Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Reposted from

dendroica: Majority of Anna’s hummingbirds may have feather…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018


Majority of Anna’s hummingbirds may have feather mites on their tail feathers

Hummingbirds are known to host a diversity of feather mites, but this relationship is not well-understood. In particular, mite distribution in situ has not been previously studied. The authors of the present study examined 753 hummingbirds of five species from urban locations in California: Anna’s, Allen’s, Black-chinned, Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds. They documented the presence of the feather mite Proctophyllodes huitzilopochtlii on tail flight feathers.

The researchers found that feather mites were present on the tail flight feathers of nearly 60 percent of Anna’s hummingbirds, but less than 10 percent of the other species. Across all the species, the mite was more prevalent on the tail feathers of males (44.9 percent) than on those of females (36.2 percent), possibly because of the nesting habits of females.

The authors used tabletop scanning electron microscopy to analyze individual feathers, building a detailed 3D picture of the distribution of live mites in situ. They found that there tended to be more mites on the hummingbirds’ outer tail feathers than inner, and saw that mites often nestled between the barbs of individual feathers, sometimes in high numbers.

The authors state that their study provides the first prevalence and distribution information for these feather mites on both Anna’s and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. This is especially important given that Anna’s Hummingbirds co-reside seasonally with other hummingbird species, with the potential for spread of mites.

Reposted from

spiders-spiders-spiders: jumping spider by Jimmy Kong on…

Monday, February 13th, 2017


jumping spider by Jimmy Kong on Flickr

Reposted from

libutron: Wide-jawed Viciria caring her eggs Scientifically…

Monday, July 25th, 2016


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.

References: [1] – [2]

Photo credit: ©Terrence Kiernan | Locality: unknown | [Top] – [Bottom]

Reposted from

tarantulajelly: If you’ve known me for two seconds, you know I…

Monday, July 4th, 2016


If you’ve known me for two seconds, you know I love, L O V E jumping spiders.  They’re the cutest little things and so attentive.  I love to watch them watching me, you can see them actively trying to figure things out.  This little dude is a Phidippus audax, or Bold Jumping Spider.  I’ve named it Sprite :D. 

I’ve already enjoyed the heck out of watching it get around.  Seriously, if you get a chance to watch a jumping spider, give it a shot, they’re entertaining little buggers.  In this photo, it was leaning down to watch my fingers as they stabilized my camera on the countertop :).

In reference to the person who asked yesterday, another huge difference between P. audax and P. regius is size.  P. regius easily dwarfs P. audax, with P. regius being the largest species of jumper in the Eastern US.  It can still be difficult to tell them apart when they’re still tiny little slings, though.  As the name implies, what these guys lack in size, they make up for in personality.

Reposted from

jumpingjacktrash: spiders-spiders-spiders: Dolomedes (Fishing…

Thursday, March 17th, 2016



Dolomedes (Fishing Spider)

photo by Charlie J on Flickr

fishing spiders are SO COOL. i don’t think they’re as cute as a lot of other spiders, but they are really clever and fun to watch. we get a lot of them along the cannon river here in southern minnesota, i like to hang out on the river bank and watch them hunt minnows and tadpoles.

they’re also really mellow about humans, at least if you move slow and don’t come from above like a predatory bird would do. i’ve picked them up and had them walk on my hands a bunch of times and never got nipped.

Reposted from