Tits and magpie

This video from England is called Great tit mother on feeder.

A few days ago, a bird feeder was fastened at the back balcony of the flat.

A combination of the feeder and balcony plants attracts great tits (and a blue tit? It was too fast to be sure).

On the other side, a magpie eating crumbs outside the window.


New insect species discovered on Easter Island

A new insect species was discovered in a cave on Easter Island. The bug is about 1 mm long, or smaller than a grain of rice. Credit: Jut Wynne, Northern Arizona University

From LiveScience:

New Species Discovered on Damaged Easter Island

By Clara Moskowitz, Senior Writer

posted: 14 October 2010 11:57 am ET

Scientists recently uncovered a new species of tiny insect in a cave on Easter Island. The find is exciting because most of the island’s native life has gone extinct, researchers said.

The still-unnamed insect was discovered in a cave within the Roiho lava flow in west-central Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui) in the South Pacific Ocean. The species – roughly the size of a grain of rice – is a type of book louse, in the order Psocoptera, the family Lepidopsocidae and the genus Cyptophania.

“This could be very important for piecing the natural history of the island together,” said research leader Jut Wynne, ecologist with the Colorado Plateau Research Station at Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. candidate in biology at Northern Arizona University.

The Polynesian island is famous for its hundreds of huge statues called moai, and for its tumultuous history.

In the 19th century, the slave trade and introduced European diseases decimated much of the indigenous human population.

The environment, too, has suffered from large-scale farming and the introduction of non-native species such as rats that flourished and devoured indigenous creatures. …

“This was once a tropical island with tropical vegetation,” Wynne told OurAmazingPlanet. “Now it basically looks like Scotland. We’re talking about an environment that has been completely transformed” from forest to grassland.

Where once tropical plants flourished, now the land is covered by grass and non-native forest. Today, livestock grazing, human tourism, climate change and the introduction of new non-native species threaten the indigenous ecosystem further.

Almost all of the organisms currently living on Easter Island are invasive species that have been introduced, Wynne said.

Hiding out in caves

But the scientists think some native creatures may have had better luck in the relatively protected environments of caves, which preserve some elements of the native ecosystem of the island.

The researchers embarked on a quest to search through these caves, “scrambling around on our hands and knees,” Wynne said. After a while he began to notice promising signs.

“Once you’re trained to look for these types of critters, they tend to jump out at you,” Wynne said.
The new book louse species was the first such example discovered, but the researchers think there’s a good chance their work will find more.

“That’s why this is really interesting from a scientific standpoint,” Wynne said. “Maybe we can find more organisms that are residual fauna that have been able to weather the environmental degradation on the island by retreating to caves.”

However, the scientists cannot yet be sure that the new species is actually native to Easter Island. It may also be an introduced species from somewhere else in Polynesia, perhaps, that has just not been catalogued elsewhere before.

Check out ten amazing extinct animals — ancient and more modern: here.

“Early Americans colonized Easter Island”: here.

Trouble in paradise for Chile’s Easter Island: here.

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New deepsea snailfish species discovered

The new snailfish speciesFrom the BBC:

Thursday, 14 October 2010 16:20 UK

Deep void yields new fish species

By Victoria Gill
Science and nature reporter, BBC News

Biologists have discovered a new species of fish in one of the world’s deepest ocean trenches, previously thought to be entirely devoid of fish.

They captured images of the creature, a type of snailfish, in the Peru-Chile trench in the south-east Pacific Ocean.

The trench is more than 8,000m deep; the fish were found at 7,000m.

This is the fifth deep trench the team has investigated and they found it to harbour the greatest diversity of species of any they have explored.

Dr Alan Jamieson, the University of Aberdeen marine biologist who led the study, said that he and his team also captured images of a group of cusk-eels in what he described as a “feeding frenzy”.

“The eels were at 6,000m and we’ve never seen anything at that particular depth before,” he told the BBC.

“I’d put money on [the cusk-eels] being a new species too, but that’s difficult to confirm from a few photographs. We really need to bring a specimen to the surface.”

During a three-week expedition, the team used a lander containing a deep-sea camera. This took 6,000 images inside the trench, between 4,500m and 8,000m (15,000 – 26,000 feet).

As well as the snailfish and cusk-eels, the team also captured images of several crustaceans – scavengers that feed on the remains of larger animals.

See also here.

See also here.

Researchers from The University of Western Australia undertaking deepwater ocean trawls of the Peru-Chile trench off South America are believed to have discovered three new fish species: here.

Why do fish gills only work in water? Here.

US American women’s history

WeNews Interviews People About Women’s History from Women's eNews on Vimeo.

From Women’s eNews in the USA, about New York City:

To get jazzed up for the launch of “Opening the Way,” our new women’s history walk of downtown Manhattan, we hit the streets to talk to some people about women’s history. How much did they know about Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Elizabeth Jennings, and others? And did they know that these pioneers for change worked right in downtown Manhattan?

Opening the Way launches on October 23rd. Learn more about the walk and get tickets here: womensenews.org/​openingtheway

UK coalition government abolishes women’s advisory body: here.