Saturday, October 27, 2007

Six-legged Spider

One of the differences between spiders and insects is that insects have six legs and spiders have eight. They belong to the class arachnida which includes mites, scorpions, and ticks. While hiking along a trail I came face to face with an unusual golden silk spider- one with only six legs. It more than likely lost two of its legs to a predator such as a bird. This handicap didn't seem at all to hinder its web building capabilities or its ability to go after prey as noted when I strummed its web. It moved just as creepy fast as an eight-legger. Just proves how insects as well as other animals adapt when faced with situations such as this. Rather than wither and die they learn to adjust.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Interesting Nature Notes Part I

From time to time while "mining" the internet or reading one of the many magazines I subscribe to I come across some interesting stuff and as I come across this information I'll share it with everyone.

~ Where does the fox snake get its name? From the "fox urine" smelling musk it douses you with if you pick it up. That doesn't mean if you get musked by a corn snake it will smell like couldn't be so lucky.(1)

~ In order for the Jack pine to propogate, the resin coated cones must be melted by wildfire in order for the inner seeds to be released. (2)

~ For anyone that provides seed for birds- a word of caution: be sure and store your seed in a container in a cool dry area. If not moisture will cause the growth of mold which in turn forms (something) known as aflotoxin which can sicken or even kill the birds you feed. (1)

~ The Blind Cave Millipede (Chaetaspis aleyorum)- found in caves is a tiny arthropod that feeds on the guano of bats. (3)

(1) Audubon magazine- July-August 2007
(2) Nature Conservancy magazine- Autumn 2007
(3) OnEarth magazine- Summer 2007

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