Orchard orb weaver spider videos


This video from the USA says about itself:

10 December 2016

Large Orchard Orb Weaver Spider with a choice web over a small stream with a nice sound. This is prime real estate and this big Orb weaver is not sharing its space with others. It is fairly common for small Orchard Orb Weavers to share a tangle of webs until they get larger. As is typical this big spider has multiple layers of webs making an effective 3D construction.

Another video of a smaller version of this spider is below here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Orchard Orb Weaver Spider catching and eating a Carpenter Ant. This Orb Weaver spider is relatively common in Florida and looks like it has red lights glowing on it for defensive purposes, Despite the appearance of two bright red triangles on its abdomen that look like at first glance like an hourglass it is not poisonous like the Black Widow – its “teeth” would have trouble penetrating human skin in any case, but it is very beneficial feasting mostly on mosquitoes and small flies.

These colorful, delicate spiders make circular webs that are usually positioned horizontally or at an angle to the ground, and they typically hang in the middle of their webs. The carapace appears yellow-green, darker on the sides. The abdomen is somewhat elongated and can be variably colored with silver, greens, yellows, reds and some blues. The legs are slender and long.

Extinct Polynesian snails are back on Tahiti


This November 2016 video, in English from the Netherlands, says about itself (translated):

For the first time ARTIS zoo in Amsterdam has released Polynesian tree snails into their original habitat in Tahiti. It is about Polynesian tree snails, extinct in the wild (Partula nodosa).

Along with several international zoos ARTIS tries to save three tree snail species. The Insectarium of ARTIS has arranged a special breeding facility since December 2015 for reproduction of three tree snail species. In less than a year in ARTIS over 200 Polynesian tree snails grew up. In November this year, an ARTIS caretaker flew with 877 snails from various zoos to Tahiti. Small as they are, the snails play an important role in the ecosystem, biodiversity and cultural history of Tahiti. Read more here.

European mole cricket video


This is a 2016 European mole cricket video from the Netherlands.

Male spiders caring for youngsters


This video says about itself:

5 December 2016

Rafael Rios Moura says spider moms handle most of the parental care, but not the Manogea porracea species he studied. Both spider parents take responsibility to protect their egg sac. Linda Rayor of Cornell University said, “To the best of my knowledge, there really aren’t other examples where male spiders step up to care for young or eggs.” Sometimes at the cost of their own lives, male Manogea porracea switch from solitary life to a dad-web upstairs, brushing rainwater off egg sacs. Moura hypothesizes that the females are very delicious to predators considering that many females disappeared by the end of breeding season.

From Science News:

First spider superdads discovered
Males give up solitary life to protect egg sacs, spiderlings — often as single parent

By Susan Milius

9:00am, December 5, 2016

The first normally solitary spider to win Dad of the Year sets up housekeeping in a web above his offspring and often ends up as their sole defender and single parent.

Moms handle most parental care known in spiders, says Rafael Rios Moura at the Federal University of Uberlândia in Brazil. But either or both parents care for egg sacs and spiderlings in the small Manogea porracea species he and colleagues studied in a eucalyptus plantation. The dad builds a dome-shaped web above the mom’s web, and either parent will fight hungry invaders looking for baby-spider lunch. In webs with no parents, only about four spiderlings survived per egg sac. But with dad, mom or both on duty, survival more than doubled, the researchers report in the January 2017 Animal Behaviour.

“To the best of my knowledge, there really aren’t other examples where male spiders step up to care for young or eggs,” says Linda Rayor of Cornell University, who has studied spider maternal care. In a group-living Stegodyphus species, some of the males in a communal web will attack intruders, but Manogea dads do much more. They switch from solitary life to a dad-web upstairs, brush rainwater off egg sacs and share defense, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.

Many male web-building spiders stop feeding as adults because they’re out searching for mates instead of catching food with their web, Moura says. Manogea males, however, stick with a female they mated with and build a new food-catching web. Now Moura would like to know whether such commitment makes males unusually choosy about females, he says.

To predators, females “must be very delicious,” Moura says. In the wild he found that many females disappeared, probably eaten, by the end of the breeding season, leaving dads as the sole protector for 68 percent of the egg sacs.

