Friday, November 27, 2009
Can you see him in there? How did I manage to find him in that tangled little plant? It's a disease. I can't help myself. My eyes just go there. Obssessive-compulsive bug finding. That's what it is.
Look at that white thorax-collar he has on!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The middle pupa didn't attach and is free floating. The other 2 look dubious, but I think they're ok. I'll be able to tell better tomorrow. Of course there won't be much to look at for the next several days, but I'm wondering what will happen next. Can they morph successfully if there is no up or down, especially if they (or at least one) are drifting and shifting the developing parts inside? And what happens when they eclose? Here on earth, no butterfly would ever emerge from its chrysalis amid a flurry of floating frass. What's to stop all that poop from sticking to the wet new wings and messing them up? Assuming the butterflies do emerge OK, then what? Are they still going to live in that box, or will they be transferred to another enclosure? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Note: Try as I might, I can't make the whole picture show up in my post. Only 2 pupae are visible. But you can click the picture and see the whole thing.
Monday, November 23, 2009
This spider was pretty tiny.
I like these wild-eyed flies.
Honeybees on iceplant flower
Ichneumon compsocryptus. A new one for me!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
My poor little rescued stick insect is now bigger and richer, by one leg. She shed her skin last night and now she has a right front leg.
The other two legs are developing just as I expected they would. They are now in the tiny, curly phase, and after the next shed they will be much larger and fully functional.
ready to eat a leaf now!
You can see her before pictures here.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I also found a video of painted lady caterpillars that went up in space last year as well, with the same apparent experiment: to see if they could go through a normal metamorphosis in micro gravity. I haven't found out the outcome of last year's experiment yet, but I wonder why they are repeating it this year. Surely there must be lots of other simple experiments that students and scientists would like to try. Considering how rare and costly these space missions are, they should be doing as many as they can before the shuttles are grounded permanently.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This first video is of the monarch caterpillars in their little space container. 2 of the caterpillars are supposedly getting ready to shed, so they're not moving around much.
The second video is of painted lady caterpillars that are also on this space mission. I didn't realize there were other caterpillars going up besides the monarchs. This video was kind of sad for me to watch, because the squirmy caterpillar in the middle is actually trying to shed its skin, and it can't seem to manage it in micro gravity. We'll find out tomorrow if it survived.
I guess they shed their skins OK. I found this brief video update on YouTube that points out the molts.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I only found out about this last week, on Bug Girl's Blog. The program is geared toward schools, and requires registration and a fee, and the raising of monarch caterpillars in containers, with artificial food.
I don't want all that. I don't need to raise a caterpillar in a container. I have them in my yard, for goodness sake! I just want to follow the monarch caterpillars on their journey into space! I want to see what happens to them. Is there a way I can do that? I looked on the Nasa Space Shuttle webpage, and couldn't find anything about Monarchs in Space. I emailed Monarch Watch, who are involved with this project, to ask how I can follow it as an individual, and was sent a useless form letter reply.
Then, I saw there is a Monarch Watch message board, so I registered and sent them this message. Let's see what happens....
Monday, November 09, 2009
The other day, I was cleaning the stick insect tank in Mrs. W's class, and I came across this little (maybe L3) nymph with only 3 legs. I should have just euthanized her on the spot, but I took pity on her and brought her home.
You can see where one leg has already started to regrow. Assuming she can shed successfully with only 3 legs to support herself, that curly little leg will unwind and be considerably larger after she sheds, and the totally missing ones will start to regrow with little curly legs. I previously documented this limb regeneration process here.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Yeah, shameless brag and self-promotion. :P
You can read about my original observations of these beetles here.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
She is clearly in the twilight of her life. Her gait is just a bit unsteady, and she has several black spots on her face and body that are a further sign of old age. But she is still has a good appetite, and she has been spending her days in the sun, picking bees off the basil flowers.