on a recent beach stroll on the northern new south wales coast, i came across small weird-looking blue-and-white creatures with lots of appendages. having washed ashore, they looked more like unshapely blobs, but as soon as they got into a bit of water, they unfolded into a beautiful combination of shape and colour.
common names of this creature (glaucus atlanticus) are blue dragon, sea swallow or blue angel. [more...]
spider wasps (pompilidae) are – in a nutshell – really badass insects.
to provide food for their larvae, these wasps go hunting for spiders that are usually bigger than themselves. spiders are paralysed, placed in a small burrow or tunnel, and used as fresh food for a single egg/larva that is laid into them just before the nest is closed.
carrying something around that’s heavier than yourself is obviously quite a bit of work. here’s a short image sequence which shows how the wasp hauls its prey across the ground: [more...]
this short-beaked echidna (tachyglossus aculeatus) crossed our way near 90-mile beach. it kept going back and forth across the road at the blindest bend in kilometres. while generally afraid of me, it apparently felt very interested in my camera(s) and kept chasing my lens – a tremendous help when trying to lure it off street.
echidnas, or spiny ant-eaters, are peculiar little mammals that lay a single egg directly into their pouch. [more...]
i was genuinely surprised at what i found in the bathroom the other day:
(click to refocus, click & drag to shift perspective)
note: first i was under the impression that the green tree frogs (one in the other sink as well) were trapped, but they are able to get out by themselves. i guess it’s easier when all your bones small and flexible.
an amazing saturday out in the blue mountains with amy and glen.
apart from stunning landscapes, we saw wild kangaroos (incl. a baby hopping across the road), a superb lyrebird (watch david attenborough’s bbc clip if you haven’t heard about it), glow worms (arachnocampa richardsae; got to see arachnocampa luminosa a few years ago), and beautiful flowers all around. it is spring here, after all. :)
botanical highlights include the endemic species grevillea acanthifolia ssp. acanthifolia and grevillea laurifolia and, to our surprise, some still flowering specimens of waratha (telopea speciosissima), the floral emblem of new south wales.
pictures after the break. [more...]
lytro recently released manual controls for their lightfield camera. here are some action shots from the dog park, taken at 1/250 s fixed shutter speed:
last night, i deported the biggest harvestman (daddy longlegs, order opiliones) i’ve ever seen from our restroom, and helped it get back to nature.
the biologist in me couldn’t but take some pictures and measurements first. :)
the harvestman had a total diameter of 13 cm. it used the longest of its legs – which was significantly longer than the others – to feel its way forward when walking!
here’s some picture proof:
some living pictures after the break… [more...]