What seagulls eat, new research


This 5 March 2020 video from England says about itself:

Seagulls are more likely to pick up food that humans have handled

Seagulls prefer to approach food that has been handled by people, suggesting that the birds may use human cues to find a meal.

Madeleine Goumas at the University of Exeter, UK, says the idea for her research came from observing how seagulls acted around humans. “Are they just looking for food, or are they noticing what people are doing and picking up on their cues?” she says.

Read more here.

The video shows a herring gull.

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations, 16 nominees!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that 🙂

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty 🙂

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs; and asking them seven questions.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2020?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. Mizspellt wurdz

2. Take a Shot -Facing Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety and Suicide

3. GOT NAJAF’S BLOG

4. Escribir sobre la punta de la i

5. Music Politics Sports

6. Artistcoveries

7. THE FLENSBURG FILES

8. The Immortal Jukebox

9. Gadhanevaala- The storyteller

10. Scroll Down – Read Things – Love ‘em

11. Levine Lowdown

12. We Liked Food Related

13. Coach Your Tribe

14. Politics Unraveled

15. Didis Art Design

16. Evermore Designs By Lyn

Blue iguanas fight against extinction


This 14 March 2020 video from the Cayman Islands says about itself:

Blue Iguana Fights Extinction and Wins!

On this episode of On Location, Mark and the crew are in one of the most remote parts of Grand Cayman Island to meet a lizard that was brought back from the brink of extinction! The Blue Iguana is one of the most beautiful and rarest iguanas on the planet. Meet Peter, a true ambassador for his species!

Get ready, you’re about to see a blue iguana that fought extinction and WON!

Nicaraguan Lady Gaga treehopper species discovery


This 11 March 2020 video is called New bug species named after Lady Gaga due to its “wacky fashion sense”.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau in the USA:

Grad student names new treehopper species after Lady Gaga

She represents a new genus and species of treehopper, one of the most diverse bug groups on the planet

March 10, 2020

According to Brendan Morris, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, treehoppers are the wackiest, most astonishing bugs most people have never heard of. They are morphological wonders, sporting bizarre protuberances that look like horns, gnarled branches, antlers, fruiting fungi, brightly colored flags or dead plant leaves. Treehoppers suck on plant juices. They sing to each other by vibrating plant stems. And they are an important food source for other forest creatures.

“I love outrageous forms and colors,” said Morris, who studies entomology at the U. of I. “It blows my mind that a group that is roughly 40 million years old has so much diversity of form — diversity, I would argue, that we don’t see in any other family of insects.”

To draw attention to this group, Morris named a newly discovered treehopper species after Lady Gaga, a musical performer who has her own flamboyant, shape-shifting style.

“If there is going to be a Lady Gaga bug, it’s going to be a treehopper, because they’ve got these crazy horns, they have this wacky fashion sense about them,” Morris said. “They’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”

The insect, now known as Kaikaia gaga, also represents a new genus of treehopper, Morris and his coauthor, INHS entomologist Christopher Dietrich, reported in the journal Zootaxa. Her features — the bug is female — differentiate her from other treehoppers found with her nearly 30 years ago in a tropical forest near the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. She was one of about 1,000 specimens Morris borrowed from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh as part of his research.

Insect taxonomists look primarily at head and body shapes, leg and body hairs and genitalia to differentiate one bug group from another. When Morris looked at this particular specimen under a stereoscope, he noticed some unusual characteristics.

A part of the thorax — just behind the head — was horned, like many other specimens, but the leg hairs differentiated it from the other tribes of treehoppers he had seen.

“Also, the frontoclypeus, which is kind of like the face, was shaped totally different,” Morris said. “And the genitalia looked more like treehoppers from the Caribbean or this Old-World group, Beaufortianini.”

That last observation was strange, because treehoppers are believed to have originated in the Americas. More research — specifically genetic research — will begin to explain why K. gaga shares traits with Old-World treehoppers.

Morris has tried to extract DNA from his one, 30-year-old specimen, but so far has had no luck. He will travel to Nicaragua to see if he can find any living Kaikaia gaga specimens in the same forest where this one was collected.

In the meantime, he is working hard to share his enthusiasm for this largely overlooked bug group, which is found in most forested areas of the planet.

“Treehoppers are wacky, and I think that makes them especially suited to be spokesbugs for the wide range of habitats they use,” Morris said.

The INHS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. The National Science Foundation supported this research.