Sunday, 30 August 2009

Not the Heaviest Insect

Several news sources, mainly in Australia, have been reporting that a Macropanesthia cockroach (the one pictured is called Heathcliffe) may be a contender for heaviest insect in the world.

THIS IS NOT TRUE (at all). These cockroaches can sometimes approach a weight of 40g. The heaviest recorded phasmid (Heteropteryx dilatata) exceeds this weight regularly. Additionally many beetles weigh in excess of 50g, and some even 100g, so poor Heathcliffe has absolutely no chance at the title.

It is a pretty amazing cockroach though.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

I get SPAM....

Somebody has taken it upon themselves to comment on my NYC Cricket Crawl post. Unfortunately they, or their automated blog-spammer, has made a fatal mistake:

"Shane Warne – The best bowler Australia has ever produced has opened up his mind to the media. He exposed his discontent regarding umpires. According to the ace spinner barring a few exceptions like Simon Tauter and ASAP Rauf other umpires went awry in terms of performance .Expressing disappointment that the standard of umpiring has deteriorated to the worst extent in the past twenty years of time he opined that though umpiring was a hard job, the performances of the umpires in the Ashes series had been consistently so ordinary. As far as Warne is concerned umpire Billy Bowden whom he expected to deliver correct judgments was also not consistent in performing his duty.
The spinner repents that there are too many instances of such bad judgments, which is increasingly becoming a cause of concern. He directly made a mention of names of umpires Daryl Harper and Billy Bowden, accusing them to be adamant in not confessing their wrong judgments. He also tried to strengthen his claim by mentioning that several players were not having a good opinion about those umpires in their minds. Warne insisted that the umpires should maintain a friendly attitude towards the players by shedding their high-handed attitude Warne also expressed his view repetitively that fifty over match should be withdrawn once for all as if such a change is brought about it would enable the players to spend more time with their families and relieve them from "

So there... the only real sport ever mentioned on this blog so far....

Monday, 24 August 2009

New York Cricket Crawl

This sounds like a pretty neat event. On the 11th September (or 12th if the 11th is called off due to rain) from 19:45 you can go out and listen to the 7 orthopterans found within New York City.

For more details go here or contact There is also a Facebook group.

Jellyfish Mix the Oceans

This video shows a luminescent dye being delivered into the path of a swimming jellyfish. As the jellyfish swims through the dye you will notice that it "carries" some of the dye along behind it. The dye is not actually carried, but "follows" the jellyfish as its forward movement causes a low-pressure area behind it that the dyed water moves in to equalise.

In this way it has been proposed that jellyfish contirbute significantly to the mixing of the oceans.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

My Unbirthday Card

As I was away for my birthday (in the New Forest) my friend and colleague Natalie constructed me this unbirthday card, expressing in symbols our joint frustration at entomological common names. Small prizes awarded to anyone who makes cool equations (with pictures) along the same lines. If need be e-mail them to me edwbaker {at} gmail [dot] com.

Cockoaches and Mites

"Thinking of keeping a giant roach as a pet? Make sure it's infested with beneficial parasites firs" from PopSci.

Aeshna mixta (Migrant Hawker)

I found this yesterday outside of the first phase of the Darwin Centre, Natural History Museum, London. The individual was stationary for around four hours in the shade.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

If you go out in the woods today....

...don't do this.

I have only ever once encountered a couple in flagrante while out in the wild. It wasn't pretty.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Phyllium giganteum

National Geographic has a piece on 'The Art of Deception' in it's latest issue. I identified this species for them, and another that they didn't use (like the quotes I provided). Oh well, here I make a pathetic, needy claim for minor credit! Check out more photos here.


This octopus weighs in at 600lb (just over 270kg in real units) - and it fits through a tube the size of a quarter (thats about the size of 10p in real money).

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Robber Fly (Asilidae)

Robber Fly (Asilidae)
Originally uploaded by edwbaker
Karen James wanted the sordid story of this photo I added to Flickr. This is a robber fly (family Asilidae). It has a short, sharp proboscis that it uses to inject chemicals into its prey, first to paralyse them and then to digest them before it sucks out the resulting nutrient rich juice. You can see the two large compound eyes clearly, and the moustache of stout hairs (the mystax) which protects these eyes when dinner isn't too keen on being eaten.

Deep Sea News

I've been a bit rubbish at checking ye olde Google Reader recently, so missed this. I scanned the article for Kevin at Deep Sea News. Incidentally - Deep Sea News has moved to a new site recently,