Archive for the ‘lollusk’ Category

Thing one: I hope you’ve seen this incredible copepod picture that’s been around the internet. I saw it at Deep Sea News and BoingBoing.

OK, cool photo, but what do copepods have to do with NYC nature? A great fact I learned last year through interesting adventures involving using the Yeshiva University’s library as a work space is that NYC drinking water is not kosher. Because of copepods! They are crustaceans, after all. New York’s wonderful drinking water comes from upstate, and the water is of such a high quality that the water doesn’t get filtered in a way that impedes the copepods from getting in our drinking glasses. So for restaurants and homes to be truly kosher in New York City, the water needs to be filtered. You can read more about this at this website that is all about kosher certification, and of course the New York Times. I find this sort of intersection of faith and science fascinating, personally.

Now onto some different New York City nature. Last week, New York experienced some of the strangest and most unpleasant weather in my tenure here: mid to high 70s, with nearly 100% humidity. It was pretty gross. You know who didn’t find it gross? Fungus. On my walk to work, I saw so many different kinds of fungus that I have never seen before!


Seriously, what is that? Is it just some normal stage in puffball life that I’ve never seen before? In any case, I thought it was super cool.


There were some other ones I couldn’t get good photos of, too, like some lovely blue mushrooms. I think fungus is very cool, but I admit to knowing very little about it, which makes me want to dig out my copy of Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds and do some reading.

And because it’s Friday, I’ll throw in a lollusk for good measure.
The new "Lollusk" GMO Cat-Snail

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It’s that time again:

1. Did you see the incredibly gorgeous squid photography in this boingboing post? If not, please click the link immediatamente.

2. I first saw this video on Deep Sea News. Squideo!

3. io9 has a hilarious post about snails who migrate via avian digestive tract. That’s one way to do it, I guess.

4. I was in my local diving emporium yesterday and they had a very lovely marine life video playing while I was waiting for my stuff to arrive on the magical conveyor belt coming out of the wall. One of the featured animals was the hooded nudibranch. Watching the video, I was all, where are the nudibranchs? Are they under those jellies? Turns out they were those jellies.

Hooded Nudibranchs
(photo: Vlad Karpinsky)

5. Why was I at my local diving emporium? Because this weekend I’m headed out of town, to Maui! I will of course report back with all mollusk findings. I don’t know that I’ll get to see any, but Hawaii has very cool land snails, many of which are endemic. They also have invasive snails. I’ll tell you about what I see regardless. Wish me mollusk (and sea turtle) spotting luck!

6. Have I used this lollusk? I lose track. This one’s a classic anyway.

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Lots of good stuff came across my desk this week.

1. The Encyclopedia of Life has a podcast and their newest episode is about sea slugs. There’s also a recent one about giant squid.

2. Speaking of, giant squid in Florida! Gotta love local news.

3. A snail thought to be extinct isn’t.

4. Punxsutawney Phil he ain’t, but there’s a quahog that predicts how many days of beach weather Cape Cod will be getting this summer.

5. How mucous trails relate to snail mating habits.

6. Here’s a completely terrifying video of a snail eating a worm.

7. As a chaser, here’s a completely adorable video of a snail eating lettuce.

8. Wouldn’t be Friday link time without a lollusk!
funny pictures

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Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve got some links for you:

1. This is a totally fascinating article about how a species of all-male clams hijacks genes from other species when they parasitize their eggs. Super freaky stuff.

2. Also, invasive nudibranchs! I love nudibranchs, but these ones are bad news, as they prey on the native nudibranchs in the Bay Area. Nudibranch adundance is correlated with warming. These “killer” nudibranchs have been moving northward over the years, acting as an indicator for climate change.

Phidiana hiltoni Pugnacious Aeolid
(photo: marlin harms)

3. In octopus news, some researchers at Hebrew University have shown that an octopus can use a single arm to complete a complex task. I’m wondering how they got the octopus to refrain from using its other arms… I’m also bemused by the fact the article claims octopuses are “flexible as ballet dancers.” Come on, give the octopus some credit! It doesn’t have bones; surely it’s more flexible than a ballet dancer.

4. And, of course, a lollusk:

funny pictures - RELEASE DA KRACKON!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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A quick post before I head off to Boston tomorrow for the Mystery Hunt. If you’re unfamiliar with this nerdly ritual, you can read up on wiki or listen to the episode of This American Life that featured Hunt. Then you should delve the archives and solve some puzzles! I wish I knew any puzzles that had anything to do with mollusks off the top of my head, but I don’t.

Back to research: I love the journal PLoS One, mostly just because I have access to the articles without having to borrow someone else’s university access. There have been a couple of cool mollusk ones recently.

* How invasive species, including mollusks, affected the mass extinction in the Late Devonian. I had never thought about invasive species before humans came along facilitate those invasions, so this was an eye opener for me.

* How some burrowing clams that live in the Antarctic region may respond to ocean acidification. Indeed, a more acidic ocean stresses them, but there’s some evidence for a mechanism that will allow them to adapt to future conditions.

And of course, a lollusk:

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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1. My husband, a mollusk enthusiast himself, sent me an email the other day with the title “our cephalopod overlords” and this link to the Daily Mail article about flying squid. Check out these photos.

My first reaction?

Should I be concerned that my husband is reading tabloid garbage like the Daily Mail?

2. Anyway, in actual science news, I absolutely love this story I read on Not Exactly Rocket Science about a marine snail who keeps its bioluminescent organs inside the shell, and when they’re active, the whole shell, which has incredible diffusing properties, glows. Check it out!

3. Sinister! In this study, left-coiling snails survive snake attacks better than right-coiling snails. You can check out the videos of snails surviving and not surviving snake attacks. I certainly wonder if this has to do with some sort of ocular dominance on the part of the snake and how it approaches snails to attack. In any case, this is great fodder for people who like to defend left handedness.

4. And, because I love them, another lollusk.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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Friday Mollusk Linkage!

I have been very remiss in keeping both you and me up to date with mollusk news, so here are a few good things going on in the world.

1. A new glow in the dark squid species discovered! This one’s 70cm long and is bright red with its light producing organs. That’s simply incredible.

2. Speaking of glow in the dark squid, the simply adorable Hawaiian bobtail squid is featured in this here video, being cute and glowy.

3. Thanks to ROVs visiting whale carcasses on the ocean floor, some new species of bone eating snails have been discovered. Whether or not they use symbiotic bacteria to digest bone is an open (and very cool) question.

4. On the design side of things, how about a prosthetic limb modeled after a tentacle? This seems a little creepy, but not really any moreso than a hook, and certainly quite functional!

5. And now, a lollusk! My all time favorite, in fact.

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