Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

Even though we were in the 40s yesterday with drizzle and rain, spring has finally arrived.  The rest of the week is supposed to be in the 60s.  We have flowers in bloom and flowering trees in their full glory.  A friend of mine has pictures of the cherry trees at Branch Brook Park in NJ on her blog.  All absolutely gorgeous.  Branch Brook Park comprises 360 acres with 4,000 cherry trees, more than anywhere else in the US.  You can find out more about the park here.

Obviously, I can't compete with that, but there are some gorgeous trees around the neighborhood that are pretty darn beautiful too. And in all sizes.  Here are a few I wanted to share.  I took the pictures yesterday morning so the light is not the best, but I think you can still appreciate them.

Listen, can you hear it? Spring's sweet cantata. The strains of grass pushing
through the snow. The song of buds swelling on the vine. The tender timpani
of a baby robin's heart. Spring.
Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider
Northern Exposure, Wake Up Call, 1992.

Just love this little tree.  There are even flowers on the trunk.

All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring,
I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.
Helen Hayes

My neighbor's star magnolia is in full bloom.

And leaves are starting to come out on the trees.

My new blog background is my neighbors' plum tree also showing off its gorgeous self.  Hope you're enjoying spring beauty wherever you are too!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Meditated Misdirection

A lot of animals have false eyespots in order to misdirect predators.  Many predators go for the eye and/or head and having a marking on your body that looks like an eye, but isn't, could save your life.  Eyespots direct the predator toward a less vulnerable part of the body.  At least this has been the theory.  However, some scientists say that these markings are more likely to startle predators, not because they look like eyes, but because they are just that - startling and highly conspicuous.  Critters with false eyespots include fish...

Foureye butterflyfish  Source:  Wikipedia
Oriental flying gurnard   Source:  Wikipedia

butterflies, moths, and their larvae (caterpillars)...
Peacock butterfly   Source:  Wikipedia
Gladeye Bushbrown   Source:  Wikipedia

Spicebush Swallowtail   Source:  Wikipedia 

(That's its rear end by the way, not its actual head.)

Tersa Sphinx moth   Source: Wikipedia

and other bugs.

Spiny flower mantis   Source:  Wikipedia

Eyed Click Beetle   Source: Wikipedia

And birds?  We have the peacock butterfly.  What about its namesake?

Whatever the reason for these markings they certainly make these critters interesting and beautiful.  Having eyespots is a type of mimicry.  For more on that, click here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Silly Shenanigans 8

Definitely time for another Silly Shenanigans post - I haven't done one since last May??  Hard to believe but true.  Enjoy!

And last, but not least, for all the 'Game of Thrones' fans out there...

These all came from the website, specifically, lol cats, Ihasahotdog, animal capshunz and daily squee pages.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Brahmin Beauties

Do you know the difference between moths and butterflies?  Other than their name, of course.  Most moths have feathered or rough edge antennae while a butterfly's antenna is smooth and club or hook shaped.  Moths have a device called a frenulum that joins the forewing to the hind wing while butterflies do not.  Butterflies are most active during the day, but you see moths mostly at night and they are sometimes attracted to lights, hence the phrase 'like moths to a flame'.  There are also many more species of moths than butterflies as moths make up almost 95 percent of the Lepidoptera order to which both belong.  And, generally speaking, moths might be considered the plain Jane cousins of butterflies as they are not as brightly colored.  However, as more species of both moths and butterflies are being discovered and studied, the line between the two is becoming more blurred.  One fabulous example of more intricately 'decorated' moths are the Brahmin moths.

I am fascinated by the beautiful and elaborate pattern of stripes and spots, along with the colors, of these moths that reminds me of inlaid wood.  There are several species in the Brahmaea family.  Found in India and southeast Asia, they can have a wingspan of 6 inches or more. 

Brahmaea wallichii   Source:  Wikipedia

Brahmaea hearseyi   Source:  Wikipedia

This species (above) prefers a montane forest habitat and its common name is the Indonesian owl moth.

Brahmaea japonica   Source:  Wikipedia
You can especially see in this photo how their coloring works so well as camouflage.  This species (above) is also known as the Japanese owl moth; it is found only in Japan.
The European Owl Moth is only found in mountainous areas of southern Italy.
Acanthobrahmaea europaea   Photo by E. Stella  Source:  University of Rome

They are little Brahmin beauties!  Madagascar has some incredible looking moths too.  For more on them, click here.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Sensitive Plant

A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light.
And closed them beneath the kisses of Night.

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;

 And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, from "The Sensitive Plant"

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you
want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly
makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

Little by little spring is on its way.