Saturday, September 30, 2023
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, chelicerae with fangs generally able to inject venom, and spinnerets that extrude silk. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every land habitat. As of August 2022, 50,356 spider species in 132 families have been recorded by taxonomists. However, there has been debate among scientists about how families should be classified, with over 20 different classifications proposed since 1900.
Anatomically, spiders (as with all arachnids) differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax or prosoma, and the opisthosoma, or abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel, however, as there is currently neither paleontological nor embryological evidence that spiders ever had a separate thorax-like division, there exists an argument against the validity of the term cephalothorax, which means fused cephalon (head) and the thorax. Similarly, arguments can be formed against use of the term abdomen, as the opisthosoma of all spiders contains a heart and respiratory organs, organs atypical of an abdomen.
Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure.
Read more, here.
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Adult non-biting gnats do not damage plants but are considered a nuisance. Usually, larvae do not cause serious plant damage, but when present in large numbers can stunt the plant growth and damage its roots. To prevent gnats from spreading, measures have to be taken to target immature stages of development of the species. Physical tactics include eliminating favorable living conditions: reduction of excess moisture, drainage of pools with standing water, and removal of decaying organic matter. Commercially available control agents and insecticides can be used as a control measure, but are not recommended for use in a household. To control adult gnats in smaller areas, pressurized aerosol sprays with pyrethrins can be used. Other control measures in the household can include turning off unnecessary lights at dusk and sealing vents and other openings.
Read more, here.
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Monday, September 18, 2023
Yellowjackets may be confused with other wasps, such as hornets and paper wasps such as Polistes dominula. A typical yellowjacket worker is about 12 mm (0.47 in) long, with alternating bands on the abdomen; the queen is larger, about 19 mm (0.75 in) long (the different patterns on their abdomens help separate various species).
Yellowjackets are sometimes mistakenly called "bees" (as in "meat bees"), given that they are similar in size and general coloration to honey bees, but yellowjackets are actually wasps. In contrast to honey bees, yellowjackets have yellow or white markings, are not covered with tan-brown dense hair on their bodies, and do not have the flattened, hairy pollen-carrying hind legs characteristic of honey bees (although they are capable of pollination).
Yellowjackets have lance-like stingers with small barbs, and typically sting repeatedly, though occasionally a stinger becomes lodged and pulls free of the wasp's body; the venom, like most bee and wasp venoms, is primarily dangerous to only those humans who are allergic or are stung many times. All species have yellow or white on their faces. Their mouthparts are well-developed with strong mandibles for capturing and chewing insects, with probosces for sucking nectar, fruit, and other juices. Yellowjackets build nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside man-made structures, or in soil cavities, tree stumps, mouse burrows, etc. They build them from wood fiber they chew into a paper-like pulp. Many other insects exhibit protective mimicry of aggressive, stinging yellowjackets; in addition to numerous bees and wasps (Müllerian mimicry), the list includes some flies, moths, and beetles (Batesian mimicry).
Yellowjackets' closest relatives, the hornets, closely resemble them but have larger heads, seen especially in the large distance from the eyes to the back of the head.
Read more, here.
Friday, September 15, 2023
A. verbasci has a life cycle ranging from 1–3 years, depending upon the environmental conditions. A study in 1958 found that temperature is able to affect larval development, concluding that the periods of incubation and pupation of A. verbasci decrease with increase of temperature (the life cycle is thus quickened with a moderate rise in temperature). Incubation decreased from 54 days at 15 °C to 12 days at 30 °C, and the pupation decreased from 89 days at 10 °C to 9 days at 25 °C. Relative humidity was shown to have little effect.
Larvae hatch from eggs in the spring and early summer, often in the nests of birds (including those of the house sparrow and house swift) or around stored fabrics.
Adults emerge between late May and early August (in England), flying to and feeding on the pollen and nectar of flowering plants. The life expectancy of the beetle is about two weeks. During this period, mating occurs and the eggs are laid, either close to the human environs or in bird nests, tree hollows and similar, dry places where larvae can find their food. Then the cycle begins anew.
Read more, here.