Monthly Archives: May 2012

Potato Beetles Invade

Potato, Solanum tuberosum, is a native of South America. Potatoes were cultivated and bred by Mayans and improved varieties were an important component of South American crop production when Europeans first visited in the 1500s. Potatoes generate one of the … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, Environment, Invasive Species | 1 Comment

Ant Ballet

Audiences have been entertained by flea circuses for centuries. Can technology help a new insect performance art emerge? British artist and designer Ollie Palmer, is working on the concept of “Ant Ballet”. Ants communicate with chemical odors called pheromones. When … Continue reading

Posted in Art, by jjneal, Invasive Species | 2 Comments

Natural Enemies Are Our Friends

Our six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata, is common along sunny paths and gardens in the late Spring. Cicindela sexguttata, is easily identified by its iridescent metallic green color and 6 brownish spots on its elytra (forewings). Tiger Beetles have keen … Continue reading

Posted in behavior, by badellin, Education, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beyond Olfaction

In teaching the parts of insects to new students, I describe the insect antenna as the “Primary Oflactory Organ”, responsible for the “sense of smell.” However, this view is an oversimplification. Antennae are modified for many purposes including sound detection … Continue reading

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Ant-i Zombie

I have previously discussed a fungus (Ophiocordyceps) that attacks ants and takes over the brain of the ant. The fungus manipulates the behavior of the ant so that the fungus can be widely disseminated to infect other ants. This interaction … Continue reading

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Lady Beetle Lessons

Last Sunday, May 20, Sunnylands Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California had “Ladies Day“, a day devoted to Lady Beetles. The day featured arts, crafts, stories and science education all related to Lady Beetles. The event included the release of 200,000 … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, Environment, Pest Management | 1 Comment

Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Monarchs and Disease

Monarch butterflies are protected from predation by birds due to the toxic chemicals they sequester from their milkweed host plants. The interactions between birds, monarchs and chemicals in milkweed are well known. Lesser known are interactions with the protozoan parasite, … Continue reading

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