What is Entomology?

Entomology (from Ancient Greek ἔντομον (entomon), meaning ‘insect’, and -λογία (-logia), meaning ‘study of’[1]) is the scientific study of insects, a branch of zoology. In the past the term “insect” was more vague, and historically the definition of entomology included the study of terrestrial animals in other arthropod groups or other phyla, such as arachnidsmyriapodsearthwormsland snails, and slugs. This wider meaning may still be encountered in informal use. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomology

Like several of the other fields that are categorized within zoology, entomology is a taxon-based category; any form of scientific study in which there is a focus on insect-related inquiries is, by definition, entomology. Entomology therefore overlaps with a cross-section of topics as diverse as molecular geneticsbehaviorbiomechanicsbiochemistrysystematicsphysiologydevelopmental biologyecologymorphology, and paleontology.

At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms,[2] date back some 400 million years, and have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth.

This is a wonderful playlist on the matter:

What is a Wetland?

“A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.

Wetlands occur naturally on every continent except Antarctica, the largest include the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, and the Pantanal in South America. The water found in wetlands can be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater. The main wetland types include swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens; and sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. International conservation efforts are being used in conjunction with the development of rapid assessment tools to inform people about wetland issues.

Constructed wetlands can be used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater as well as stormwater runoff. They may also play a role in water-sensitive urban design.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetland

What is Taxidermy?

” Taxidermy is the preserving of an animal’s body via stuffing or mounting for the purpose of display or study. Animals are often, but not always, portrayed in a lifelike state. The word taxidermy refers to the process of preserving the animal, but the word is also used to describe the end product, which are often called “mounts”. The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words “taxis” and “derma”. Taxis means to “to move”, and “derma” means “skin” (the dermis). The word taxidermy translates to “arrangement of skin”. Taxidermy is practiced primarily on vertebrates (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and less commonly on amphibians) but can also be done to larger insects and arachnids under some circumstances. Taxidermy takes on a number of forms and purposes, including natural history museum displays, hunting trophies, study skins, and is sometimes used as a means to memorialize pets. A person who practices taxidermy is called a taxidermist. They may practice professionally for museums or as businesses catering to hunters and fishermen, or as amateurs, such as hobbyists, hunters, and fishermen. A taxidermist is aided by familiarity with anatomy, sculpture, painting, and tanning.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxidermy

 

What is Coelic disease?

” Coeliac disease, also spelled celiac disease, is a long term autoimmune disorder primarily affecting the small intestine that occurs in people who are genetically predisposed. Classic symptoms include gastrointestinal problems such as chronic diarrhoea, abdominal distention, malabsorption, loss of appetite, and among children failure to grow normally. This often begins between six months and two years of age. Non-classic symptoms are more common, especially in people older than two years. There may be mild or absent gastrointestinal symptoms, a wide number of symptoms involving any part of the body, or no obvious symptoms. Coeliac disease was first described in childhood; however, it may develop at any age. It is associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes mellitus type 1 and thyroiditis, among others.

Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gluten, which are various proteins found in wheat and in other grains such as barley, and rye. Moderate quantities of oats, free of contamination with other gluten-containing grains, are usually tolerated. The occurrence of problems may depend on the variety of oat. Upon exposure to gluten, an abnormal immune response may lead to the production of several different autoantibodies that can affect a number of different organs. In the small-bowel this causes an inflammatory reaction and may produce shortening of the villi lining the small intestine (villous atrophy). This affects the absorption of nutrients, frequently leading to anaemia.

Diagnosis is typically made by a combination of blood antibody tests and intestinal biopsies, helped by specific genetic testing. Making the diagnosis is not always straightforward. Frequently, the autoantibodies in the blood are negative and many people have only minor intestinal changes with normal villi. People may have severe symptoms and be investigated for years before a diagnosis is achieved. Increasingly, the diagnosis is being made in people without symptomsas a result of screening. Evidence regarding the effects of screening, however, is not sufficient to determine its usefulness. While the disease is caused by a permanent intolerance to wheat proteins, it is not a form of wheat allergy.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coeliac_disease

How do Dolphins Behave?

“Dolphins are often regarded as one of Earth’s most intelligent animals, though it is hard to say just how intelligent. Comparing species’ relative intelligence is complicated by differences in sensory apparatus, response modes, and nature of cognition. Furthermore, the difficulty and expense of experimental work with large aquatic animals has so far prevented some tests and limited sample size and rigor in others. Compared to many other species, however, dolphin behavior has been studied extensively, both in captivity and in the wild.

Dolphins surfing at Snapper Rocks, Queensland, Australia

Dolphins are highly social animals, often living in pods of up to a dozen individuals, though pod sizes and structures vary greatly between species and locations. In places with a high abundance of food, pods can merge temporarily, forming a superpod; such groupings may exceed 1,000 dolphins. Membership in pods is not rigid; interchange is common. Dolphins can, however, establish strong social bonds; they will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed. This altruism does not appear to be limited to their own species. The dolphin Moko in New Zealand has been observed guiding a female Pygmy Sperm Whaletogether with her calf out of shallow water where they had stranded several times. They have also been seen protecting swimmers from sharks by swimming circles around the swimmers or charging the sharks to make them go away.

Dolphins communicate using a variety of clicks, whistle-like sounds and other vocalizations. Dolphins also use nonverbal communication by means of touch and posturing.

Dolphins also display culture, something long believed to be unique to humans (and possibly other primate species). In May 2005, a discovery in Australia found Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) teaching their young to use tools. They cover their snoutswith sponges to protect them while foraging. This knowledge is mostly transferred by mothers to daughters, unlike simian primates, where knowledge is generally passed on to both sexes. Using sponges as mouth protection is a learned behavior. Another learned behavior was discovered among river dolphins in Brazil, where some male dolphins use weeds and sticks as part of a sexual display.

Forms of care-giving between fellows and even for members of different species (see Moko (dolphin)) are recorded in various species – such as trying to save weakened fellows or female pilot whales holding up dead calves for long periods.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin#Taxonomy_and_distribution

What are the Threats that Beluga whales Suffer?

” The beluga whale or white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the only member of the genus Delphinapterus. This marine mammal is commonly referred to as the beluga, melonhead, or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter.

It is adapted to life in the Arctic, so has anatomical and physiological characteristics that differentiate it from other cetaceans. Amongst these are its all-white colour and the absence of a dorsal fin. It possesses a distinctive protuberance at the front of its head which houses an echolocation organ called the melon, which in this species is large and deformable. The beluga’s body size is between that of a dolphin’s and a true whale’s, with males growing up to 5.5 m (18 ft) long and weighing up to 1,600 kg (3,530 lb). This whale has a stocky body. A large percentage of its weight is blubber, as is true of many cetaceans. Its sense of hearing is highly developed and its echolocation allows it to move about and find blowholes under sheet ice.

