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Messages - Calilasseia

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Whatever / Re: At last - some good news
« on: Today at 12:11:29 PM »
Since Les mentioned Koalas, it's apposite for me to mention a recent discovery related thereto.

Namely, that there exists an Australian moth whose larvae feed on ... wait for it ... Koala dung.

Say hello to Telanepsia stockeri.

Just when you thought invertebrate zoology had finished serving up weirdness for you to savour ...

Words / Re: Pauraque
« on: June 26, 2020, 11:02:05 AM »
Speaking of moths, I had this turn up at a trap a few days ago ...

Words / Re: Vesper
« on: June 26, 2020, 10:58:49 AM »
I encountered vespers via a roundabout route involving the musical work of that name by Rachmaninov ...

Which is actually a mis-name Rachmaninoff (his preferred spelling in Latin characters) wrote the All-Night Vigil. Unfortunately, too many places it is misidentified as 'Vespers'.

The full work is indeed the All Night Chant, and is in fifteen parts. However, the first six parts thereof contain the Russian Orthodox text for Vespers in that denomination. Hence the frequent reference to the work via that name.

One fact that I was blissfully unaware of until now, is that Part Six of the All Night Vigil (the last part of the Vespers proper, if you will), was reworked into an anti-Putin protest song by the Russian punk group Pussy Riot.

Whatever / Re: Bird names in America and Britain
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:47:43 PM »
While entertaining this tangential diversion, there's actually a brand of swimwear called "Budgy Smuggler" ...  ;D

In the meantime, I never understood why Americans chose 'parakeet' over 'budgie', given that there are numerous species of parakeet, but only one budgie ...

Whatever / Re: Living in Australia?
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:43:44 PM »
I shall now sit here and wait for the Dropbears to put in an appearance ...  ;D

Words / Re: Vesper
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:41:53 PM »
I encountered vespers via a roundabout route involving the musical work of that name by Rachmaninov ...

Words / Re: caboose -common?
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:37:35 PM »
Meanwhile ... even though it's probably restricted to American usage, I'm familiar with the word caboose being used to describe a guard's van type unit of railway rolling stock.

This Forum / Re: Error 403 Forbidden
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:34:32 PM »
Not affected me yet, but now I've probably tempted fate far too much by posting this ...  ;D

Words / Re: On behalf of musicians.....
« on: June 16, 2020, 03:02:07 PM »
Just found this ...

Mordent is one of the few words doing the rounds here that is completely new to me.

Mordant, on the other hand, I encountered when using a microscope at the age of 11. When using stains to enhance tissue contrast under the microscope, a mordant is a substance used to act as a sort of "glue" between the tissue and the stain. As an example from that past foray into microscopy, a stain that's used for plant tissues is iron haematoxylin, but you need to soak the tissue to be stained in an alum solution for the stain to bind. Otherwise, the stain washes right out when you counterstain with another stain, such as carbol-fuchsin.

Words / Re: Anatomical adverbs
« on: June 16, 2020, 02:57:52 PM »
Makes me wonder what will happen if ever I find the letters delivering "inguinal" in my lap, so to speak :)

Words / Re: Twee not common?
« on: June 16, 2020, 02:55:54 PM »
Another of those words I've deployed several times in puzzles here, and wondered why it's classified as rare ... ;)

Words / Re: Fistula and fistulae common?
« on: June 16, 2020, 02:54:47 PM »
Though of course, anyone enduring one won't be laughing ... :)

Whatever / Re: Gareth's aka Dragonman's bio
« on: May 02, 2020, 12:35:51 PM »
No, what I mean is, the humorous bits don't appear when his name pops up in "Standard" - only in "Challenge" or "10-Letter" ... at least on my computer ...

Whatever / Re: An insect question...
« on: May 02, 2020, 12:33:34 PM »
Time for some taxonomic fun and games again.

The Dipteran organisms known colloquially here in the UK via the term "Daddy Long Legs", are flies belonging to the InfraOrder Tipulomorpha. This clade contains the SuperFamilies Trichoceroidea and Tipuloidea. From the first of those SuperFamilies, we have the Family Trichoceridae, known as the Winter Gnats, and whose members share numerous anatomical features with the more commonly seen Crane Flies. However, there is one important difference - the Trichoceridae have three ocelli, or simple eyes, on the top of the head between the large compound eyes, which are absent in all the Tipuloidea. So if you see a small fly, resembling a Crane Fly, but on the wing in winter time, and with those ocelli present on the top of the head, you're dealing with a member of the Trichoceridae.

The second SuperFamily, the Tipuloidea, contains the Families Tipulidae (true Crane Flies), Cylindrotomidae (Long-Bodied Crane Flies), Limoniidae, and Pediciidae (Hairy Eyed Crane Flies). Consequently, the organisms collectively referred to as "Crane Flies" form what is known as a paraphyletic assemblage - namely, a collection of organisms whose "family tree", or, more rigorously, cladogram, contains the common ancestor of all the members of the assemblage, but the resulting tree omits several of the descendants of that common ancestor. Trouble is, even including those missing descendants doesn't escape from the problem that the Family Limoniidae is itself paraphyletic, and taxonomists are working on solving the issues arising from this anomaly. Working out the topology of the tree structure to eliminate the anomaly is proving to be, let's call it "challenging" shall we? :)

These are pretty diverse organisms, with the SuperFamily Tipuloidea containing over 15,000 species worldwide. The Trichoceroidea is a much smaller assemblage, with just 160 species worldwide, and as a consequence of being little studied in the past compared to other insect groups, in need of a sustained research effort to fill in some significant gaps in knowledge.

As for the other organisms mentioned here, the Opiliones (Harvestmen) are known to comprise 6,650 species to date, with a possible final tally of 10,000 or more species being possible, once the requisite taxonomic work is complete. While this assemblage is monphyletic (the "family tree" or cladogram contains the common ancestor and all descendants thereof), the position of the clade within the Class Arachnida still requires resolving. One interesting difference between the Opiliones and the spiders, is that the former lack venom glands associated with their chelicerae, and indeed, several other anatomical differences have led to some headaches determining the relative positions of the Opiliones and the spiders within the Arachnida.

Meanwhile, there's a third group of organisms known as "Daddy Long Legs", namely the Cellar Spiders (Family Pholcidae), just to add to the confusion. :)

Incidentally, the Opiliones boast an impressive fossil record compared to many other Arthropods, with exceptionally well preserved specimens dating back to 400 million years before present, being found in abundance in the Rhynie Chert geological strata in Scotland. Furthermore, a good number of these fossils are anatomically close, or even identical, to several modern lineages, which means that the basic body plan for these organisms was established very early on, and remained unchanged in some lineages for a very long time. Perhaps the canonical example of this is Eophalangium sheari from the Rhynie Chert, dating to the early Devonian. Enjoy learning omre about that species here.

Whatever / Re: Gareth's aka Dragonman's bio
« on: May 02, 2020, 11:40:48 AM »
Whoops, for some reason, it's appeared ... but only if I view his name on the "Challenge" or "10-letter" scoreboard. Doesn't appear for the Standard puzzle ... bug report time???

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