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Messages - Calilasseia

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Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: May 30, 2023, 04:38:30 AM »
And, some more shots of the same specimen of Large Red Damselfly:

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: May 30, 2023, 04:37:19 AM »
Also spotted at the same location was this Large Red Damselfly:

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: May 30, 2023, 04:34:18 AM »
And now here's Part 2:

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: May 30, 2023, 04:33:21 AM »
More butterfly photos!

This time from an expedition to a location called Flaxmoss, near Hatchmere in rural Cheshire (visited 2023/05/17). This is a peat bog with lots of Bilberry growing therein, which is the larval foodplant for the Green Hairstreak butterfly. I visit the site with a colleage on a regular annual basis (along with another site near Nunsmere, that also hosts this species).

Usually, we have to spend an hour or so tramping around the peat bog in our wellies until a specimen shows up, then hope that it remains still long enough for us to take photos. This year, we were extra lucky. A specimen appeared within about 30 seconds of our arrival, and posed for the camera for eight minutes!

Here's the photos of that specimen (part 1):

Whatever / Re: Butterflies
« on: May 18, 2023, 06:43:12 AM »
I certainly didn't know that all lepidoptera started out as night flying insects (although I'm not sure how such a statement can be made about something that happened 100 million years ago!)

Anatomical comparison. Find fossils with anatomical features comparable to relevant present day organisms, and it's likely that they shared a similar ecological niche and lifestyle.

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: May 17, 2023, 11:12:26 PM »
And now comes the special part ... yes, I achieved a once in a lifetime moment, when I persuaded the Orange Tip to pose on my hand for photos ... !!!

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: May 17, 2023, 11:10:30 PM »
I've been meaning to post this for some time, but keep being distracted. I shall now remedy that deficit, and by doing so, introduce everyone to a once in a lifetime moment!

Preamble: male Orange Tip butterfies are ceaselessly active in the sunshine. They'll patrol a section of greenspace for literally hours on end, looking for a female to mate with, occasionally pausing for a very short time at a flower to tank up on nectar before resuming what I refer to as their "long range bombing missions" :)

As a consequence, finding a male Orange Tip resting is largely a matter of luck.

So, cue April 26th, 2023. I spot a male Orange Tip on the wing as I'm returning home from some shopping, flitting about the greenery adjacent to the cycle track I use for commuting. Then, to my surprise, it settled on a dandelion clock.

At that same moment, a cloud crossed in front of the Sun, and as a consequence, the male Orange Tip reamined still for, wait for it, thirteen mnutes!

I dropped the bicycle, took the camera out of the bag, and started shooting. The photos I'm posting are the end result. Wait until you see what happened as I post these photos!

First, the specimen let me zoom in extra close to it, so I managed the extreme head close-ups you see below. But there's more ... watch this space ...

Indeed, even as a Pom, I'm familiar with the term "bogan", spelt in that manner, as Australian slang for an uncouth or ill-mannered person, frequently with connotations of low level criminal behaviour.

My understanding is that the term arose as being applied to persons of this sort clustered in an area outside Sydney, adjacent to the Bogan River (yes, such a geographical feature exists in Australia!).

Words / Re: SUASION common?
« on: March 31, 2023, 10:40:57 AM »
The term moral suasion appears in pretty much every economics textbook that covers Keynesian economics. An example from one such textbook being the use of various forms of sanction policy to dissuade powerful economic entities from misbehaving, such as, for example, threatening commercial banks with nationalisation if they charge exorbitant interest rates on domestic or small business loans.

Whatever / Re: Questions about Australia
« on: March 27, 2023, 01:15:22 PM »
I have just been reminded, courtesy of this, of a song by the Scared Little Weird Guys, called Come to Australia .

You can listen to it here ... :D

Say Hello / Re: Happy birthday, pat!
« on: March 18, 2023, 09:16:51 PM »
Bit late to this party, but if you're still in the tropics, here's hoping some extra special rare birds pose for your camera to celebrate ... :)

Words / Re: Saturday 8 January 7-by-many MUSCLEMEN puzzle
« on: February 23, 2023, 09:46:46 AM »
No idea  ;D ;D ;D - I work on the basis: if you don't ask, you don't get and am an inveterate optimist...

It will surprise no one that I originally read that as "invertebrate optimist" ... :D

However, there is one issue that does sometimes puzzle me - namely that while I understand that regular plural nouns are excluded from the database, surely this should not apply to verb forms that happen to resemble noun plurals by way of spelling?

Indeed, ceases provides possibly a canonical example, as it is not only a verb, but a 3rd person singular present tense form. Yes, this spelling also appears in present tense plural forms, but that's a consequence of English increasingly dispensing with declension and fully inflected conjugation over the passage of time.