Hunting

Commercial whaling by European and American whalers during the 18th and 19th centuries decreased beluga populations in the Canadian Arctic. The animals were hunted for their meat and blubber, while the Europeans used the oil from the melon as a lubricant for clocks, machinery, and lighting in lighthouses. Mineral oil replaced whale oil in the 1860s, but the hunting of these animals continued unabated. In 1863, the cured skin could be used to make horse harnesses, machine belts for saw mills, and shoelaces. These manufactured items ensured the hunting of belugas continued for the rest of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Between 1868 and 1911, Scottish and American whalers killed more than 20,000 belugas in Lancaster Sound and Davis Strait.

Predation

Killer whales are able to capture both young and adult belugas. They live in all the seas of the world and share the same habitat as belugas in the sub-Arctic region. Attacks on belugas by killer whales have been reported in the waters of Greenland, Russia, Canada, and Alaska.[125][126] A number of killings have been recorded in Cook Inlet, and experts are concerned the predation by killer whales will impede the recovery of this subpopulation, which has already been badly depleted by hunting.[125] The killer whales arrive at the beginning of August, but the belugas are occasionally able to hear their presence and evade them. The groups near to or under the sea ice have a degree of protection, as the killer whale’s large dorsal fin, up to 2 m in length, impedes their movement under the ice and does not allow them to get sufficiently close to the breathing holes in the ice.

Pathogens

Papillomaviruses have been found in the stomachs of belugas in the Saint Lawrence River. Animals in this location have also been recorded as suffering infections caused by herpesviruses and in certain cases to be suffering from encephalitis caused by the protozoan Sarcocystis. Cases have been recorded of ciliate protozoa colonising the spiracle of certain individuals, but they not thought to be pathogens or at least they are not very harmful.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beluga_whale#Threats

Where do Monarch Butterflies habit?

“The monarch butterfly or simply monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. Other common names depending on region include milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black veined brown. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly, and is considered an iconic pollinator species. Its wings feature an easily recognizable black, orange, and white pattern, with a wingspan of 8.9–10.2 cm ( 3 12–4 in) The viceroy butterfly is similar in color and pattern, but is markedly smaller and has an extra black stripe across each hindwing.

The range of the western and eastern populations of the monarch butterfly expands and contracts depending upon the season. The range differs between breeding areas, migration routes, and winter roosts. However, no genetic differences between the western and eastern monarch populations exist; reproductive isolation has not led to subspeciation of these populations, as it has elsewhere within the species’ range.

In North America, the monarch ranges from southern Canada through northern South America. It has also been found in Bermuda, Cook Islands, Hawaii, Cuba, and other Caribbean islands the Solomons, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Azores, the Canary Islands, Gibraltar, the Philippines, and North Africa. It appears in the UK in some years as an accidental migrant.

Overwintering populations of D. plexippus are found in Mexico, California, along the Gulf Coast, year round in Florida, and in Arizona where the habitat has the specific conditions necessary for their survival. On the US East Coast, they have overwintered as far north as Lago Mar, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Their wintering habitat typically provides access to streams, plenty of sunlight (enabling body temperatures that allow flight), and appropriate roosting vegetation, and is relatively free of predators. Overwintering, roosting butterflies have been seen on basswoods, elms, sumacs, locusts, oaks, osage-oranges, mulberries, pecans, willows, cottonwoods, and mesquites. While breeding, monarch habitats can be found in agricultural fields, pasture land, prairie remnants, urban and suburban residential areas, gardens, trees, and roadsides – anywhere where there is access to larval host plants. Habitat restoration is a primary goal in monarch conservation efforts. Habitat requirements change during migration. During the fall migration, butterflies must have access to nectar-producing plants. During the spring migration, butterflies must have access to larval food plants and nectar plants.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly

What is the Greenhouse Gas Effect?

“The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere.

If a planet’s atmosphere contains radiatively active gases (i.e., greenhouse gases) they will radiate energy in all directions. Part of this radiation is directed towards the surface, warming it. The intensity of the downward radiation – that is, the strength of the greenhouse effect – will depend on the atmosphere’s temperature and on the amount of greenhouse gases that the atmosphere contains.

Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.

The mechanism is named after a faulty analogy with the effect of solar radiation passing through glass and warming a greenhouse. The way a greenhouse retains heat is fundamentally different, as a greenhouse works mostly by reducing airflow and thus retaining warm air inside the structure.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

What are Nematodes?

” The nematodes (UK: /ˈnɛmətdz/US: /ˈnməˌtdz/) or roundworms constitute the phylum Nematoda. They are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a broad range of environments. Nematode species can be difficult to distinguish, and although over 25,000 have been described, of which more than half are parasitic, the total number of nematode species has been estimated to be about 1 million. Nematodes are classified along with insects and other molting animals in the clade Ecdysozoa, and, unlike flatworms, have tubular digestive systems with openings at both ends.

Nematodes have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine (salt water) to fresh water, to soils, and from the polar regions to the tropics, as well as the highest to the lowest of elevations. They are ubiquitous in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments, where they often outnumber other animals in both individual and species counts and are found in locations as diverse as mountains, deserts, and oceanic trenches. They are found in every part of the earth’s lithosphere, even at great depths, 0.9–3.6 km (3,000–12,000 ft), below the surface of the Earth in gold mines in South Africa. They represent 90% of all animals on the ocean floor. Their numerical dominance, often exceeding a million individuals per square meter and accounting for about 80% of all individual animals on earth, their diversity of life cycles, and their presence at various trophic levels point at an important role in many ecosystems. The many parasitic forms include pathogens in most plants and animals (including humans). Some nematodes can undergo cryptobiosis.

Nathan Cobb, a nematologist, described the ubiquity of nematodes on Earth thus:

In short, if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could then investigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes. Trees would still stand in ghostly rows representing our streets and highways. The location of the various plants and animals would still be decipherable, and, had we sufficient knowledge, in many cases even their species could be determined by an examination of their erstwhile nematode parasites.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nematode

What is The Black Garden Ant?

” The black garden ant (Lasius niger), also known as the common black ant, is a formicine ant, the type species of the subgenus Lasius, found all over Europe and in some parts of North America, South America, and Asia. The European species was split into two species; L. niger is found in open areas, while L. platythorax is found in forest habitats. It is monogynous, meaning colonies have a single queen.

