Monday, February 29, 2016

The Backyard as Laboratory and Workshop. Ants in exodus, albino in plants, return of the black rat, a new crab spider, mysterious satellites

"We are humbled by the mysteries governing our world and beyond."
Dr Abe V Rotor 
  Living with Nature School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

 Black Ant (Lasius niger) colony on the move signals the coming of strong rain, 
 more so a typhoon.  It's Nature's early signal for humans to take heed, but many would simply dismiss it as superstition.

The black ant is a common ant species, very active, fast moving, and typically, would run away from human confrontation. Like other ant species, black ants swarm usually at the start of the rainy season, known as nuptial flight, a kind mass mating. Colonies are found under bricks, wood piles, and flower pots.  Black ants may enter homes to forage on leftovers and to seek shelter.  Normally they feed on fruits, seeds, small insects, and on honeydew of aphids around gardens and vegetation. A colony may reach 10,000 strong headed by a queen which can live for many years - reportedly up to 29 years.  
Earthworm thrives on highly acidic soil, in fact, under leaking vinegar jars where the leak accumulates organic materials that serve as food to the earthworm. This is a good subject of research in biology.

Brown and black rats infest the city.  Black rats are gaining superiority over their brown predecessors - Rattus raattus norvigicus (city rat) and Rattus rattus mindanensis (field rat).  . 

The black rat (Rattus rattus), also known as the ship rat, has a notorious history, originally from India, arriving in Europe with the Romans 2,000 years ago in ships and crates of cargo. Fleas on black rats brought the plague to Europe in the Middle Ages. The Black Death killed one-third of the population of Europe, three million people in England - over half the population at that time. (British Wildlife Centre)

Firecracker fountain leaves a residue of sand, soil (including "black soil") and phosphorescent filler after the revelry.  These are deleterious to health, from skin irritation to allergic reaction - and possible pathogenic contamination.
Let us support the firecracker ban  
 Strange bilateral symmetry of web spider.  The pairing of the eight legs to appear four in as X-pattern adds to the organism's camouflage, while its colorful crab shape body attracts preys that get entangled in the web. A strange looking organism such as this may lead to the discovery of a new species, or simply a variant caused by natural  environmental adaptation -  or mutation. Mutation may lead to specition (species formation). Crab spider don't build web which makes this specimen a good subject of research. 

Chimera in plants is the counterpart of albino in animals.  The lack of pigment, or its absence, may be traced to Nature's "error" in transmitting pigment genes from parents to offspring -  which happens, though in small percentage chance - in the living world encompassing protists to humans.  Animals lacking melanin are  predisposed to ultraviolet rays and other harmful effects of the environment principally heat.  And  they are more vulnerable to predation, save those which have found protection from man, the white elephant considered sacred being one.  

Droppings and leftover of native guava, litter the underneath a coconut tree where a fruit bat spent the night. At daybreak  this winged mammal had by then returned to its abode in  the watershed of La Mesa Dam near the author’s residence. Closeup photo of a fruit bat taken by the author at Tikob Lake in Tiaong, Quezon.  Fruit bats grow enormously big such as this specimen (Internet photo) making them look fearful. 

 Mysterious twin satellites in the sky.  To UFO hunters and the superstitious, this photo and similar photos, invite scrutiny.  Reports of aliens visiting the Earth, spirits in limbo, are among popular subjects and beliefs which make good conversational pieces. As science and technology advance to probe the universe, so with man's  ability to scan the brain and psyche, while man is being humbled by the deep mysteries governing our world and beyond. Note quarter moon in boat-like position.  To many it is associated with man's behavior, which leads us to the old notion that our behavior is influenced by the phases of the moon. ~

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