Archive for the ‘Invertebrates’ category

Our Insectile Savior…

May 8, 2020


Just as it appeared that we had no defense against the nasty and invasive murder hornets, a champion appears who can beat them at their own game…the praying mantis!  We haven’t seen a battle this epic since Species 8472 handily beat The Borg in Star Trek.  Come to think of it, Species 8472 somewhat resemble praying mantids, who do look rather alien with their triangular heads and all.  It’s a good thing that they don’t grow to six feet in size, or they might want a piece of our action…

It’s no mercy in a viral video depicting such a match-up between the hornet and the mantis, who gets right to work, latching onto the hornet, and eating his head!  Yes, this video is not for the squeamish.  As the hornet operates more through nerve ganglias than a brain, the remaining parts of the hornet continue to try and sting the mantis, all in vain. – – Can we get a collective ewww here?  Thank you…

 

So it would appear that the bad boys of buzzdom can be beaten, and it’s all in a day’s work for our backyard beneficial buddy, the praying mantisHe’s mean and green.- – Who can blame him for doing a victory dance?  Oh yeah, who’s bad?!

 

 

“Murder Hornets” Are Here!

May 4, 2020

Just when you thought that 2020 didn’t have much left to throw at us, we have a new horror. They’re big, and frankly they don’t look real…but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) appropriately nicknamed Murder Hornets, are a thing, and they’re invading North America… 🙀

Not to be confused with killer bees (so very yesterday), Murder Hornets are an invasive species native to Japan that have crossed over the Canadian border into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where they’ve been found in the state of Washington. An impressive two inches in size, Murder Hornets pose a serious threat to already beleaguered honeybee populations, which they can decimate within hours. These giant aggressive hornets bite off the heads of bees, then kind of mash up the thorax of their victims to take home to feed to their larvae. It all sounds like a bad SyFy channel movie…perhaps a script begs to be written for Killer Bees vs. Murder Hornets (No Matter Who Wins, We Lose)!

Now Murder Hornets have a stinger long enough to penetrate a typical beekeeper’s protective outfit, and the sting of multiple insects can be as lethal as snake venom. About 50 people are killed annually in Japan from the hornets, whose sting is likened by victims to having hot metal driven into the flesh. Experts advise, “Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us!” Sounds prudent to me, but the running away part might not be easy; they can fly at 25 mph. Serious efforts are underway to track and limit the spread of the insects before it’s too late…

It’s said that the hornets don’t ordinarily attack humans unless threatened. Be careful not to do this, knowing that the right lawyer could probably get a Murder Hornet charge downgraded to a Manslaughter Hornet offense… 🦊

 

Geico’s “Lobster Hot Tub Party”..

March 11, 2019


I have often walked past the lobster tank in my local supermarket, pitying the poor doomed creatures within and wishing that I could set them free, like some kind of crustacean messiah. In a recent Geico commercial, I can imagine one such liberated lobster enjoying his freedom, sitting in the corner of a hot tub, his claws spread wide as he enjoys the tub jets. There are also two newlywed humans in the far corner of the tub with him.

“I can’t believe it!,” says the guy as he looks at his phone. “That there’s a lobster in the tub with us?,” questions his new wife. It seems that the guy is more incredulous about how much they saved on car insurance with Geico, and how easy it was to do it. The mellow lobster, voiced by H. Michael Croner, asks if the couple is staying at the hotel, and congratulates them when he learns they’re newlyweds. Marriage is not for him, however, as he’s afraid of committment…he’s been boiled alive! The hotel chef appears at this point, looking for the lobster and causing him to duck underwater. We can understand when the lobster reappears, and proclaims that the chef is “the worst!” If you look carefully, the lobster appears to redden somewhat as the commercial progresses…

This cool crustacean can hang out in my bathtub anytime, and should the Lobster Liberation Army ever stage it’s move, I’m maintaining my innocence…

 

 

 

 

High Octopi…

September 24, 2018

 

There are worse things to do to an octopus than make them high; like eating them, perhaps.  Octopuses are also normally rather antisocial creatures to the extent that they’ll fight each other to the death, much like Republicans and Democrats.

Their antisocial tendencies together with their intelligence made them alluring subjects to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who environmentally exposed octopuses to MDMA, the psychoactive ingredient in the party drug ecstasy.  The serotonin-enhanced octopuses were then allowed access to separate chambers in one of which resided Star Wars action figures, while the other housed an undrugged male octopus.

The drugged octopuses forsook Chewbacca and a storm trooper to go all touchy-feely on the other octopus, wanting to hang out with and touch him!  Although their brains are vastly different from human, octopus behavior on the drug was similar to that of humans in terms of enhancing social behaviors.  With six more arms to hug with, it must have been quite a love-in (“His tentacles seemed to be everywhere!,” she testified).

The social enhancement behaviors were seen only in octopuses given exposure to an MDMA dosage equivalent to what a human might take; higher dosage levels resulted in the creatures lying around and staring at things, again much like humans.  And if you see a huggy octopus hanging around, please don’t send them my way.  I’ve nothing against them, but I only party with mammals… (Octopus’s Garden by The Beatles plays in the background)

Giant Purple Blobs Invading SF Bay!