Lasius niger colonies can reach in size up to around 40,000 workers in rare cases but 4,000–7,000 is around average. A Lasius niger queen can live up to around 15 years and it has been claimed that some have lived for 30 years. Lasius niger queens while in the early stages of founding can have two to three other queens in the nest. They will tolerate each other until the first workers come, then it is most likely they will fight until one queen remains. In certain circumstances, it is possible that there can be multiple queens in a single colony if they are founding somewhat near each other and eventually their two tunnels connect.

Lasius niger is host to a number of temporary social parasites of the Lasius mixtus group including Lasius mixtus and Lasius umbratus.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_garden_ant

What is a Platypus?

” The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth. The animal is the sole living representative of its family(Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record. The first preserved platypus body was thought to have been a fake, made of several animals sewn together when it was first looked at by scientists in 1799.

The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate hoax. It is one of the few species of venomous mammals: the male platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognizable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of its 20-cent coin. The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales.

Until the early 20th century, it was hunted for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive breeding programs have had only limited success and the platypus is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus

What are The Most Expensive Minerals in The World?

In the mining world, a lot of precious gems have been exploited. Thre value depends on many characteristics that only experts evaluate. In this article, you learn what are those so expensive gems that come deep from mother earth´s crust.

“Black opals are the rarest form of all precious opals and are characterized by their dark body tone and rich colors or ‘fire’. Almost all of the world’s black opals are mined in Australia (which also is the world’s largest overall producer of opals, at 90 percent).

Value: Up to AUD $20,000/US $15,700 per carat

Painite is a red-colored, hexagonal-shaped gem, thought to be the rarest on the planet. It was named after the British gemologist Arthur CD Pain, who discovered it in Myanmar in 1950. It has only ever been found in that region, making it incredibly hard to locate.

Value: US $50,000-$60,000 per carat

Rhodium is a rare, silvery-white element that is corrosion resistant. It also one of the rarest elements on earth and is used in catalytic converters, glass production, and to plate sterling silver jewelry. It is principally sourced in South Africa, the Ural Mountains, and North America.

Value: US $1,360 per troy ounce (1 troy ounce = 1.097 ounce)

Undoubtedly one of the most popular minerals in the world, gold has long been treasured throughout history. It is not the world’s most expensive mineral, but its enduring appeal means it is considered a ‘safe haven’ investment, as well as an object of beauty. Yellow gold is the most popular, although it comes in a range of other hues, including white gold and rose gold.

Value: US $1,292 per troy ounce” https://www.miningpeople.com.au/news/the-10-most-expensive-minerals-in-the-world

 

 

What is an Alexandrite Gemstone?

” Alexandrite, a strongly pleochroic (trichroic) gem, will exhibit emerald green, red and orange-yellow colors depending on viewing direction in partially polarised light. However, its most distinctive property is that it also changes color in artificial (tungsten/halogen) light compared to daylight. The color change from red to green is due to strong absorption of light in a narrow yellow portion of the spectrum, while allowing large bands of more blue-green and red wavelengths to be transmitted. Which of these prevails to give the perceived hue depends on the spectral balance of the illumination. Fine-quality alexandrite has a green to bluish-green color in daylight (relatively blue illumination of high color temperature), changing to a red to purplish-red color in incandescent light (relatively yellow illumination). However, fine-color material is extremely rare. Less-desirable stones may have daylight colors of yellowish-green and incandescent colors of brownish red.

Cymophane is popularly known as “cat’s eye”. This variety exhibits pleasing chatoyancy or opalescence that reminds one of the eye of a cat. When cut to produce a cabochon, the mineral forms a light-green specimen with a silky band of light extending across the surface of the stone.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysoberyl

What is an Opal?

” Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica (SiO2·nH2O); its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%. Because of its amorphous character, it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike crystalline forms of silica, which are classed as minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most commonly found with limonite, sandstone, rhyolite, marl, and basalt. Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.

The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light. Depending on the conditions in which it formed, it can take on many colors. Precious opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the black opals are the rarest, whereas white and greens are the most common. Opals vary in optical density from opaque to semitransparent.

Precious opal shows a variable interplay of internal colors, and though it is a mineraloid, it has an internal structure. At microscopic scales, precious opal is composed of silica spheres some 150 to 300 nm in diameter in a hexagonal or cubic close-packed lattice. It was shown by J. V. Sanders in the mid-1960s  that these ordered silica spheres produce the internal colors by causing the interference and diffraction of light passing through the microstructure of the opal. The regularity of the sizes and the packing of these spheres determines the quality of precious opal. Where the distance between the regularly packed planes of spheres is around half the wavelength of a component of visible light, the light of that wavelength may be subject to diffraction from the grating created by the stacked planes. The colors that are observed are determined by the spacing between the planes and the orientation of planes with respect to the incident light. The process can be described by Bragg’s law of diffraction.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opal

What is a Moonstone?

” Moonstone is a sodium potassium aluminum silicate, with the chemical formula (Na, K)AlSi3O8. Moonstone has been used in jewelry for millennia, including ancient civilizations. The Romans admired moonstone, as they believed it was born from solidified rays of the moon. Both the Romans and Greeks associated Moonstone with their lunar deities. In more recent history, the moonstone became popular during the Art Nouveau period; French goldsmith René Lalique and many others created a large quantity of jewelry using this stone.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonstone_(gemstone)

What is a Komodo Dragon?

” The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 meters (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to approximately 70 kilograms (150 lb).

Their unusually large size has been attributed to island gigantism since no other carnivorous animals fill the niche on the islands where they live. However, recent research suggests the large size of Komodo dragons may be better understood as representative of a relict population of very large varanid lizards that once lived across Indonesia and Australia, most of which, along with another megafauna, died out after the Pleistocene. Fossils very similar to V. komodoensis have been found in Australia dating to greater than 3.8 million years ago, and its body size remained stable on Flores, one of the handful of Indonesian islands where it is currently found, over the last 900,000 years, “a time marked by major faunal turnovers, extinction of the island’s megafauna, and the arrival of early hominids by 880 ka [kiloannums].”

As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. It has been claimed that they have a venomous bite; there are two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins. The biological significance of these proteins is disputed, but the glands have been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. Komodo dragon group behavior in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world. The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion. Komodo dragons also occasionally attack humans.

Mating begins between May and August, and the eggs are laid in September. About 20 eggs are deposited in abandoned megapode nests or in a self-dug nesting hole. The eggs are incubated for seven to eight months, hatching in April, when insects are most plentiful. Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and therefore dwell in trees, safe from predators and cannibalistic adults. They take 8 to 9 years to mature and are estimated to live up to 30 years.