That high female mortality could have been important for evolution of the dads’ care-taking, says behavioral ecologist Eric Yip of Penn State. Just why this species has such high female mortality puzzles him, though.  Females, geared up for egg-laying, have rich nutrient stores. Yet, he says, “that’s generally true for all spiders — that females are going to be more nutritious and males are going to be mostly legs.”

Fijian ants as agriculturists


This video says about itself:

27 November 2016

Scientists on the island of Fiji have discovered a type of ant that plants, fertilizes & guards its own coffee crops. The ant, known as “Phildris nagasau” has been perfecting this practice for millions of years. The ants reportedly don’t just harvest the nectar from the plants, they also use the coffee plants as a place to live. According to the scientists, this is the first ant to build its own home. In an experiment, researchers discovered that the ants plant six different types of coffee plant in the bark of jungle trees.

From Nature:

Obligate plant farming by a specialized ant

Guillaume Chomicki & Susanne S. Renner

21 November 2016

Abstract

Many epiphytic plants have associated with ants to gain nutrients. Here, we report a novel type of ant–plant symbiosis in Fiji where one ant species actively and exclusively plants the seeds and fertilizes the seedlings of six species of Squamellaria (Rubiaceae). Comparison with related facultative ant plants suggests that such farming plays a key role in mutualism stability by mitigating the critical re-establishment step.

South African dung beetle video


This video from South Africa says about itself:

23 November 2016

A dung beetle rolls his dung ball away from a midden before another male comes in and steals it.

Tropical bedbugs back in Florida, USA


This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

Tropical bed bugs emerge after 60 years

11 November 2016

In 2015, a Brevard County family reported finding tropical bed bugs in their home.

From Science News in the USA:

Now there are two bedbug species in the United States

by Sarah Zielinski

9:00am, November 23, 2016

Bedbugs give me nightmares. Really. I have dreamt of them crawling up my legs while I lie in bed. These are common bedbugs, Cimex lectularius, and after largely disappearing from our beds in the 1950s, they have reemerged in the last few decades to cause havoc in our homes, offices, hotels and even public transportation.

Now there’s a new nightmare. Or rather, another old one. It’s the tropical bedbug, C. hemipterus. Its presence has been confirmed in Florida, and the critters could spread to other southern states, says Brittany Campbell, a graduate student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who led a new study that tracked down the pests.

Tropical bedbugs can be found in a geographic band of land running between 30° N latitude and 30° S. In the last 20 years or so, they’ve been collected from Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia, Rwanda and more. Back in 1938, some were collected in Florida. There were more reports of the species in the following years, but none since the 1940s.

Then, in 2015, researchers at the Insect Identification Laboratory at the University of Florida identified bedbugs sent to the lab from a home in Brevard County, Florida, as tropical bedbugs. To confirm the analysis, researchers went to the home and collected more samples. They were indeed tropical bedbugs, the team reports in the September Florida Entomologist.

The family thought that the bedbugs must have been transported unknowingly into the house by one of the people who lived there. But no one living in the home had traveled outside the state recently, let alone outside the country. This suggests that tropical bedbugs can be found elsewhere in Florida, the team concludes.

Additional evidence comes from the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, which holds two female tropical bedbugs that, according to their label, were collected in Orange County, Florida, on June 11, 1989, from bedding. “Whether this species has been present in Florida and never disappeared, or has been reintroduced and remains in small populations, is not currently known,” the researchers write.

Why hasn’t anyone noticed? Well, people don’t usually send bedbugs to entomologists when they have an infestation, and your average victim isn’t going to notice the difference between the two species. “Both species are very similar,” Campbell says. Not only do they look alike, but they also both “feed on blood, hide in cracks and crevices and have similar lifestyles.” Plus, there’s been little research directly comparing the two species, she notes, so scientists don’t know how infestations might differ.

Just to give us all a few more nightmares, Campbell points out something else: While there’s probably no reason to worry that the creepy critters will spread as climate change warms the globe, she says that there is a potential for the species to move north “because humans provide nice conditions for bedbugs to develop.”