

Matt is not the only one. You can find Friday Ant Blogging on Henry's Webiocosm Blog, too: Ants, Pupae and Larvae.

City Bees keeps a couple of hives of honeybees on her rooftop in New York City. You can see the hives in Snow bees. Then, follow the daily adventures of a novice beekeper in Let's Not Split Quite Yet, Battling the Midwinter Mite Menace, Part 2, The Spaghetti Method and Dirty Bees.

Have you ever seen bee-swarms in a tree? Carola of Bee-si-ness saw some Swarms in January.

Bees Being 'Trained' as Odor Detectors from Apitherapy News.

From the Firefly Forest Blog some more: The Assassinated Honeybee and a Sweat Bee.

Other Insects

Chaotic Utopia is in a Kafkaesque mood this week. Ecdosteroids and Juvenile Hormone are in just the right alignment for the onset of Metamorphosis.

From Rigor Vitae, an illustrated discussion of the Orthoptera's importance to humans, as competitor and food: If You Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em! and an unfairly whimsical look at Megarhysa, the queen of North American insects: Giant Ichneumon Wasps.

Carl Zimmer of The Loom wrote about the wasp that parasitizes cockroaches in The Wisdom of Parasites.

I added some more information in Revenge of the Zombifying Wasp and Carl had an update: Answers to your parasite questions.

A chorus for raucous souls also comments.

Michael Brown of Macro Art In Nature is a professional nature photographer (do not copy or download his pics - they are copyrighted!). Check out these beauties: Nature's Dragons, And Understanding Them, The Fly, Swallowtail Butterfly and A Final Moment In The Spotlight - Lacewing.

From Naturally Connected some pictures: Giant Stickbug and Mantid Territory.

From Concrete to Cottages a Dragonfly At Rest.

From Invasive Species Blog, Jennifer sends a gypsy moth and an ant.

Ben Cruachan shows us a Tachinid fly.

This is old, but I don't think it was in an older edition of the Circus: At home with the dragon.

Bug's Eyes caught a tiger beetle, then wrote some more about it.

ScienceBase explains Cannibal Mormon Crickets.


Chris Clarke has moved Creek Running North to a new URL (so change your links accordingly). This month's entry, The cursorial life, is really worth reading, as long as you are not afraid of spiders.

Annotated Budak, is a blogging duck who went to see a talk - all about spiders.

Spiderblog ran away from scary and dangerous assassin spiders to find a comfy new home under the new name of Points Of Departure, where he observes a spider in action: The Leaf Curler.

The Saga of a Spider in the Bathroom in two Acts: Act I and Act II.

Along Came A Spider and it's a Dockside.

Burning Silo is a wonderful new nature blog. Here are some Watchful Spiders and Assassin Spiders.

Ben Cruachan again, this time with a Wife Frightener.

Firefly Forest Blog again: some Mealybugs and a Cricket.

Julie of Stridulations lists some of her favourite bug-related websites.

Other Arthropods

Nuthatch of Bootstrap Analysis finds many legs in Footloose.

Journal of the Plague Year has nothing but post after post of beautiful photographs of insects and other arthropods.

Nemesiario is a blog in Spanish. I think that Parasitos refers to mites parasitising bees.

Also from Burning Silo, you can see Narceus Millipedes and a variety of Snow Creatures.

The importance of Krill Feces, from Deep-Sea News.

Firefly Forest Blog has found a Winged Aphid.


What is the meaning of snails? The other ultimate question asked by Snail's Tales. The answer? Just look at these beauties: An alien in Florida: Subulina octona, A twisted snail, Gallandina annularis and Land snails of Turkey: Discus rotundatus

There cannot be a Circus of the Spineless without the grogeous Nudibranchs of Bouphonia. Check out Flabellina expotata, Kentodoris rubescens, Discordoris boholensis and Plocamopherus tilesii.

As most of you know, PZ Myers of Pharyngula is the prime source of cephalopod blogging. First, there is a whole Friday Cephalopod Series: Moroteuthis robusta, Argonauta nodosa, Sepioteuthis sepiodea in flagrante and Iridoteuthis iris. But there is more, as in cuttlefish mating strategies: Sensitivity, charm and cleverness: very sexy. PZ has also been moving some old cephalopod sex posts to the new blog: The cephalopod sex series, most of which have predate the Circus of the Spineless.

If you have not seen this dramatic movie clip before, go to Lancelet to see the Giant Octopus catching and eating a decent-sized shark.

Deep-Sea News reports on the invasion of Humboldt Squid.

There are two blogs titled Squidblog. One is COM, the other is NET. From the Squidblog.com a look into the role squid are playing in William Gibson's new work. From the Squidblog.net comes Squids may help determine global warming impact: scientist.

Other Invertebrates

Snail's Tales messes up my classification by combining an arthropod and an "other invertebrate": a water scorpion and a peanut worm.

Ragesoss 2.02 is doing us a great favour by scanning in and making freely available the gorgeous Haeckel's illustrations.

How Vertebrates evolved out of Invertebrates is far from clear. A new study suggests a big reorganization of our understanding of the family relationships between vertebrates, tunicates, lancelets and echinoderms. Carl Zimmer of The Loom explains in The Dawn of Brains and Bones.

Since that study involves lancelets, it is expected that Lancelet would pick it up, and he does: Old icons will die hard.

And Evolgen adds his own take in Long Branch Attraction and the Branching Order of Deuterostomes.

The force that through... is enchanted by organisms that live in extreme environments, including the Xtreme Worms.

Matt Downling of Ontogeny explores toxins in Marine Flatworm + Puffer Fish Toxin = Deadly Invertebrate.

Both Matt and Carl comment on the Evolution of Leeches.

Apostropher observes penis-fencing in Moral degeneracy in flatworms (and here is the movie).

A duck went to a museum and saw a lot of different invertebrates.

Fragments From Floyd ponders Parasites.

Bouphonia brings in some less-represented phila in the wall charts of Karl Georg Friedrich Rudolf Leuckart.

In this post by Deep-Sea News, you need to skip the Vertebrates in the beginning before you get to some Guinness record-holding Invertebrates.

Other Organisms

Premenopaws is taking biology and just went over a cool lab with a bunch of wonderful creatures.

Pim van Meurs on Panda's Thumb wrote about humans. I know - these are Vertebrates, not really elligible for this carnival, but those are very Spineless-friendly humans: Entomologists unite behind evolutionary theory.

I Got Bugs got bugs of a different kind.

And that's all for this month.

Next month, let's get together again on March 31st. Look at the homepage for detailed information as it comes in.

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