Category: Organism of the week

Organism of the week #21 – Flying machines

Flying machines [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It is frequently, and largely accurately, said that an area of Amazon rainforest the size of Wales is deforested every year. Horrendous though this statistic is, it’s worth remembering that the UK deforested an area at least the size of Wales (including most of the area commonly known as “Wales”) before anyone started keeping notes. The UK’s track record at maintaining its biodiversity has been – …

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Organism of the week #20 – Don’t point that thing at me

Diadema setosum [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s amazing how informative an anus can be. Take this sea urchin. The orange pucker in the middle of the spines is its “around-the-bum”, although zoologists would insist on writing that in Greek as “periproct“. The bright orange ring-piece is characteristic of this species, and marks it out as Diadema setosum, rather than any of …

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Organism of the week #19 – Bird-brained humans

Corvus corone [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Most people who want to attract birds to their gardens put out bird-seed, or – if they’re really adventurous – mealworms. However, on the East London dockside where I lived until recently, one of the residents strewed the quayside with livers in December last year. Was this was a deliberate ploy to attract carrion crows for bird-on-variety-meat …

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Organism of the week #18 – Feeling rotten

Penicillum sp. growing on a lemon [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s been ages since I did one of these, and today’s will not be terribly long or exciting, for the reason that is the very title of this post. Whilst bumbling around in the fridge looking for something bland and bowel-friendly, I chanced upon a lemon that had fallen into a oubliette in the bottom …

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Organism of the week #17 – Daughter of Ungoliant

Araneus diadematus in web [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

I’d never noticed that a garden spider’s third pair of legs is much shorter than the others before.

Organism of the week #16 – From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow

Sequoia sempervirens strobili and seeds [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

There’s something very satisfying about growing plants from seed, and none more so than growing a monster from next-to-nothing: At the moment, this little redwood seedling is just 18 months old. Given 500 years or so, it’s going to get a wee bit bigger: The seeds of redwoods are absolutely titchy, as you can’t see in …

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Organism of the week #15 – Try not to think about the poo

Lucilia sericata face on [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Apologies for the long gap between postings; it’s been exam season at work, and I’ve not had much time to blog. The garden was buzzing with green-bottles yesterday, thanks to a combination of warm weather and overflowing brown bins. These flies tend to get a bit of a bad wrap, what with the spitting onto …

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Organism of the week #14 – Turtles all the way down

Kryptoperidinium [CC-By-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Cassiopea, which looks rather like a spelling mistake (but isn’t), also looks a bit like an anemone (but isn’t): It’s actually a jellyfish, but one that spends most of its time living upside-down (relative to its relatives). Unlike its close relatives, it gets much of its energy from sunbathing rather than from fishing. Inside the cells …

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Organism of the week #13 – Unlucky for some

Datura metel (flower) [CC-BY Alex Lomas]

I’m a sucker for things that are both poisonous and pretty. Datura metel definitely meets both criteria. These photos were taken in southern Spain, where this purple variety of the plant seemed to have naturalised itself out from someone’s garden . Datura metel is closely related to Atropa belladonna, the deadly nightshade, and – like it …

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Organism of the week #12 – Preying mantis

Mantis religiosa [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

This is mostly just to see if I can get embedded video to work. Mantis religiosa… Om nomnomnom. Explain again why I need to install a plug-in to get WordPress to embed video from its own local media library?

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