Thursday 23 February 2012

Thursday 9 February 2012

In the News: Mating call of an extinct bush-cricket rings out again after 165m years

From the Guardian: Mating call of an extinct bush-cricket rings out again after 165m years

A love song that carried on the wind through the ancient forests of the late Jurassic has been reconstructed by scientists in Britain. 
Researchers pieced together the staccato mating call of the long-gone creature, a distant relative of the modern bush-cricket, from fossilised remains unearthed in Mongolia. 
The insect's body and wings were preserved in such exquisite detail that specialists in bioacoustics at Bristol University could measure the parts used to produce mating calls and recreate the sounds. The cricket, Archaboilus musicus, lived 165m years ago, when much of northwest China was a sparse forest of coniferous evergreens and giant ferns. "This is one of the oldest mating calls ever reconstructed from a fossil," lead researcher Fernando Montealegre Zapata told the Guardian.

Read More

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Wrong Superhero

From xkcd: Wrong Superhero

In the News: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo available to buy

From the AES: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo available to buy

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo is a film that delves into the ineffable mystery of Japan's age-old love affair with insects. A labyrinthine meditation on nature, beauty, philosophy and Japanese culture that might just make you question if your 'instinctive' repulsion to bugs is merely a trick of western conditioning. 
Like a detective story, the film untangles the web of influences behind Japan's captivation with insects. It opens in modern-day Tokyo where a single beetle recently sold for $90,000 then slips back to the early 1800s, to the first cricket-selling business and the development of haiku and other forms of insect literature and art. Through history and adventure, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo travels all the way back in time to stories of the fabled first emperor who named Japan the "Isle of the Dragonflies". 
Along the way the film takes side trips to Zen temples and Buddhist Shrines, nature preserves and art museums in its quest for the inspirations that moved Japan into this fascination while other cultures hurtled off towards an almost universal and profound fear of insects. 
After many excellent screenings throughout the world the film is now available to own: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Read More

From the Blogs: Never trust a cute fly...

From the Curator of Diptera's Blog: Never trust a cute fly...

"It is made more unusual as most nasal botflies directly lay their eggs into the nasal cavity. So the first instar stage uses its large mouth hooks and spines on its back to pull itself along from the eye to drop down into the nasal cavity. I have just tried looking up images for this and even for me, have decided that may be too much….. 
It is generally found in large ruminants such as deer but can be problematic in sheep. It has been found in man although these cases are exceptionally rare I hasten to add. There was a case were large numbers of first instar larvae were deposited in the ear!!"

Read More