Coughing up a lung

Once again courtesy of Not Exactly Rocket Science comes an article about a rather bizarre (to us at least) factor in the process of arthropod molting: apparently, they also shed the lining of their lungs while they’re at it.

Now, this is a little bit different from what we might imagine (yeah, like discarding [...]

The Great Unused of 2013

I have to admit, I’m really not one for rating things, especially comparatively – top ten lists and all that are not for me. I did it last year, mostly because a prominent blogger would feature any such posts on his own blog as a bit of promotion, so it was blatant opportunism. If [...]

A year goes by fast

Last year about this time, I published a post about my little friends the fishing spiders, whom I call ‘friends’ not because we hang out and hammer down Pepsi together, but because my first photo sale featured one as a subject. Lately, a few have been making themselves obvious, clearly begging to be featured again, so who am I to crush their little spirits? And I say with all honesty, it’s not that I’m avoiding bunny rabbits and ducklings, it’s that I simply have not seen anything cute at all. But still, I know some people don’t want to be greeted with spiders all the time, so I’m including the detailed pics below the break.

A little over a week ago, while staging the photo for the previous post, I espied something that can occasionally be found at the edges of ponds and streams that have plenty of reeds, seen to the left: the molted exoskeleton of a fishing spider. Spiders, and most insects, shed their ‘skins’ as they grow larger, splitting the chitin and squeezing out backwards, and then usually hiding for a while since their new exoskeleton is soft, leaving them much more vulnerable to predators. The translucent molt is left attached to whatever surface was handy, usually mistaken for a dead insect, but it’s instead a clue to be watching for the former owner nearby. When I sat down to take this image, I soon spotted the culprit hiding in the tall grasses. With a stick, I carefully flushed him out, whereupon he panicked and scampered for cover practically underneath me, but then froze and held perfectly still for some really tight closeups.
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