The Red Knot (Calidris canutus) is a tiny shorebird that undertakes a mind-boggling migration from the tip of South America all the way to the Arctic Circle.
Hear all about their amazing migration in our podcast.
Image Credit:Cláudio Dias Timm, Flickr: EOL Images
(via: Encyclopedia of Life)
I knew it!
Library Of Colorful Decay- Canisters Filled With Unclaimed Insane Asylum Human Remains
Tessaratomid Giant Shield Bug Nymphs (Tessaratomidae, Hemiptera)
Tessaratomidae is a family of true bugs, similar in appearance to the more common shield/stink bugs of the family Pentatomidae. Larger species are known informally as giant shield bugs or giant stink bugs and are sometimes quite colourful. Their nymphal forms are often very colourful also and usually bear little resemblance to the adult.
Shown is a selection of local Yunnan Tessaratomid nymphs of varying species and instar stages.
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese true bugs and hoppers on my Flickr site HERE…..
Arctic summers mean migrating animals, a bounty of breeding opportunities, and 24 hours of sunlight. Many plants and animals experience 24-hour cycles telling them when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to get up—called the circadian rhythm—that are often tied to light cues. So what happens when the sun never sets?
For four species of migrating birds that breed in the Arctic, new research shows that “anything goes,” said Bart Kempenaers, a behavioral ecologist with the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology near Munich. Lapland longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) exhibit a 24-hour cycle, while semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) and pectoral sandpipers (Calidris melanotos) are active around the clock. Red phalaropes (Phalaropus fulicarius) shift from a roughly 21-hour cycle to a 29-hour cycle. The type of cycle each displays depends on the species, an individual’s sex, and their social circumstances….
In contrast, the Lapland longspur—also a one-ounce (30-gram) bird, where both parents incubate the eggs—kept to a 24-hour activity cycle. Both the males and females rested between midnight and four in the morning.
But for pectoral sandpipers and red phalaropes, where just one parent incubates the egg, only the caregiver stayed on a 24-hour cycle. The promiscuous members of these two species—male pectoral sandpipers and female red phalaropes—were active around the clock.
There is a lot of pressure on male pectoral sandpipers to mate with as many females as they can, Kempenaers said. A study he published with colleagues last year in the journal Science found that the more active male pectoral sandpipers sired more offspring. Since female red phalaropes are the ones competing for mates, he explained, “you see this constant activity, or arrhythmic pattern, in the females.”
This one-sided, round-the-clock activity seems to be related to sexual selection, Kempenaers said, rather than to feeding—as speculated for Arctic residents like reindeer or ptarmigan.
(Read more at National Geographic)
Flood wall protecting parts of downtown DC completed within two-years. The wall is actually an upgrade to a previous wall and was designed and built by engineering firm TetraTech. Several public hearings and comment periods were held throughout the design stages of the project.
For full description, see: Levee / Floodwall Design and Certification, National Mall in Washington, DC
A rainy wet day means all the birdies are hiding… So here’s a shot from the Galápagos Islands. Though a distinct and separate species endemic to the Galapagos Archipelago, the Nazca Booby is closely related to Masked Booby. Steady fliers and sharp divers, fish beware with this guy on the prowl!
I love boobies! Don’t you?
EB CONNELLY, 2010
#Galapagos #Ecuador #birds #booby #travel #conservation #birdsinflight
What to do if you find a baby bird. Many thanks to the wildlife rehabilitators who have been tirelessly fielding calls and saving birds all season.
If it’s too small, the original chart is here.
Biodiversity conservation is simply not a priority for the Obama administration.
Heracleion Photos: Lost Egyptian City Revealed After 1,200 Years Under Sea
It is a city shrouded in myth, swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea and buried in sand and mud for more than 1,200 years. But now archeologists are unearthing the mysteries of Heracleion, uncovering amazingly well-preserved artifacts that tell the story of a vibrant classical-era port.
Known as Heracleion to the ancient Greeks and Thonis to the ancient Eygptians, the city was rediscovered in 2000 by French underwater archaeologist Dr. Franck Goddio and a team from the European Institute for Underwater Acheology (IEASM) after a four-year geophysical survey. The ruins of the lost city were found 30 feet under the surface of the Mediterranean Sea in Aboukir Bay, near Alexandria.
A new documentary highlights the major discoveries that have been unearthed at Thonis-Heracleion during a 13-year excavation. Exciting archeological finds help describe an ancient city that was not only a vital international trade hub but possibly an important religious center. The television crew used archeological survey data to construct a computer model of the city (above, last image).
According to the Telegraph, leading research now suggests that Thonis-Heracleion served as a mandatory port of entry for trade between the Mediterranean and the Nile.
So far, 64 ancient shipwrecks and more than 700 anchors have been unearthed from the mud of the bay, the news outlet notes. Other findings include gold coins, weights from Athens (which have never before been found at an Egyptian site) and giant tablets inscribed in ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian. Researchers think that these artifacts point to the city’s prominence as a bustling trade hub.
Researchers have also uncovered a variety of religious artifacts in the sunken city, including 16-foot stone sculptures thought to have adorned the city’s central temple and limestone sarcophagi that are believed to have contained mummified animals.
For more photos, visit Goddio’s Heracleion website.
Experts have marveled at the variety of artifacts found and have been equally impressed by how well preserved they are.
“The archaeological evidence is simply overwhelming,” Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, a University of Oxford archeologist taking part in the excavation, said in a press release obtained by The Huffington Post. “By lying untouched and protected by sand on the sea floor for centuries they are brilliantly preserved.”
A panel of experts presented their findings at an Oxford University conference on the Thonis-Heracleion excavation earlier this year.