September 7, 2018

Vintage science fiction movies cautioned us to “Watch the skies!,” but perhaps they better could have advised us to watch the seas, because you never know what’s gonna wash up.  Submitted for your approval is one such example, a large purple blob of the type that has washed ashore along California, even in San Francisco Bay.  

Sadly it’s not alien, but is only a harmless sea slug, measuring up to 30 inches long and weighing up to fifteen pounds, although most are about the size of a fist. Still living stranded specimens can even pulsate a bit, which led one observer to call 911, thinking that they had found a human heart.  They do have an internal organ-like quality to them.  Normally found off the Mexican coast and the Baja California coast, the large purple slugs are also called sea hares, because their extended antennae are thought to resemble rabbit ears.  They’re just not as cuddly and pet-worthy, but I’m showing a mammalian bias here…

…and isn’t Invasion of the Giant Purple Sea Hares a SyFy Channel movie that begs to be made?!

Kraft’s “Assume Nothing” Lobster Commercial

September 11, 2016

 

wp-1473608307743.jpeg

In a brief surreal commercial for Kraft Foods, we are introduced to Bill, who assumed that an event was a costume party, attending it in a full lobster suit. – – Don’t you hate it when that happens?!  Hapless Bill even inadvertently clouts a woman with a claw when he turns; wouldn’t that make for an interesting lawsuit?  Like Bill, I can relate to social embarrassments, being a fox out of the woodlands myself; the faux pas is my life.

Bill also assumed that his mayo was the best, when Kraft olive oil mayo delivers the taste with half the calories of the competition.  “Assume Nothing!,” we are counseled by the advertiser.  While these are words to live by, this is not to advocate unconditional buying into conspiracy theories despite the fact that it’s an election year…

The Geico Snail…

March 30, 2014

snail

Many of us have had bosses who aren’t too swift, but this guy is an extreme case, mainly because he’s a snail.  Winding ever so slowly through a cubicled workplace, he wears a tie and tiny spectacles, and even leaves a slime trail behind him…how appropriate for a boss! Well, the snail-boss named Mr. Tompkins is greeted by an employee named Todd, and then informs the hapless man that he is fired before crawling slowly away, whistling as he goes!  None of us would have blamed Todd had he then introduced Mr. Tompkins to the sole of his shoe, but justice is rare in the work world.  

The commercial spot begins with two women having coffee, one of which points out that fifteen minutes with Geico can save you 15% or more on car insurance.  “Everyone knows that,” replies the other woman.  Seeking to one up her companion, the first woman then questions whether her associate knows that bad news doesn’t always travel fast, and the snail-boss is offered as an example of the same. One might also learn that slimy invertebrates make poor bosses, something that I can affirm from personal experience…

Termites Are Monsters!

June 13, 2013

termites– – A new Terminix campaign visually supersizes termites and other household pests, making them visually repellent and a disgusting joy to watch.  Rather than the small and largely unseen insects that termites actually are, these are giant, horrific hell-beasts that look fully capable of eating your house and probably anyone inside it as well.  They are delivered to viewers complete with eerie horror-movie sounds and sinister voiceovers; Syfy original movie monsters should be half this good!  One almost expects to see Ellen Ripley and a squadron of space marines appear to dispatch these loathsome and dangerous beasties, getting slaughtered in the process…the termites even have circular buzz-saw type jaws within jaws!

 

…fearmongering sells, ‘ya see, as the political world has long since discovered!

Leggiest Creature!

November 16, 2012

– – When something has more than four legs, it generally tends to inspire a cringe factor.  Something with 750 legs would definitely then register high on the creepy and gross-out scale, and this little beauty is so compact as well; a white millipede named Illacme plenipes, which is Latin for “the pinnacle plentiful feet,” and measures a mere 1 – 3 centimeters long.

Found only in a small area of Northern California and looking like a thread, the millipede also boasts a rudimentary fused mouth with no known function, and hairs on its back that produce a silk-like product.

A useless mouth, and 750 legs (at least in the females)!  A related species in Puerto Rico only has 742.  I thought you’d get a kick out of that…

Along Came A Spider…

August 10, 2012

– – If you are an arachnophobe, this tale is not for you!  It seems that a woman went to China’s Changsa Central Hospital complaining of itching in the left side of her face.–Well, it turned out that the source of her irritation was a spider which had been residing inside the woman’s ear canal for five days!  It had probably set up housekeeping.   The picture shows the actual spider before its removal…

Doctors used a saline solution to flush the spider out in order to avoid having it bite the woman, or burrow deeper into her ear!  Fortunately, the flushing technique was successful.  Speculation was that the spider crept into the woman’s ear as she slept,  brought in while her house was undergoing renovations.  Spiders can be quite the opportunists…

Spiders and insects are appearing in greater numbers this summer due to the warm weather and drought conditions across much of the United States.  As cold-blooded creatures, insects develop faster in heat conditions, producing more generations in a shorter time.   The Orkin folks and other exterminators ought to be able to get some memorable commercials out of this one!  And you thought the giant talking ants were creepy…