Komodo dragons were first recorded by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild, their range has contracted due to human activities, and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_dragon

What are Sea Urchins?

“Sea urchins or urchins (/ˈɜːrɪnz/), archaically called sea hedgehogs, are small, spiny, globular animals that, with their close kin, such as sand dollars, constitute the class Echinoidea of the echinoderm phylum. About 950 species of echinoids inhabit all oceans from the intertidal to 5,000 meters (16,000 ft; 2,700 fathoms) deep. The shell, or “test”, of sea urchins, is round and spiny, typically from 3 to 10 cm (1.2 to 3.9 in) across. Common colors include black and dull shades of green, olive, brown, purple, blue, and red. Sea urchins move slowly, feeding primarily on algae. Sea otters, starfish, wolf eels, triggerfish, and other predators hunt and feed on sea urchins. The name “urchin” is an old word for hedgehog, which sea urchins resemble.

Sea urchins are members of the phylum Echinodermata, which also includes sea stars, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and crinoids. Like other echinoderms, they have five-fold symmetry (called pentamerism) and move by means of hundreds of tiny, transparent, adhesive “tube feet”. The symmetry is not obvious in the living animal but is easily visible in the dried test.

Specifically, the term “sea urchin” refers to the “regular echinoids”, which are symmetrical and globular, and includes several different taxonomic groups, including two subclasses : Euechinoidea (“modern” sea urchins, including irregular ones) and Cidaroidea or “slate-pencil urchins”, which have very thick, blunt spines, with algae and sponges growing on it. The irregular sea urchins are an infra-class inside the Euechinoidea, called Irregularia, and include Atelostomata and Neognathostomata. “Irregular” echinoids include flattened sand dollars, sea biscuits, and heart urchins.

Together with sea cucumbers (Holothuroidea), they make up the subphylum Echinozoa, which is characterized by a globoid shape without arms or projecting rays. Sea cucumbers and the irregular echinoids have secondarily evolved diverse shapes. Although many sea cucumbers have branched tentacles surrounding their oral openings, these have originated from modified tube feet and are not homologous to the arms of the crinoids, sea stars, and brittle stars.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_urchin

 

How Many Dog Breeds Exist?

Dogs breeds have been selected for many many years. The breeds are produced according to certain characteristics by its functional type. The number of breeds is not exactly determined because continuously new ones are created.

“Dogs have been selectively bred for thousands of years, sometimes by inbreeding dogs from the same ancestral lines, sometimes by mixing dogs from very different lines. The process continues today, resulting in a widening in appearance without speciation, “from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane.”

The following list uses a wide interpretation of “breed.” Breeds are usually categorized by the functional type from which the breed was developed. The basic types are companion dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, herding dogs, and working dogs, although there are many other types and subtypes. Breeds listed here may be traditional breeds with long histories as registered breeds, rare breeds with their own registries, or new breeds that may still be under development.

In some cases, a breed’s origin overlaps the boundaries of two or more countries; the dog is normally listed only in the country with which it is most commonly associated; for example, by its designated country according to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Some dogs, such as the Löwchen, have an uncertain origin and are listed under several countries.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dog_breeds

 

What is Scuba Diving?

” Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit; therefore, a smaller cylinder or cylinders, may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption, they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

Scuba diving may be done recreationally or professionally in a number of applications, including scientific, military and public safety roles, but most commercial diving uses surface-supplied diving equipment when this is practicable. Scuba divers engaged in armed forces covert operations may be referred to as frogmen, combat divers or attack swimmers.

A scuba diver primarily moves underwater by using fins attached to the feet, but external propulsion can be provided by a diver propulsion vehicle, or a sled pulled from the surface. Other equipment includes a mask to improve underwater vision, exposure protection, equipment to control buoyancy, and equipment related to the specific circumstances and purpose of the dive. Scuba divers are trained in the procedures and skills appropriate to their level of certification by instructors affiliated to the diver certification organisations which issue these certifications. These include standard operating procedures for using the equipment and dealing with the general hazards of the underwater environment, and emergency procedures for self-help and assistance of a similarly equipped diver experiencing problems. A minimum level of fitness and health is required by most training organizations, but a higher level of fitness may be appropriate for some applications.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scuba_diving

What are Coral Reefs?

“Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine water that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water.

Often called “rainforests of the sea”, shallow coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, about half the area of France, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species, including fish, mollusks, worms, crustaceans, echinoderms, sponges, tunicates and other cnidarians. Paradoxically, coral reefs flourish even though they are surrounded by ocean waters that provide few nutrients. They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water corals also exist on smaller scales in other areas.

Coral reefs deliver ecosystem services to tourism, fisheries and shoreline protection. The annual global economic value of coral reefs is estimated between US$30–375 billion. However, coral reefs are fragile ecosystems, partly because they are very sensitive to water temperature. They are under threat from climate change, oceanic acidification, blast fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish, sunscreen use, overuse of reef resources, and harmful land-use practices, including urban and agricultural runoff and water pollution, which can harm reefs by encouraging excess algal growth.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_reef

 

What are Parrotfish?

” Parrotfishes are a group of about 95 species traditionally regarded as a family (Scaridae), but now often considered a subfamily (Scarinae) of the wrasses. They are found in relatively shallow tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, displaying their largest species richness in the Indo-Pacific. They are found in coral reefs, rocky coasts, and seagrass beds, and play a significant role in bioerosion.

Parrotfish are named for their dentition, which is distinct from other fishes, including other labrids. Their numerous teeth are arranged in a tightly packed mosaic on the external surface of their jaw bones, forming a parrot-like beak with which they rasp algae from coral and other rocky substrates (which contributes to the process of bioerosion).

Maximum sizes vary within the family, with the majority of species reaching 30–50 cm (12–20 in) in length. However, a few species reach lengths in excess of 1 m (3 ft 3 in), and the green humphead parrotfish can reach up to 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). The smallest species is the blue lip parrotfish (Cryptotomus roseus), which only reaches 13 cm (5.1 in).” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrotfish

What are Horseshoe Crabs?

” Horseshoe crabs are marine arthropods of the family Limulidae and order Xiphosura or Xiphosurida. They are invertebrates, meaning that they lack a spine. Horseshoe crabs live primarily in and around shallow ocean waters on soft sandy or muddy bottoms. They occasionally come onto shore to mate. They are commonly used as bait and in fertilizer. In recent years, population declines have occurred as a consequence of coastal habitat destruction in Japan and overharvesting along the east coast of North America. Tetrodotoxin may be present in the role of species inhabiting the waters of Thailand.

