ProtoJeb21

The Biology/Wildlife Thread

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My backyard is like a scene from Snow White. Since I moved in a few weeks ago, There have at least 20 rabbit sightings and 7 deer sightings. I'll try to get some pictures.

There are also Hawks everywhere. For the past year, wherever I go, there are hawks. I think I'm being spied on by the government. It's probably just paranoia, though.

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It's normal. You're a space druid, and animals feel this.

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Why has this little guy been at my front door for the last 70-ish hours?

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This is a Wavy-lined Heterocampa moth, which is one of the only strikingly green moths you can find in the Northeastern U.S. I first noticed this guy at around 11:30 Friday morning, but he stuck around for the next few days. As of the time writing this post, this moth is STILL there. Bro, go get a life! If we estimate an arrival time for this moth at midnight Thursday/Friday, then that means it has been at my front porch for the last SEVENTY ONE HOURS. That's nearly three whole planetary rotations! Why is it still there? I have no clue.

I also stumbled across something quite horrifying today: Stinkhorn Fungus. There was an outbreak of these horrific fungi a few years back, but now they have returned to spread their terror among 99% of people. Once they open up, it will smell like rotting flesh. I have to remove them as soon as possible, or else there will actually be something worse than the IMDb review page for The Emoji Movie.

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Nature is weird.

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While in a park, there was some form of animal pelvis put on one of the marker pole. No Idea why its there.

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Spoiler
4 hours ago, ProtoJeb21 said:

Why has this little guy been at my front door for the last 70-ish hours?

Look at him. His communotrons are obstructed and haven't expanded. Probably, he is out of radio contact range.

Try to extend his antennas manually or bring him closer to the nearest wi-fi router.

 

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Toad next to the Rio Grande.

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7 hours ago, kerbiloid said:
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Look at him. His communotrons are obstructed and haven't expanded. Probably, he is out of radio contact range.

Try to extend his antennas manually or bring him closer to the nearest wi-fi router.

 

Spoiler

True, true, but how would I know what network he's on? Does he use Frontier or Comcast? Should I sign him up for an unlimited data plan with Sprint?

Oh and by the way HE'S STILL THERE. That's almost 82 hours of one moth doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Talk about some serious procrastination.

 

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4 hours ago, ProtoJeb21 said:
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True, true, but how would I know what network he's on? Does he use Frontier or Comcast? Should I sign him up for an unlimited data plan with Sprint?

Oh and by the way HE'S STILL THERE. That's almost 82 hours of one moth doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Talk about some serious procrastination.

 

"hang on! i`m tired!"

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1 minute ago, RoadRunnerAerospace said:

"hang on! i`m tired!"

Well the good news for him is he left some  time ago. So I would say that was..what, like nearly 85 hours STRAIGHT of doing absolutely nothing? Honestly, sleeping for 85 hours is quite overkill, even for a sloth or a koala.

Moral of the story: do something with your life, or else some person online will be making fun of you for it.

Oh wait...

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Posted (edited)

I found what looks like a moth cocoon attached to a hammock strap on a tree today. I'll check back on it another day to see if anything happens.

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It's about 4 cm long.

Edited by cubinator

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we have a pretty big funnel web spider hanging out near the garage, web and all. Whenever I go by it, I intently stare at it, making sure its not crawling on the ground, because if that went up my leg, I would certainly scream like a little girl, and then some.

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Harvester soldier on patrol.

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Marmot on top of Humbolt Peak in southern CO I took years ago (film). A few minutes later, another couple guys reached the summit, and one had gloves on which he removed to eat a snack. The marmot ran over, grabbed one, then disappeared over the edge behind him here. The guy threw his other glove after the critter saying he should at least have a pair, lol.

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15 hours ago, cubinator said:

I'll check back on it another day to see if anything happens.

Just don't get close,

Spoiler

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15 hours ago, cubinator said:

It's about 4 cm long.

It will be bigger having somebody eaten.

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17 hours ago, cubinator said:

I found what looks like a moth cocoon attached to a hammock strap on a tree today. I'll check back on it another day to see if anything happens.

8ekQqwG.jpg

It's about 4 cm long.

