Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Oak Gall Wasps

This weekend, I had the chance to visit the Discovery Museum in Sacramento, CA. While the museum itself was pretty awesome for a small space, I was most intrigued by something I saw outside.  The museum is surrounded by trails with some riparian habitat and plenty of oak trees in the area.  Typical California woodland.  All these oaks had these funny looking “apples” all over them which are really not apples at all.  They’re called galls, and are actually quite common if you know where to look.  Often, wasps or flies will lay their eggs in plant tissues (leaves or stems of plants) to develop.  The immature insect emits chemicals that mimic plant growth hormones thereby creating a protective covering for themselves as they develop.  Once they’re mature, they chew their way out of the gall and fly free!

This is a great blog post about the Oak Gall Wasps of California: Left Coast Naturalist: Oak Gall Wasps – the Cynipids.

via Oak Gall Wasps.

Track #Swarmageddon

And the cicadas return…check out this great post on The Two-Way from NPR about RadioLab’s quest to track the emergence!

via It’s Almost Cicada Time! Help Radiolab Track #Swarmageddon : The Two-Way : NPR.

Spring Awakening

It’s finally snowing in Ithaca, just in time for spring! While the winter weather sends many of us into hibernation, perhaps we can appreciate the emergence of a giant stick insect, Dryococelus australis.  Here’s a video of it emerging from an egg.  Presumed extinct in the 1960s from its native Lord Howe Island, these giant insects have been found and are now being successfully bred in captivity.  Hooray science!

For the full coverage, check out Krulwich Wonder’s blog post for today.

Eat more bugs?

This is an article from Good about the possibility of including insects in our diet as a form of protein to increase food supplies. It’s an interesting proposition, as there are already several countries where insects are regularly consumed, either as a delicacy or as a staple for particular dishes. Here’s a list of the many edible insects from Girl Meets Bug, though I can’t say I’ve tried many. While this may be a way of addressing hunger issues, it doesn’t directly address many of the political challenges associated with food distribution nor the nutritional requirements for a balanced diet.

The Good article also highlights some other common uses of insects, including cochineal. It should be corrected that cochineal are not beetles, they’re scale insects in the order Hemiptera.

Agroforestry

Photo Courtesy of the NY Times

 

An interesting project in Montana and a great display as a demonstration garden. Agricultural sustainability seems to be more than just a buzz word lately. Find more on Gloria Flora’s work here.

Marco…

Polo!  We found it!  The lost ladybug!  After decades of elusiveness, the nine-spotted ladybug, Coccinella novemnotata, state insect of New York, has been on a Long Island organic farm.

Revival

What’s the opposite of over-wintering?  I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve been on hiatus and it is finally time to emerge post-field season.  Wahoo!

A short and sweet update today before I rush off to do graduate student things like take exams (wait, I thought those weren’t applicable anymore?).  The beauty of subscribing to a daily email about Good things happening in the world: keeping up on bee trends!  If you’re into beekeeping or an aspiring beekeeper like me, check out this article about modifying urban hives.