Because of their origin 450 million years ago, horseshoe crabs are considered living fossils. The entire body of the horseshoe crab is protected by a hard carapace. It has two compound lateral eyes, each composed of about 1,000 ommatidia, plus a pair of median eyes that are able to detect both visible light and ultraviolet light, a single endoparietal eye, and a pair of rudimentary lateral eyes on the top. The latter become functional just before the embryo hatches. Also, a pair of ventral eyes is located near the mouth, as well as a cluster of photoreceptors on the telson. The horseshoe crab has five additional eyes on top of its shell. Despite having relatively poor eyesight, the animals have the largest rods and cones of any known animal, about 100 times the size of humans’, and their eyes are a million times more sensitive to light at night than during the day. The mouth is located in the center of the legs, whose bases are referred to as gnathobases and have the same function as jaws and help grind up food. The horseshoe crab has five pairs of legs for walking, swimming, and moving food into the mouth, each with a claw at the tip, except for the last pair.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_crab

What are Manta Rays?

” Manta rays are large rays belonging to the genus Manta. The larger species, M. birostris, reaches 7 m (23 ft 0 in) in width while the smaller, M. alfredi, reaches 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in). Both have triangular pectoral fins, horn-shaped cephalic fins, and large, forward-facing mouths. They are classified among the Myliobatiformes (stingrays and relatives) and are placed in the family Myliobatidae (eagle rays).

Mantas are found in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. Both species are pelagic; M. birostris migrates across open oceans, singly or in groups, while M. alfredi tends to be resident and coastal. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they swallow with their open mouths as they swim. Gestation lasts over a year and mantas give birth to live pups. Mantas may visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites. Like whales, they breach, for unknown reasons.

Both species are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Anthropogenic threats include pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and direct harvesting for their gill rakers for use in Chinese medicine. Their slow reproductive rate exacerbates these threats. They are protected in international waters by the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals but are more vulnerable closer to shore. Areas, where mantas congregate, are popular with tourists. Only a few public aquariums are large enough to house them.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manta_ray

What are Betta Fish?

” Betta /ˈbɛtə/ is a large genus of small, often colorful, freshwater ray-finned fishes in the gourami family (Osphronemidae). By far the best known Betta species, however, is B. splendens, commonly known as the Siamese fighting fish. All the Betta species are small fishes, but they vary considerably in size, ranging from under 2.5 cm (1 in) total length in B. chanoides to 12.5 cm (5 in) in the Akar betta (B. akarensis).

Bettas are anabantoids, which means they can breathe atmospheric air using a unique organ called the labyrinth. This accounts for their ability to thrive in low-oxygen water conditions that would kill most other fish, such as rice paddies, slow-moving streams, drainage ditches, and large puddles.

The bettas exhibit two kinds spawning behavior: some build bubble nests, such as B. splendens, while others are mouthbrooders, such as B. picta. The mouthbrooding species are sometimes called “pseudo bettas”, and are sometimes speculated to have evolved from the nest-builders in an adaptation to their fast-moving stream habitats.

A phylogenetic study published in 2004 concluded tentatively that bubble-nesting was the ancestral condition in Betta, and that mouthbrooding has evolved on more than one occasion in the history of the genus. However it was unable to establish a correlation with any of three habitat variables studied: whether a species was found in lowland or highland streams, whether it was found in peat swamp forests, and whether it was found in water with fast or slow currents. Mouthbrooding species tend to exhibit less sexual dimorphism, perhaps because they do not need to defend a territory as the bubble-nesters do. ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betta

What is The Whale Shark?

” The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m (41.5 ft) and a weight of about 21.5 t (47,000 lb). The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. It is the sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the only extant member of the family Rhincodontidae (called Rhiniodon and Rhinodontidae before 1984), which belongs to the subclass Elasmobranchii in the class Chondrichthyes. The species originated about 60 million years ago.

The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in the water below 22 °C (72 °F). Modeling suggests a lifespan of about 70 years, but measurements have proven difficult. Whale sharks have very large mouths and are filter feeders, which is a feeding mode that occurs in only two other sharks, the megamouth shark, and the basking shark. They feed almost exclusively on plankton and are not known to pose a threat to humans.

The species was distinguished in April 1828 after the harpooning of a 4.6 m (15 ft) specimen in Table Bay, South Africa. Andrew Smith, a military doctor associated with British troops stationed in Cape Town, described it the following year. The name “whale shark” directly refers to the fish’s size, being as large as some species of whales and also that it is a filter feeder like baleen whales.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark

What is The Lion Fish?

” Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific. Also alled zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish or butterfly-cod, it is characterized by conspicuous warning coloration with red, white, creamy, or black bands, showy pectoral fins, and venomous spiky fin rays. Pterois radiataPterois volitans, and Pterois miles are the most commonly studied species in the genus. Pterois species are popular aquarium fish. P. volitans and P. miles are a recent and significant invasive species in the western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.

There are currently 12 recognized species in this genus:

  • Pterois Andover G. R. Allen & Erdmann, 2008 (Andover lionfish)
  • Pterois antennata (Bloch, 1787) (Spot-fin lionfish)
  • Pterois brevipectoralis (Mandritsa, 2002)
  • Pterois cincta Rüppell, 1838 (Red Sea lionfish)
  • Pterois lunulata Temminck & Schlegel, 1843 (Luna lionfish)
  • Pterois miles (J. W. Bennett, 1828) (Devil firefish)
  • Pterois mombasae (J. L. B. Smith, 1957) (Frill-fin turkeyfish)
  • Pterois paucispinula Matsunuma & Motomura, 2014
  • Pterois radiata G. Cuvier, 1829 (Clear-fin lionfish)
  • Pterois russelii E. T. Bennett, 1831 (Soldier lionfish)
  • Pterois sphex D. S. Jordan & Evermann, 1903 (Hawaiian turkeyfish)
  • Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) (Red lionfish)” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterois

What are Sequoias?

” Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia; also known as giant redwood, Sierra redwood, Sierran redwood, Wellingtonia or simply Big Tree—a nickname used by John Muir) is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron, and one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods, classified in the family Cupressaceae in the subfamily Sequoioideae, together with Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) and Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood). The common use of the name Sequoia generally refers to Sequoiadendron giganteum, which occurs naturally only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

The etymology of the genus name has been presumed—initially in The Yosemite Book by Josiah Whitney in 1868—to be in honor of Sequoyah (1767–1843), who was the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. An etymological study published in 2012, however, concluded that the name was more likely to have originated from the Latin sequi (meaning to follow) since the number of seeds per cone in the newly-classified genus fell in mathematical sequence with the other four genera in the suborder.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum

How to Break Bad Habits?

