Yellow-bellied Bee Assassin (Apiomerus flaviventris)
…a species of Harpactorine assassin bug which is occurs in Arizona and California and Mexico. True to their common names adult A. flaviventris are predatory on bees, using their sharp rostrums to infect digestive enzymes into their prey. Yellow-bellied bee assassins are known to extract resins from plants and apply them to their eggs as defenses against other insects like ants.
Image: ©Anthony Gould
"Psychedelic Jones Moth" (Thaumatographa jonesi)
…a strikingly colored species of Tortricid mot which occurs in eastern North America. Like other members of the subfamily Chlidanotinae T. jonesi is a day-flying moth and has been associated with pine forests. Thaumatographa jonesi is quite rare and as such much of its biology and ecology is not well known and host plant records are not well known.
Semi-off topic, but I wanted to share this adorable weevil, likely a strawberry root weevil, I discovered on my plate after finishing my strawberry cake. I don’t think anyone has ever been as delighted to find a bug in their cake.
Sorry for the absence
I recently moved and there is a bit of an internet connectivity issue… the main one being that we don’t really have any… I hope to have that resolved soon. Thank you guys for your patience!
Sonja: Hides behind a pillow!
Silvia: Checks stuff OUT.
Counter-shading may keep caterpillars out of trouble
Scientists from the Universities of St Andrews and Bristol are studying caterpillars to see how counter-shading, where an animal’s upper body is darker than its lower, provides camouflage.
Because light comes mostly from above, more light usually reaches the top of a body. If an animal is uniformly coloured it therefore appears lighter on top and darker below. Counter-shading is thought to cancel out this effect, making the animal appear more uniform and hence harder to see.
But because these caterpillars spend most of their time hanging upside down beneath a twig, their top half is lighter than their bottom.
The top image shows an upside-down Tau Emperor (Aglia Tau) moth caterpillar appearing to have roughly uniform colouration, but the bottom image shows that it is actually lighter on top.
These scientists are measuring if light-colour interactions do cancel out so that the caterpillar appears uniform. They are using mathematical modelling and behavioural experiments to determine how much harder caterpillars are to spot when their orientation does, or does not match their counter-shading.
Images copyright under CC licence Olivier Penacchio
For more BBSRC camouflage related news go to: http://bit.ly/1fA9gPV