I am also at this juncture wondering how hilarious it would be, to try and construct a Latin version of the game, with all manner of rules that would include or exclude the myriad inflected forms that pervade the vocabulary ... :D

If that isn't a daunting enough prospect, try a Classical Greek version ... made all the more difficult by the existence of grammatical constructs not found in other languages, such as the middle voice and optative mood for verbs, not to mention Greek verbs being based upon aspect instead of tense ...

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: February 23, 2023, 09:32:27 AM »
The tortoise beetle looks like it's been dipped in gold!!!  :o :o :o

You'll find that a considerable number of beetle species across the planet exhibit striking metallic iridescence. The fun part being that Australia has some especially dramatic looking examples, and some from WA can be viewed here.

As well as the Family Buprestidae, aptly known as Jewel Beetles, iridescent species can be found in the Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles, including several of the Tortoise Beetles, which in some cases combine iridescence with transparent parts of the exoskeleton) and the Scarabeidae (Scarab Beetles). In the latter Family, some species are wonderfully metallic looking - Chrysina resplendens from Costa Rica looks as if it was fashioned as a piece of jewellery from a gold ingot!

The iridescence observed in these beetles arises from constructive interference of different wavelengths of light, as they are refracted and reflected in nanostructures in the exoskeleton. The mechanism is similar to that allowing Morpho butterflies to exhibit startling blue iridescence, which in some species is visible over a kilometre away across forest clearings.

I'm reminded at this juncture of a chemist who quipped "all that glisters may not be gold, but at least it contains free electrons" (referring to the behaviour of electrons in metals), only to be dumbfounded when presented with a specimen of Chrysina resplendens ... :D

Whatever / Re: Bird bug & dog people etal
« on: February 22, 2023, 05:06:51 AM »
Bleh, forgot to follow up on the matter of Styx infernalis ...

This is a white butterfly with deep brown or black wing veins, and probably would not attract much attention from anyone from the UK.

However, this butterfly caused headaches for taxonomists for over a century.

The reason for this?

When butterflies are dissected, in professional scientific work, it becomes pretty obvious in a short period of time, where your specimen will fit in the Lepidoptera family tree.

Skippers (Family Hesperiidae), for example, pretty much stand out from all the other Families very quickly indeed, and likewise, it's pretty easy to allocate a specimen to the Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails etc.), because these tend to be pretty unmistakable as well.

Two Families that sometimes require a little more work are the Lycaenidae (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks and relations), and the Riodinidae (Metalmarks). Separating them occasionally requires extra attention to detail, but usually, this isn't a big problem, because each Family has its own set of anatomical idiosyncrasies, that once found, make the placement of any newly discovered species more time consuming than actually difficult. At least, once you've gained the requisite experience and know what to look for.

Then along came Styx infernalis . Which threw a whole bag of spanners into the process.

This is because this otherwise unassuming little butterfly, when first examined, appeared to be a "parts bin" special, with anatomical features taken from no less than four different Families. Or so it seemed, even when microscopes were brought into play.

As a consequence, this butterfly has been moved around the Lepidoptera family tree to a hilarious extent. Some taxonomists placed it in the Lycaenidae, others in the Danaidae, yet others in the Riodinidae, and at least one taxonomist decided that it was such an anatomical outlier that it deserved its own Family, the Stygidae.

Only with the advent of DNA sequencing, was the mystery finally resolved, and the butterfly finally assigned to the Riodinidae, where it stands out as being unique among the Metalmarks. Though it's perhaps not surprising that it's South American, as South America is the true home of this Family.

We have but one species in Europe, about 15 to 20 in Asia, about another 15 or so in Australia, and a respectable 100 or so in North America. Go to Central and South America, however, and there's nearly two thousand species to choose from. Peru alone has something like 900 of them. Chances are that Costa Rica has at least 250 species to choose from when Pat steps off the plane and heads for the nearest decent sized patch of rainforest.

In addition, many of the Metalmarks live up to their name, being decorated with iridescent metallic spangles in a range of hues, with blue or red being popular colour choices. Some of the more interesting ones are solid metallic blue with eye spots, and if there are any Ancyluris or Rhetus species present, these are a blast, though I'm more used to hearing of these being found in Amazonian Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.

Meanwhile, since Costa Rica has come up as a topic, look out for the native Orthoptera of that locality ... I guarantee you'll use up at least half a gigabyte of camera storage on them when you discover how utterly bizarre some of them are ... :)

Words / Re: Thursday 2 December Standard THICKNESS puzzle
« on: February 20, 2023, 11:07:26 AM »
Then of course, there's the fun and games involved with assorted terms from the various sciences, or from disciplines such as software development, which on their own could double the size of the dictionary ... :)

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