Bad habits are all those things we do that do not guide us to anything good. This includes smoking, sleeping in incorrect places. How do we control or break them we need to accept we are doing something that is not doing us any good when you mindfully recognize your habit you can break it.

” A bad habit is a negative behavior pattern. Common examples include procrastination, fidgeting, overspending, stereotyping, gossips, bullying, and nail-biting.

It is not a misconception that it takes on average 66 days to break a habit. The amount of time it takes to break a habit is generally between 18 and 254 days. This should often be repeated once or maybe twice depending on what the habit is, something small like chewing fingernail should only have to be done once. larger habits like smoking should be repeated at twice but everyone is different so it could be less. There are many techniques for removing bad habits once they have become established. One good one is to go for between 21 and 28 days try as hard as possible not to give in to the habit then rewarding your self at the end of it. Then try to go a week, if the habit remains to repeat the process, this method is proven to have a high success rate.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_habit

How to Relieve Stress?

In moments of being exposed to a situation like a challenge experts say you must put systems in place because under stress, your brain is not going to act like it might. You are under a stress scenario.

” Physiological or biological stress is an organism’s response to a stressor such as an environmental condition. Stress is the body’s method of reacting to a challenge. Stimuli that alter an organism’s environment are responded to by multiple systems in the body. The autonomic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis are two major systems that respond to stress. The sympathoadrenal medullary (SAM) axis may activate the fight or flight response through the sympathetic nervous system, which dedicates energy to more relevant bodily systems to acute adaption to stress, while the parasympathetic nervous system returns the body to homeostasis. The second major physiological stress, the HPA axis regulates the release of cortisol, which influences many bodily functions such as metabolic, psychological and immunological functions. The SAM and HPA axes are regulated by a wide variety of brain regions, including the limbic system, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hypothalamus, and stria terminalis. Through these mechanisms, stress can alter memory functions, reward, immune function, metabolism and susceptibility to diseases. Definitions of stress differ; however, one system proposed by Elliot and Eisdorfer suggests five types of stress. The five types of stress are labeled “acute time-limited stressors”, “brief naturalistic stressors”, “stressful event sequence”, “chronic stressors”, and “distant stressors”. Acute time-limited stressors involve short-term challenges, while, on the other hand, brief naturalistic stressors involve an event that is normal but nevertheless challenging. Stressful event sequences are a stressor that occurs and continues to yield stress into the immediate future. Chronic stressors involve exposure to a long-term stressor and a distant stressor is a stressor that isn’t immediate.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(biology)

How is Silk Made?

” Silk is produced by several insects, but generally, only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile manufacturing. There has been some research into other types of silk, which differ at the molecular level. Silk is mainly produced by the larvae of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis, but some insects such as webspinners and raspy crickets produce silk throughout their lives. Silk production also occurs in Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants), silverfish, mayflies, thrips, leafhoppers, beetles, lacewings, fleas, flies, and midges. Other types of arthropod produce silk, most notably various arachnids such as spiders.

Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkwormBombyx more reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fiber, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.

Silk fabric was first developed in ancient China. The earliest example of silk fabric has been found in a Neolithic site in Henan and is dating back 8,500 years. Silk fabric from 3630 BC was used as wrapping the body of a child from a Yangshao culture site in Qingtaicun at Xingyang, Henan.

Legend gives credit for developing silk to a Chinese empress, Leizu (Hsi-Ling-Shih, Lei-Tzu). Silks were originally reserved for the Emperors of China for their own use and gifts to others but spread gradually through Chinese culture and trade both geographically and socially, and then to many regions of Asia. Because of its texture and luster, silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants. Silk was in great demand and became a staple of pre-industrial international trade. In July 2007, archaeologists discovered intricately woven and dyed silk textiles in a tomb in Jiangxi province, dated to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty roughly 2,500 years ago. Although historians have suspected a long history of a formative textile industry in ancient China, this find of silk textiles employing “complicated techniques” of weaving and dyeing provides direct evidence for silks dating before the Mawangdui-discovery and other silks dating to the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).

Silk is described in a chapter on mulberry planting by Si Shengzhi of the Western Han (206 BC – 9 AD). There is a surviving calendar for silk production in an Eastern Han (25–220 AD) document. The two other known works on silk from the Han period are lost. The first evidence of the long distance silk trade is the finding of silk in the hair of an Egyptian mummy of the 21st dynasty, c.1070 BC. The silk trade reached as far as the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. This trade was so extensive that the major set of trade routes between Europe and Asia came to be known as the Silk Road.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk

What are Endangered species?

” An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as likely to become extinct. Endangered (EN), as categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN’s schema after Critically Endangered (CR). In 2012, the IUCN Red List featured 3079 animal and 2655 plant species as endangered (EN) worldwide. The figures for 1998 were, respectively, 1102 and 1197.

Many nations have laws that protect conservation-reliant species: for example, forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves. Population numbers, trends and species’ conservation status can be found in the lists of organisms by population.

Though labeled a list, the IUCN Red List is a system of assessing the global conservation status of species that includes “Data Deficient” (DD) species – species for which more data and assessment is required before their status may be determined – as well species comprehensively assessed by the IUCN’s species assessment process. Those species of “Near Threatened” (NT) and “Least Concern” (LC) status have been assessed and found to have relatively robust and healthy populations, though these may be in decline. Unlike their more general use elsewhere, the List uses the terms “endangered species” and “threatened species” with particular meanings: “Endangered” (EN) species lie between “Vulnerable” (VU) and “Critically Endangered” (CR) species, while “Threatened” species are those species determined to be Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endangered_species

What are the strangest things about an Octopus?

“Octopus is the largest genus of octopuses, comprising more than 100 species. These species are widespread throughout the world’s oceans. Many species formerly placed in the genus Octopus are now assigned to other genera within the family Octopodidae.” https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus

  • There are around 300 species recognized.
  • These interesting creatures have 3 hearts, two pump blood to the gill and the other one to the body.
  • They are considered fast swimmers and can expel water through their mantles and can fit almost in any place because they have no bones nor skeleton.
  • Have special jaws that can give a very nasty bite, even venomous saliva but this is mainly when hunting.
  • Their skin is capable of turning itself in the environment or object where it is laying.
  • In case of losing any part of the body like an arm, it can grow that part again.
  • They are very intelligent creatures that can learn even form others octopus.