But despite all the excitement over the excavation, one mystery about Thonis-Heracleion remains largely unsolved: Why exactly did it sink? Goddio’s team suggests the weight of large buildings on the region’s water-logged clay and sand soil may have caused the city to sink in the wake of an earthquake.
PHOTO GALLERY: Lost city of Heracleion
From Legend to Reality
Thonis-Heracleion (the Egyptian and Greek names of the city) is a city lost between legend and reality. Before the foundation of Alexandria in 331 BC, the city knew glorious times as the obligatory port of entry to Egypt for all ships coming from the Greek world. It had also a religious importance because of the temple of Amun, which played an important role in rites associated with dynasty continuity. The city was founded probably around the 8th century BC, underwent diverse natural catastrophes, and finally sunk entirely into the depths of the Mediterranean in the 8th century AD.
Prior to its discovery in 2000 by the IEASM, no trace of Thonis-Heracleion had been found. Its name was almost razed from the memory of mankind, only preserved in ancient classic texts and rare inscriptions found on land by archaeologists. The Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC) tells us of a great temple that was built where the famous hero Herakles first set foot on to Egypt. He also reports of Helen’s visit to Heracleion with her lover Paris before the Trojan War. More than four centuries after Herodotus’ visit to Egypt, the geographer Strabo observed that the city of Heracleion, which possessed the temple of Herakles, is located straight to the east of Canopus at the mouth of the Canopic branch of the River Nile.
With his unique survey-based approach that utilises the most sophisticated technical equipment, Franck Goddio and his team from the IEASM, in cooperation with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, were able to locate, map and excavate parts of the city of Thonis-Heracleion, which lies 6.5 kilometres off today’s coastline. The city is located within an overall research area of 11 by 15 kilometres in the western part of Aboukir Bay. Franck Goddio has found important information on the ancient landmarks of Thonis-Heracleion, such as the grand temple of Amun and his son Khonsou (Herakles for the Greeks), the harbours that once controlled all trade into Egypt, and the daily life of its inhabitants. He has also solved a historic enigma that has puzzled Egyptologists over the years: the archaeological material has revealed that Heracleion and Thonis were in fact one and the same city with two names; Heracleion being the name of the city for the Greeks and Thonis for the Egyptians.
The objects recovered from the excavations illustrate the cities’ beauty and glory, the magnificence of their grand temples and the abundance of historic evidence: colossal statues, inscriptions and architectural elements, jewellery and coins, ritual objects and ceramics - a civilization frozen in time.
The quantity and quality of the archaeological material excavated from the site of Thonis-Heracleion show that this city had known a time of opulence and a peak in its occupation from the 6th to the 4th century BC. This is readily seen in the large quantity of coins and ceramics dated to this period.
The port of Thonis-Heracleion had numerous large basins and functioned as a hub of international trade. The intense activity in the port fostered the city’s prosperity. More than seven hundred ancient anchors of various forms and over 60 wrecks dating from the 6th to the 2nd century BC are also an eloquent testimony to the intensity of maritime activity here.
The city extended all around the temple and a network of canals in and around the city must have given it a lake dwelling appearance. On the islands and islets dwellings and secondary sanctuaries were located. Excavations here have revealed beautiful archaeological material such as bronze statuettes. On the north side of the temple to Herakles, a grand canal flowed through the city from east to west and connected the port basins with a lake to the west.
This is absolutely breathtaking. I’m literally speechless with chills from this video footage and photos. If anyone can find the documentary on this (in English, please), send it my way because I’d love to immerse myself in this excavation. The documentary is titled ‘Egypt’s Sunken City: A Legend Is Revealed’. So far, this is all Franck Goddio’s team has published as far as I know; yet, the documentary was produced by the Discovery Channel, so it has to be out there somewhere. Science team…assemmmmmmble…
Long-horned Orb-weaver Spider (Macracantha arcuata)
As members of the orb-weaver family of spiders, these amazing creatures build the typical circular web of their cousins across pathways so you can walk into them in the dark. The purpose of the disproportionately long body horns however remains a mystery.
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese spiders and arachnids on my Flickr site HERE…..
La primera ave marina en ser identificada en 55 años es la Golondrina de mar (Oceanites pincoyae) y fue hallada en Chile, en el Seno de Reloncavi, al sur de Puerto Montt.
Fotografía de Rodrigo Reyes e Ilustración de Daniel Martínez, a partir de las fotografías de Harrison y O’Keeffe.
A New Storm-Petrel Species from Chile. The Auk 130(1):180-191. 2013.
We describe a new species of storm-petrel, Oceanites pincoyae (Pincoya Storm-Petrel), from the Puerto Montt and Chacao channel area, Chile. The description is based on 1 specimen collected at sea in Seno Reloncavi on 19 February 2011 and 11 other individuals that were caught, examined, and released. The new taxon’s foraging ecology and behavioral habits are unique among the southern Oceanitinae, including “mouse-runs” and repeated diving beneath the surface to retrieve food items. Its distinctive appearance includes bold white ulnar bars, extensive white panels to the underwing, and white to the lower belly and vent. Among species of Oceanites, it is unique in showing white outer vanes to the outer two pairs of rectrices. It further differs from all other storm-petrels in having a distinctive juvenile plumage. Morphometrically it is distinct from Oceanites gracilis gracilis (Elliot’s Storm-Petrel) and smaller than O. oceananicus chilensis (the Fuegian form of Wilson’s Storm-Petrel), having a shorter tarsus and longer middle toe. There also appear to be differences in the timing of breeding and molt between the new taxon and both O. o. chilensis and O. g. gracilis. We estimate the population size of the new species as 3,000 individuals.