Looks like it may be the cocoon of a Polyphemus Moth or another related giant silkmoth. It depends on what region you're in.

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19 minutes ago, ProtoJeb21 said:

Looks like it may be the cocoon of a Polyphemus Moth or another related giant silkmoth. It depends on what region you're in.

Upper Midwest. I think you're right, it looks like a giant silk moth cocoon. Apparently these cocoons will only emerge in spring next year. I will check back on it once in a while for now, then come back in spring to see if it emerges.

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57 minutes ago, cubinator said:

Upper Midwest. I think you're right, it looks like a giant silk moth cocoon. Apparently these cocoons will only emerge in spring next year. I will check back on it once in a while for now, then come back in spring to see if it emerges.

Actually, it may emerge within the next week or so. I remember from last year that, around this time (early August), there were recently hatched Polyphemus moths laying eggs and breeding. In some areas they have two "broods" each year, so it's possible that your cocoon will be part of this second cycle. If so then it should hatch sometime this month.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, ProtoJeb21 said:

Actually, it may emerge within the next week or so. I remember from last year that, around this time (early August), there were recently hatched Polyphemus moths laying eggs and breeding. In some areas they have two "broods" each year, so it's possible that your cocoon will be part of this second cycle. If so then it should hatch sometime this month.

In my state it is stated there is only one brood, that being late May to July. It'll likely stay in my garage during winter with the strap, which apparently is fine as it's still cold in there. I'll keep checking on it just in case though.

Edited by cubinator

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9 minutes ago, cubinator said:

In my state it is stated there is only one brood, that being late May to July. It'll likely stay in my garage during winter with the strap, which apparently is fine as it's still cold in there. I'll keep checking on it just in case though.

Same with my state, but I once found a fifth-instar Polyphemus caterpillar in the middle of November. In years past I have also seen signs of a second brood, so it's possible that this might be the case in your area as well. Like you said, just keep an eye on it.

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scary spider, sorry for the poor quality, had to zoom so I would be within the "safe zone" (5 ft)

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A turtle! (and my finger)

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Presenting what may be one of the most bizarre life forms I have ever encountered: the Pandorus Sphinx Moth larva.

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This is what you get when you mix natural selection and Darwin with a 24-pack of Vodka. Where do I even begin with this thing? There are just so many unique and weird characteristics of this creature to talk about. So, here's a list of what I know so far.

  • It has 13 false eyes. I kid you not, THIRTEEN FALSE EYES. It should only need one or two to scare off a predator...but thirteen? That's quite overkill.
  • Only one of those thirteen "eyes" is not on its side. This one looks like a glass eye and is sometimes present with a curly "horn" that is shed off later in life.
  • The 12 other false eyes are centered around these side air holes called spircales. So, basically, just about everything that one may mistake for an eye is really a well-decorated nostril. Quite an interesting way to describe things.
  • I've noticed this guy use its front legs to actually re-position its food for a better place to start chewing. This behavior is something I have never before seen in any animal other than humans, birds, hamsters, and other more evolved creatures than a caterpillar.
  • The Pandorus Sphinx larva goes through a ridiculous amount of color changes in its life. Sometimes its green, other times its brown (like mine), and it could even be a bright maroon! I found my specimen with a murky yellow-green color. What's odd is that, most of the time, this color change is random. There's no color for each larva stage (instar), since sometimes mature larvae have the same color as a newborn. It makes no sense whatsoever.
  • It has figured out how to use its squishiness for survival. The very squishy thorax allows this larva to retract its head for protection, or extend it when needed.

So after all that weirdness, one important lesson remains: do NOT design a species while under the influence of beer, wine, or rocket fuel. Chances are you may get a three-headed snake with several dozen tiny wings made from fingernails and 14,562 purple eyes that shoot out lasers. Now, for some other cool stuff:

TURTLE! No, seriously, a turtle. A park ranger found this unusually orange box turtle and I happened to be right there when he found it, so I was able to take some pictures.

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Obviously, this guy was not much of a camera person. Or a person, either.