 

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are defined as microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. The term probiotic is currently used to name ingested microorganisms associated with benefits for humans and animals. The term came into more common use after 1980. The introduction of the concept (but not the term) is generally attributed to Nobel laureate Élie Metchnikoff, who postulated that yogurt-consuming Bulgarian peasants lived longer lives because of this custom. He suggested in 1907 that “the dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes”. A significant expansion of the potential market for probiotics has led to higher requirements for scientific substantiation of putative benefits conferred by the microorganisms.

Although there are numerous claimed benefits of using commercial probiotics, such as reducing gastrointestinal discomfort, improving immune health, relieving constipation, or avoiding the common cold, such claims are not backed by scientific evidence and are prevented as deceptive advertisements in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission.

Probiotics are considered to be generally safe, but they may cause bacteria-host interactions and unwanted side effects in rare cases.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic

What are Microbiomes?

“A microbiota is an “ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms” found in and on all multicellular organisms studied to date from plants to animals. A microbiota includes bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi, and viruses. Microbiota has been found to be crucial for immunologic, hormonal and metabolic homeostasis of their host. The synonymous term microbiome describes either the collective genomes of the microorganisms that reside in an environmental niche or the microorganisms themselves. The microbiome and host emerged during evolution as a synergistic unit from epigenetics and genetic characteristics, sometimes collectively referred to as a holobiont.

All plants and animals, from protists to humans, live in close association with microbial organisms (see for example the human microbiome). Up until relatively recently, however, biologists have defined the interactions of plants and animals with the microbial world mostly in the context of disease states and of a relatively small number of symbiotic case studies. Organisms do not live in isolation but have evolved in the context of complex communities. A number of advances have driven a change in the perception of microbiomes, including:

  • The ability to perform genomic and gene expression analyses of single cells and even of entire microbial communities in the new disciplines of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.
  • massive databases making this information accessible to researchers across multiple disciplines.
  • methods of mathematical analysis that help researchers to make sense of complex data sets.

Increasingly, biologists have come to appreciate that microbes make up an important part of an organism’s phenotype, far beyond the occasional symbiotic case study.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbiota

 

How Does the Digestive System Work?

” The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion (the tongue, salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder). In this system, the process of digestion has many stages, the first of which starts in the mouth. Digestion involves the breakdown of food into smaller and smaller components until they can be absorbed and assimilated into the body.

Chewing, in which food is mixed with saliva begins the process of digestion. This produces a bolus which can be swallowed down the esophagus and into the stomach. Here it is mixed with gastric juice until it passes into the duodenum where it is mixed with a number of enzymes produced by the pancreas. Saliva also contains a catalytic enzyme called amylase which starts to act on food in the mouth. Another digestive enzyme called lingual lipase is secreted by some of the lingual papillae on the tongue and also from serous glands in the main salivary glands. Digestion is helped by the mastication of food by the teeth and also by the muscular actions of peristalsis and segmentation contractions. Gastric juice in the stomach is essential for the continuation of digestion as is the production of mucus in the stomach.

Peristalsis is the rhythmic contraction of muscles that begins in the esophagus and continues along the wall of the stomach and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. This initially results in the production of chyme which when fully broken down in the small intestine is absorbed as chyle into the lymphatic system. Most of the digestion of food takes place in the small intestine. Water and some minerals are reabsorbed back into the blood in the colon of the large intestine. The waste products of digestion (feces) are defecated from the anus via the rectum. ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_digestive_system

The Respiratory System

” The respiratory system (also respiratory apparatus, ventilatory system) is a biological system consisting of specific organs and structures used for gas exchange in animals and plants. The anatomy and physiology that make this happen vary greatly, depending on the size of the organism, the environment in which it lives and its evolutionary history. Inland animals, the respiratory surface is internalized as linings of the lungs. Gas exchange in the lungs occurs in millions of small air sacs called alveoli in mammals and reptiles, but atria in birds. These microscopic air sacs have a very rich blood supply, thus bringing the air into close contact with the blood. These air sacs communicate with the external environment via a system of airways, or hollow tubes, of which the largest is the trachea, which branches in the middle of the chest into the two main bronchi. These enter the lungs where they branch into progressively narrower secondary and tertiary bronchi that branch into numerous smaller tubes, the bronchioles. In birds, the bronchioles are termed parabronchi. It is the bronchioles or parabronchi that generally open into the microscopic alveoli in mammals and atria in birds. Air has to be pumped from the environment into the alveoli or atria by the process of breathing which involves the muscles of respiration.

In most fish, and a number of other aquatic animals (both vertebrates and invertebrates) the respiratory system consists of gills, which are either partially or completely external organs, bathed in the watery environment. This water flows over the gills by a variety of active or passive means. Gas exchange takes place in the gills which consist of thin or very flat filaments and lamellae which expose a very large surface area of highly vascularized tissue to the water.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respiratory_system

 

What is Progeria?

“Progeria is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which symptoms resembling aspects of aging are manifested at a very early age. Progeria is one of the several progeroid syndromes. Those born with progeria typically live to their mid-teens the too early twenties.  It is a genetic condition that occurs as a new mutation and is rarely inherited, as carriers usually do not live to reproduce. Although the term progeria applies strictly speaking to all diseases characterized by premature aging symptoms and is often used as such, it is often applied specifically in reference to Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).

Progeria was first described in 1886 by Jonathan Hutchinson. It was also described independently in 1897 by Hastings Gilford. The condition was later named Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome. The word progeria comes from the Greek words “pro” (πρό), meaning “before” or “premature”, and “gēras” (γῆρας), meaning “old age”. Scientists are interested in progeria partly because it might reveal clues about the normal process of aging.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progeria

Sam Berns 17 years old on his TED talks establishes the basic things he does in his life to live it happy. We can accomplish all our dreams come true nothing can stop us. “Around the world only 350 kids suffer from progeria, just to give you an idea of how rare this disease is.”

History of Life on Earth

Happy New Year, planet Earth!

According to the Anno Domini designation, the year is now 2014. But the Earth has been around a lot longer than that – about 4.567 billion years. The first evidence of life dates back to around 3.8 billion years ago. Homo sapiens first appeared on the planet around two hundred thousand years – or ten thousand generations – ago.

How’s that for perspective?

Kirk Johnson, director of the National Museum of Natural History, calls this perspective “deep time.” This is the story of our planet preserved in “the DNA of living things,” Johnson explains, as well as “in the fossils we find, in the geologic structures of our planet, in the meteorites we scavenge from the ice fields in Antarctica. Those things together give us an incredible manual for thinking about the planet.”

