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Introducing... the Long-wattled Umbrellabird [Jun. 13th, 2015|08:35 pm]


The long-wattled umbrellabird is a large black bird with a body length reaching 51 centimeters in the males. Females are only about half the size of the males. In the males the head of these birds shows an impressive overhanging crest, extending over the bill, composed by hair-like feathers.

The bird's common name comes from the a long, inflatable wattle hanging from central chest of the male, which is up to 35 cm long and covered in short, scaly feathers. This wattle may be inflated during the elaborate courtship. In the females, by contrast, the wattle and the crest are reduced.

These birds are usually silent, but in breeding season, the males shout a loud call. The nest of this bird was first seen by scientists in 2003. Building the nest and brooding the chicks is in the sole responsibility of the female. The diet of the long-wattled umbrellabird is composed of insects, lizards and fruit, especially palm-nuts.
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NanananaNananana BATFLY [May. 21st, 2015|05:36 pm]

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Piotr Naskrecki got an interesting photo of an unusual fly.

"You think you have problems? Imagine that you have to live with a chicken-sized, blood-sucking parasite attached to your head. This poor Miniopterus bat that we caught during the biodiversity survey of Gorongosa National Park has to endure living with a wingless fly Penicillidia, which never leaves its body and loves to hang out on the top of its head."

More on the various families of bat-sucking flies
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Light Echoes From A Variable Star [May. 13th, 2015|05:21 pm]

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Timelapse of Cepheid variable star RS Puppis taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Light echoes ripple through the surrounding nebula as the star pulses in a 41 day cycle.

When I saw this GIF I suspected it was photoshopped, mostly on the grounds that those light echoes are, or so I thought, too far apart for a 41 day cycle. Perhaps I'm overly suspicious, because it turns out these are real images, and the reason that they are so fasr apart is the geometry of the echo, which can appear to move at faster-than-light speeds, as was the case with V838 Monocerotis, where a small star was engulfed by a larger one, and the resulting light echo spread out to 7 light years across in a matter of months. Light echoes can also be used to study centuries-old supernovae, even ones that were never seen from Earth because of dust clouds in the way.

In the case of RS Puppis, the star pulses - Cepheid variables are famously useful because of this, because the speed at which they pulse, and the speed at which they pulse depends on how intrinsically bright they are. Thus, by measuring how bright they appear from Earth, you can determine the shape of the galaxy, the position of the sun above or below the galactic disc, and the distances to the nearer galaxies. The actual mechanism by which they pulse is called the Eddington Valve. Hot gas in the star's outer layers becomes ionised, and doubly ionised helium is more opaque than singly ionised helium. The doubly ionised helium gets hotter and hotter, and the star's outer layers expand, cool, recapture their lost electrons, cool faster now the gas is less opaque, and collapse back down under gravitational pressure. Then the cycle repeats.
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Scientists Discover Bugs With Sex-Reversed Genitalia [Feb. 5th, 2015|08:55 pm]

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I first heard about this newly discovered insect on the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Curious, I googled for some information and I am not disappointedCut for somewhat NSFW materialCollapse )
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Sea Slug Is Part Plant [Feb. 4th, 2015|09:06 am]

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[Current Mood |surprisedsurprised]

This is so cool!

Sea slug has taken genes from algae it eats, allowing it to photosynthesize like a plant
February 3, 2015
Marine Biological Laboratory
How a brilliant-green sea slug manages to live for months at a time 'feeding' on sunlight, like a plant, is clarified in a recent study. The authors present the first direct evidence that the emerald green sea slug's chromosomes have some genes that come from the algae it eats.

The rich green color of the photosynthesizing sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, helps to camouflage it on the ocean floor.
Credit: Patrick Krug
 photo Sea Slug_zpsqklahfkx.jpg

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(no subject) [May. 31st, 2014|06:31 pm]


Waterbears can go without food or water for more than a decade. They can survive temperatures from zero to above the boiling point of water, pressure six times stronger than the deepest ocean trench, radiation hundreds of times higher than the fatal dose for a human, and the vacuum of space.

Guys you don’t know the half it. Tardigrades, or waterbears, (or moss piglets, how cute is that?) are the coolest things in the entire world.

They pretty much live everywhere on earth, and all they do is amble around drinking water. But if their life is in danger, they shrivel up into this little raisin thing and they can survive practically anything.

There was a piece of moss sitting dry in a museum for a century. Some scientists wetted the moss, and they woke back up. Just started drinking the water again.

They have survived as near to absolute zero as science has allowed us to get.

They’ve woken up after being subjected to 6 times the radiation lethal to humans, even though they are about 3 millimeters in length on average.

NASA sent them into orbit and they were released into the vacuum of space for ten days. They woke up.

So what does this mean? Scientists believe this may help to prove the existence of live elsewhere in the universe, and how life came to Earth. If there are creatures that can survive the emptiness of space, who’s to say an asteroid didn’t carry some from one planet to ours?

original post: http://chlochloariadne.tumblr.com/post/87443782497/forgive-me-im-broken-ketchuppee-4gifs
wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade
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WTF, Antechinus? [May. 2nd, 2014|10:46 am]

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[Current Mood |indescribable]

Meet the antechinus, an Australian marsupial mouse species. The males literally WTF themselves to death.

 photo Anetchinus_zps2e078426.jpg

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Rare purple siphonophore [Nov. 6th, 2014|09:43 pm]


Deep Sea Explorers Stumble Upon A Creature They Can Hardly Believe Is Real

Recently, a team from the Nautilus Live expedition piloting a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) happened upon one of the most fascinating-looking lifeforms in the world -- this rare, purple siphonophore roving through the ocean’s depths. Even the experienced deep sea explorers, well-acquainted with the marine animals, had a hard time accepting that what they were seeing was really real.... (full article at original site)

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Bird Pretends to be Caterpillar [Dec. 16th, 2014|05:31 pm]

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A recent study published in the journal American Naturalist, describes how the Cinereous Mourner (Laniocera hypopyrra) chick is covered with bright orange and speckled down-feathers… and how the bird uses those feathers to imitate a poisonous caterpillar. 
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Macrocilix maia [Nov. 29th, 2014|12:10 pm]

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A link worth following

Macrocilix maia (1)

Macrocilix maia is a Drepanid moth found from India to Japan, and a number of islands in the Indonesian archipelago. As a caterpillar, it feeds on Chinese Cork Oak. But it's real claim to fame is it's mimicry of a splash of bird dropping. Complete with smell, and attendant flies. Paul's photo includes one of the actual flies it's mimicking - it's a astonishingly good job.
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