15 amazing things in nature you won’t believe actually exist
I am gonna make it my personal mission to see these places some day.
ivE seen those rainbow eucalyptus trees ive hugged them
How Many Eyes Does a Caterpillar Have?
Caterpillars have six pairs of simple eyes (ocelli). Ocelli (also called stemmata) are small, simple eyes that can detect changes in light intensity, but cannot form an image so you will see caterpillars swaying their heads from side-to-side to differentiate objects before them. These eyes are usually located in two clusters of six eyes on the sides of a larva’s head. Occasionally, one of these may be offset from the rest as in the case of this large Lasiocampid moth caterpillar - five ocelli form a semicircle (top image) while the sixth is located beneath this cluster next to the antennae (visible in the bottom image).
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese caterpillars on my Flickr site HERE…..
In the ocean’s biggest coordinated orgy, corals release millions of eggs and sperm simultaneously in response to environmental cues. Such cues can involve temperature change, lunar cycle, day length, and possibly chemical signalling. Mass spawning ensures maximum survival rates as there are not simply enough predators to eat all the eggs.
Patenting Complementary DNA [cDNA]
Scientopia - Jun 13 2013
Written by AmasianV, under Issues in Science
(Should I start patenting the cDNAs I’ve made in the lab?)
In a unanimous decision, the [United States Supreme Court] struck down patents for genes by ruling against Myriad Genetics in Association for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics. The Court, however, did leave some wiggle room for companies to patent cDNAs, or complementary DNA.
“In Myriad, the high court held cDNA is patentable, because it involves actual work in the laboratory and inverts the normal process found in nature. The synthetic DNA is an edited version of a gene, stripped of non-coding regions that the court said makes it “not naturally occurring.” Critics say even the edited sequences are directly analogous to naturally occurring DNA.”
In many labs, cDNAs are routinely made, manipulated, and used for research.
[WHAT IS cDNA?]
cDNA is DNA that is engineered in reverse using messenger RNA (mRNA) as the template. As the above quote alludes, a cDNA is not a carbon copy of its corresponding gene. Interspersed along the length of a gene are regions of non-coding DNA sequence. These are segments of DNA that aren’t represented in the sequence of the encoded protein.
When a gene is initially transcribed into mRNA some of these non-coding regions, called introns, are included. Introns, however, are ultimately removed by the cell before the mRNA is translated into protein. Since mRNA is used to make cDNA, the introns are excluded from the cDNA sequence.
10 insects that look like they belong in an alien world. [Click images to enlarge & for descriptions.]
10. Puss Moth Caterpillar
With their soft bodies and high protein content, caterpillars are usually incredibly vulnerable. To fend off predators, they often resort to scare tactics. Sometimes it’s in the form of bright, flashy colors; sometimes it’s in the form of mimicry—looking or acting like another, more dangerous insect. The Puss Moth caterpillar opts for mimicry, forming a bizarre looking “face” that resembles a vertebrate face scary enough to send most curious predators the other way.
The caterpillars are bright green and will often have a row of white spots on either side of their body. On the head is a pair of black “eye spots”—directly above a gaping “mouth” through which the true head of the caterpillar protrudes. The effect is startling, but it’s even creepier in action: if the caterpillar is touched anywhere on its body, it will instantly turn its “face” directly towards the attacker. Touch it somewhere else, and the head follows you, like a Mona Lisa from hell.
And if that doesn’t work, it can always spray out a mist of formic acid from the two horns on its back.
9. Devil’s Flower Mantis Idolomantis Diabolica
One of the largest types of praying mantis, the Devil’s Flower Mantis is also one of the strangest. And that’s saying a lot when you’re talking about praying mantids. Females of the species can measure up to 5 inches (13 cm) long, and have developed a range of natural coloring that allows them to mimic the Devil’s Flower, a type of orchid.
Mantids are predators, and their hunting style usually involves sitting motionless until their prey comes within reach, and then whipping their forearms out at lightning speed to snag flies, beetles, even, in some cases, birds. The Devil’s Flower Mantis uses color patterns that mimic a flower to actually lure its prey within reach.
8. Brazilian Treehopper
The image shown here is a model created by Alfred Keller, a German sculptor, in the 1950′s. But don’t let the fact that it’s a model fool you—the Brazilian Treehopper is definitely a real insect, and it’s barely even the strangest looking member of the treehopper family.
Similar to cicadas, treehopper insects are sort of like the Addams family of the insect world. Many of them sport some sort of odd structure on their backs, and we’re still not sure what the point of most of them are. In the case of the Brazilian Treehopper, the ball-like appendages are hollow chitin, and may be for the sole purpose of making it harder to eat.
7. Extatosoma Tiaratum
Anybody who’s ever seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom should instantly recognize this monstrosity, commonly referred to as the Giant Prickly Stick Insect. As the largest known stick insect, the extatosoma tiaratum can reach lengths of 8 inches (20 cm) and is usually covered with large thorny spikes, which double as both camouflage and defensive armor.
Most of the time this insect attempts to blend in with its surroundings, but if it feels threatened it will rear up on its hind legs and spread out its front legs, like a scorpion. Interestingly enough, it also releases a chemical that is meant to scare away predators. To humans, it smells like peanut butter.
6. Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar
The Pipevine Swallowtail is a beautiful fluorescent blue butterfly that’s commonly found in North and Central America. Its larvae, on the other hand, is an armored congealed-blood-red caterpillar with tinted visor shades for eyes and a quadruple row of blunt horns running across its body.
The caterpillars live in groups while they are young, but over time they will wander off on their own before entering the chrysalis stage. They also change color as they grow, shifting from red to black, while their horns take on a bright orange hue. The bright colors are a warning—Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars feed primarily on the Pipevine, a poisonous plant, and retain the toxins from the leaves in their own bodies.
5. Atlas Moth
Most of the time, it’s the caterpillar of a moth species that looks the strangest, while the moth itself is drab and uninteresting. Apparently, the Atlas moth didn’t get the memo. With a 10 inch (25 cm) wingspan, Atlas moths are believed to be the largest moth species on the planet. They also have a very unique trait—the front tips of their wings almost perfectly resemble a snake head poised to strike.
Nicknamed the Cobra moth for obvious reasons, Atlas moths are found in Southeast Asia, where they’re farmed for their silk.
4. Tailed Emperor Butterfly Caterpillar
Take a trip to the east coast of Australia around March or April and you might run into one of these strange creatures. The caterpillar of the Tailed Emperor butterfly looks pretty normal—from the neck down. Its head, though, definitely secures it a spot on this list.
From a broad, armor-plated forehead extend four bizarre horns that would be more at home on a dinosaur than anything from this millenium. The butterflies lay their eggs in groups, usually on Illawarra Flame trees, and the alien caterpillars emerge sometime around late March.
3. Spiny Flower Mantis - Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi
Another incredible looking mantis, the Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi) is, again, a flower mantis, pulling its bizarre ornamentation from the appearance of a flower. This mantis is very small, measuring only 1.5 inches (38 mm) and is found in select locations in Southern Africa.
And like most mantids, the Spiny Flower Mantis is a voracious cannibal, and the older they get the more likely they will be to eat other mantids that come across their path. Another interesting fact is that the female’s egg sac can be nearly three time larger than its own body.
While this insect looks like the result of some bizarre genetic experiment that spliced a scorprion stinger onto a wasp, that “stinger” is actually something much more innocuous: the fly’s genitals.
Nevertheless, it makes for a bizarre looking creature. Scorpionflies, or mecoptera, can be found all over the world, and have been around since the Mesozoic age. In fact, they’re believed to have been the forerunners of most of our modern moths and butterflies, collectively grouped in the Lepidoptera order.
1. Calleta Silkmoth Caterpillar
If Jackson Pollock and God had a design meeting, they would probably come up with something similar to the Eupackardia calleta larva, also known as the Calleta silkmoth caterpillar. With a massive color range and dangerous looking barbs, the Calleta silkmoth caterpillar is something most predators stay away from.
The moth is found in the Southern US, and the color pattern of the caterpillar changes based on age and environmental factors. It feeds mostly on the Mexican jumping bean, a plant found throughout Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.
Light-carved ‘nano-volcanoes’ hold promise for drug delivery
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a method for creating “nano-volcanoes” by shining various colors of light through a nanoscale “crystal ball” made of a synthetic polymer. These nano-volcanoes can store precise amounts of other materials and hold promise for new drug-delivery technologies.
More at e!Science News
The Best Birth Control In The World Is For Men by Jon Clinkenbeard
If I were going to describe the perfect contraceptive, it would go something like this: no babies, no latex, no daily pill to remember, no hormones to interfere with mood or sex drive, no negative health effects whatsoever, and 100 percent effectiveness. The funny thing is, something like that currently exists.
The procedure called RISUG in India (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) takes about 15 minutes with a doctor, is effective after about three days, and lasts for 10 or more years…
Oh, and when you do decide you want those babies, it only takes one other injection of water and baking soda to flush out the gel, and within two to three months, you’ve got all your healthy sperm again.
The trouble is, most people don’t even know this exists. And if men only need one super-cheap shot every 10 years or more, that’s not something that gets big pharmaceutical companies all fired up, because they’ll make zero money on it (even if it might have the side benefit of, you know, destroying HIV).
What’s the Oldest Tree in the World?
Wulfenite and Mimetite - Mexico
Metallic Wood Boring Beetle
This stunning beetle is a Golden Buprestid (Buprestis aurulenta, or sometimes Cypriacis aurulenta), a member of the family Buprestidae, the Metallic Woodboring Beetles - the group responsible for those scribbled grooves under the bark of your firewood. Despite the group’s name, not all are as metallic in appearance as this species.
Golden Buprestids are mostly western in distribution, and are evergreen specialists - their larvae mine the wood of dead or dying pines, Douglas-firs and Western Redcedars. From the egg being laid to the adult emerging, their life cycle takes about four years, though if their host tree is harvested or salvaged during this time it’s possible for adults to emerge from the processed wood years or even decades later (some records of 50 or 60 years!). Fortunately, the beetles are never numerous enough to become a pest species, and the damage they do is largely cosmetic.
Photo by Lynette Schimming on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)
River Dolphins, Amazon River