There's also been an absolute INFESTATION of 0.75 inch-long millipedes. I don't know exactly why, but they've been coming out in the dozens - if not hundreds - since mid-July. If anybody else has had dozens of these guys crawl out of tree or swarm over your sidewalk, just try and ignore them.

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@cubinator I recently found more evidence for a second yearly generation of Polyphemus moths. Just yesterday, I was hiking at the area where I found the Pandorus Sphinx larva when I stumbled across a cocoon. Due to its design and proximity to the ground, I immediately knew it was that of a Polyphemus moth. I took it in hopes of hatching it...only to realize it already DID hatch. 

I'll post some photos from the hike later on. There were so many weird things I found there, including venomous caterpillars and quite a lot of herps.

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Photos from the hike:

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A young, inch-long American Toad and the first of four toads I found.

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A meter-long garter snake with a large lump in its midsection. I don't want to know what's in there...

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Hey look, a Gypsy Moth pupa! Odd finding one, since I haven't seen any Gypsy Moths this year. I doubt there'll be any more.

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Uhhh....

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Oh holy mother of the Kraken.

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A potentially Lemming-like Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar that had the sudden desire to join its drowning companions in a nearby vernal pool. I took this one home to keep it from jumping to its death like a fluffy, toxic Lemming.

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Two Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillars I had to fish out of a vernal pool with a stick. I had no choice but to take these two (and that other dude) to my house to raise into adulthood. If out in the wild, they would keep jumping off into oblivion like a trio of brain-dead Lemmings. What I find infuriating about this species is that, along with their venomous nature, they have a habit of jumping off their host plant for no reason whatsoever. It makes things hard to take pictures without disturbing the caterpillar's environment. What's even worse is that the "venom" from these caterpillars is more of an allergen, and has more of an effect on those with natural and seasonal allergies. Guess who has both those allergies?

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So many slugs were out an about during the hike. They were likely brought out by Saturday's rainfalls and the sheer amount of dead Gypsy Moths to decompose.

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Some pink fly thing. I don't know what this is.

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I almost completely missed this 2+ inch-long Katydid resting on a Spicebush plant. Incredibly large and incredibly well camouflaged.

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Another giant Katydid, this time a little over an inch long and probably still in its so-called Nymph stage.

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The recently enclosed Polyphemus Moth cocoon I mentioned earlier. I didn't realize it had already hatched until I brought it home.

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Posted (edited)

Taken during a short trip to the island of Ouessant :

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On the Road Again. Ouessant got a lot of sheep and a bit everywhere. Most of them are domesticated for the local production of wool and they are free to go anywhere. Looking at these two, they were about to get a good time together...

 

 

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"HG44" wasn't really happy to see us while two others simply didn't care about. A recent mowing appears clearly on the back of the closest.

These sheep actually are the descendants of some "special" ones : in the night of the 16th June 1896 a British medium liner, the SS Drummond Castle, was navigating for a common travel between Cape Town and London. It previously made stopovers at Delagoa Bay, Natal and Las Palmas, the last of all before the final path. Around 23.00 local time, the liner struck on the rocks surrounding Ouessant and the southern island of Sein. The ship sank quickly, taking 242 souls with her... only two crew members and a single passenger survived the disaster.

 But they were not alone, the Drummond Castle was also carrying multiple sheep. Some of them survived and were or recovered by some local fishers or they swam by themselves to Ouessant or Sein, were their progeny is now living.

 

 

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Typical Atlantic Larus argentatus, one of the most frequent species of gull in this area. This one still wasn't a large adult.

 

 

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"JM47" wasn't easy to approach as it was in an enclosure made of rocks. The pictures aren't depicting the most interesting fact about it : it's an Ouessant or more typically in English, an Ushant.

 Named after the island this local breed actually is one of the most smallest sheep in the world. Having nearly disappeared at the end of the 19th Century, the specie was hopefully saved by transferring some of the rare subjects which were exploited on the main land to the island.

 Even today hybrids are pretty uncommon with this specie, results are interesting as this sheep is pretty "archaic" and way less fertilizing than most of the others all around, the female being able to spawn only one by year.

Edited by XB-70A
Aurtaugraf... once again

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