Wide-jawed Viciria caring her eggs
Scientifically named Viciria praemandibularis (Salticidae), this jumping spider is, by obvious reasons, commonly known as Wide-Jawed Viciria, and can be found in Singapore and Sulawesi.
As you can see in the pictures, this female Wide-jawed viciria is caring her eggs. In the Salticidae spiders maternal care of eggs and recently hatched juveniles appears to be widespread. Salticids spin silken eggsacs and stay with these, presumably guarding them. Exactly what salticid females guard against and how they guard the eggs is unclear, but the maternal female could probably deter many egg predators and parasitoids.
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One of the benefits of living together is gaining new information from group members. Once a group member starts displaying a new behavior, it frequently spreads to the rest of the group. In a study on ravens, Cognitive Biologists from the University of Vienna together with the Princeton University and the Leeds University showed that being socially connected to others is critical in gaining new information. Their findings are published in Royal Society Open Science.
Transmission of information from one individual to another forms the basis of long-term traditions and culture, and is critical in adjusting to changing environmental conditions. Animals frequently observe each other to learn about food, predators and their social environment. The study fills an important gap in our understanding of how different types of social connections affect animals’ ability to learn from the behavior of others.
Social connections range from aggressive interactions to the affiliative behaviors that are critical in forming strong social bonds. Human social behavior is frequently analyzed as social networks to capture its extent and complexity. By adopting a similar approach for ravens and analyzing their social networks, Christine Schwab and Thomas Bugnyar found that not all social connections are equally effective at influencing observation and learning. In particular, networks based on affiliative behaviors (sitting close to and preening each other, sharing food and objects) played a major role in influencing how information was transmitted in the group. Some of the most frequent affiliative behaviors were between siblings, thus emphasizing the importance of family ties in learning.
Previous studies have shown that physical proximity between individuals can facilitate learning. However, until now, hardly anything was known about the role of different social connections in observation and learning. To mimic the presence of novel information, the researchers gave raven groups a task with which they were unfamiliar. The task included a food reward to motivate ravens to solve it. Ravens only observed others’ interactions with the task if they had strong social bonds to those group members. Presence of strong social bonds increases tolerance among individuals, allowing them to observe each other from a close distance. Birds with strong bonds to the group members who had already solved the task were able to observe them from a close distance, and as a result, gained this new information sooner than those who were not connected.
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Today the Department of Extraordinary Embroidery is checking out the work of Maryland-based photographer and textile artist Emma Mattson. She uses felt, thread, and french knots to create pieces of embroidery that look like botanical specimens, sometimes finished with pieces of fake moss or lichen to make them appear even more lifelike.
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I thought I was going to get a lot of hiking done today, but not 10 minutes into my hike there was a hemlock treetop that had blown over into the trail, and I got lost in the diversity of lichens densely covering its branches and trunk. Heaps of Usnea and Ramalina and others.
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I like John Scalzi’s political commentary a lot. I don’t see much to disagree with here.
To my followers, most of whom are younger than me, I want to say something. I’m going to try not to say it too often, but I think it’s worth getting on the record for whatever teency amount of good it might do.
As a group, your political views are much better than those of fogeys like me (not me in particular, necessarily, but my age/race/gender cohort, who embarrassingly are by far the most likely to be voting Trump). It gives me hope for the future that so many of you (really, an overwhelming majority of you) see through his shtick.
The problem is that too few of you actually vote. As you age more and more of you eventually will, but for now, with your lives full of more pressing concerns than endorsing a crufty old political system, too few of you do.
We (all of us; fogeys, millennials, everyone in between) need to make an effort this time. It isn’t an ordinary election. Trump’s victory or loss, and the size of that victory or loss, will have effects that echo down through the rest of our lives. You’ll look back on this election when you’re gray and embarrassing. You’ll look back in pride or regret, but I guarantee you’ll look back.
Future you wants you to play your part.
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