Why is this manual useful? We are facing a century that will be an incredibly challenging one for humanity. We now live on a planet with seven billion people, which is up from 1.7 billion people just three or four generations ago. So we have more people and a greater need for resources.

Fortunately, we have the bodies of extinct plants and animals that lived for the last three-and-a-half billion years. These fossils are not only a source of energy but also a source of knowledge about how this planet works. Over its history, the Earth has seen an incredible diversity of life – maybe as many as fifty million species. Johnson says we’re learning “as much about the evolution of life on Earth by looking at what happened in the past as we are at looking at the breakthroughs in genomics and DNA of living things.” Furthermore, Johnson sees the sequencing of the human genome as the vanguard for what will eventually be “the study of the genomics of all living things.”

We have the opportunity right now, Johnson says, to choose what our future will be. Our understanding of the diversity of life on this planet, he says, will be our guide. This story is being told at a current exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History called “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.”

In the video, Johnson shares a unique perspective on deep time in the form of a timeline of life on this planet in just three minutes.

Transcript – Life on Earth is an amazing story. The planet forms around 4.567 billion years ago. The first rocks that appear to have any chemical evidence of life show up around 3.8 billion years ago. Then by 3.5 billion years ago we actually see evidence of these bacterial mounds. And we waited a long time before we see any life forms that are large. The first large life forms show up about 600 million years ago and they are sea floor organisms that are now extinct that looked like placemats believe it or not. After that there’s somewhere around 500 million years is an explosion of marine life, lots of diversification, the first organisms that were related to the different groups of marine animals you find today. It’s not until about 400 million years ago that the first life emerges onto land. The first little arachnid spider-like organisms, early plants that were only maybe a centimeter tall. Wait another 100 million years you get your first forest.

You get your first large bodied terrestrial animals. Things like giant millipedes and the first land living vertebrates evolving from fish. Sometime after that animals — four-legged animals finally learned how to eat plants. It took a while for the first terrestrial herbivores to appear. That happened somewhere around 300 million years ago. And then there’s a major extinction that happens at 250 million years ago. Don’t really know the cause but something to do with the perturbation of the Earth’s carbon cycle where we lose something like 90 percent of the species on the planet. When they disappear it’s like the near shave for life on Earth. But out of that grows the age of the dinosaurs. And for 150 million years we have a world that’s warm, a world that is so warm that no polar ice caps. And in that world a, a great diversity of animals that start to look familiar to you cohabit with the dinosaurs. We get the first birds. We get the first mammals. We still have these large dinosaurs and then at 66 million years ago an asteroid the size of Denver traveling 20 times the speed of a bullet crashes into the Yucatan Peninsula and causes a massive extinction of all animals that are larger than dogs on the planet.

What is staphylococcal enteritis?

Staphylococcal enteritis is an inflammation that is usually caused by eating or drinking substances contaminated with staph enterotoxin. The toxin, not the bacterium, settles in the small intestine and cause inflammation and swelling. This in turn can cause abdominal pain, cramping, dehydration, diarrhea, and fever.

Symptoms
Common symptoms of Staphylococcus aureus food poisoning include a rapid onset which is usually 1–6 hours, nausea, explosive vomiting for up to 24 hours, abdominal cramps/pain, headache, weakness, diarrhea and usually a subnormal body temperature. Symptoms usually start one to six hours after eating and last less than 12 hours. The duration of some cases may take two or more days to fully resolve.

What Animals Have SuperPowers?

Read of these amazing animal superpowers! You won’t believe what these animals are capable of! Hairy frogs that break their own bones to grow hair.

Hairy Frog
This frog breaks its own bones to grow claws. Also known as the “Horror Frog” or the “Wolverine Frog,” (with good reason), it is located in central Africa. Its name comes from the hair that grows on its sides. It’s actually not really hair but thin skin-like structures that protrude from its body that looks like hair.
But what makes this frog so amazing isn’t its hair. It’s its claws. Its claws are made of bone that it can project through its skin by breaking its toe bones. When the frogs feels threatened or under attack the Frog will push these broken bones out of its feet to produce claws.
As the bone pushes outward, a bone nodule closer to the outside of the foot adds a sharp point to the frogs’ bones making them look and act just like claws. And unlike all other animals with claws, the “Wolverine Frog’s” claws are not covered in a protective coating of keratin. These frogs are attacking with their actual bones. A frog with similar superpowers was also discovered recently in Japan. Known as the Otton Frog, it also conceals a retractable spike for fighting.
Scientists are not certain if the bones ever retract after they have broken through the skin but considering the “Wolverine” frog’s amazing ability, it’s likely that over time the bones recess back into the foot, until they are needed again.

Other Frog crazy behaviors:

The Mantis Shrimp
It might be tiny, but this little shrimp packs a massive punch. Even though they are only 4 inches long, they are one of the strongest animals in the world. The Mantis shrimp have clubs they use to punch and destroy their prey.

The shrimp has developed a complex muscular structure that actually winds up the shrimp’s punching arm like a spring. When the shrimp are ready to attack, it releases the spring-loaded club with the force of a shot. The punch accelerates over 50 mph with a force of over 330 pounds. That’s up to 2500 times the shrimp’s own weight. Scientists have to keep these shrimp in thick plastic tanks because their punch can easily smash the glass.
If a person could hit that hard, they could break steel. Besides the actual clubs, the force and speed the shrimp uses to attack create bubbles that are so strong that they act like a shockwave, stunning the prey first then knocking it down. In essence, a Mantis shrimp punch acts and feels like multiple hits, even though it’s just one stroke.
In order to punch that hard without breaking their clubs, mantis shrimp have a special shock absorbent core called a Bou ligand structure. This keeps small cracks from breaking completely and researchers are trying to imitate this structure to design thin, light materials.

The Immortal Jellyfish
Known as the Benjamin Button of the sea, these tiny jellyfish transform from an adult back into a baby and they can do it over and over again. They are barely visible to the human eye, with an adult jelly reaching an average of 4.5mm, about the size of your pinky nail (0.18 inches). What makes this animal so amazing, is the fact that it can live forever.
They can live and die per usual but if they sense some kind of crisis like starvation or physical injury, the immortal jellyfish can transform all of its existing cells into a younger state.
The jellyfish turns itself into a blob, then a polyp colony which is the first stage of jellyfish life. This colony can spawn hundreds of genetically identical jellyfish.
Because of their ability to change their cellular structure, scientists have been studying the tiny jellyfish in hopes of helping people who suffer from cellular disease. This continual cycle of regeneration or self-cloning is what makes the jellyfish, in essence, the only known animal known to live forever.

Relly nature is just amazing