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Archive for month: August, 2016

Heat Waves Inspire Cockroaches to Fly

Heat Waves Inspire Cockroaches to Fly

Two joys of New York City summers apparently combine to create a third: heat and cockroaches lead to flying cockroaches.

An article in DNAInfo reveals one more reason why so many people flee the city in the sultry month of August. The outlet spoke to American Museum of Natural History’s resident bug expert, Louis Sorkin, who said that as heat indexes rise, American cockroaches “have more use of their muscles.” Namely, heat inspires the roaches to flex the muscles of their normally inactive little wings.

“The more activity, the more flight,” said Sorkin.

The American cockroach has long found a very comfortable home in the Big Apple, with its abundance of garbage and dark crevices. And while the city’s human population has been wilting under a nearly week-long heat wave, abandoning outdoor parks and sidewalks for the shelter of air-conditioned apartments, cockroaches have come to life.

Ken Schumann, an entomologist at Bell Environmental Services, told DNAInfo that “In hot steam tunnels, something with the temperature and the humidity encourages them to fly. When it’s warm and steamy that seems to be what they like.”

While the thought of flying cockroaches is certainly enough to send a shiver down your spine, take heart. Schumann clarified that the insects don’t exactly take flight with the same ease as, say a robin or a butterfly. The cockroach’s flight is more of a descent from a high point to a low point.

“It’s almost like they just glide down,” Schumann told DNAInfo.

While the revelation of flying cockroaches may mean big business for the city’s exterminators, there’s little chance the insects will ever truly be tamed.

Cockroaches have been around for 300 million years. Their ability to adapt even allowed them to survive the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Source : www.seeker.com

First butterfly survey at Silent Valley National Park

First butterfly survey at Silent Valley National Park

Being one of the largest havens of butterflies and odonates in the nation, the Silent Valley National Park here will witness a first of its kind survey of its unique Lepidopteran fauna beginning Friday.

The four-day exercise is being done by the national park authorities with the involvement of the Travancore Natural History Society.

Apart from home to 400 species of moths and 96 species of butterflies, the Silent Valley is the end point of annual migration of butterflies from Coorg Hills and major points in the Western and Eastern Ghats. Every winter, thousands of butterflies of Alabatross species migrate to Silent Valley and return by the end of the season.

According to Wildlife Warden Shilpa V. Kumar, at least 18 species of butterflies in the Silent Valley are endemic and extremely rare. Among them, eight enjoy protected status under the Indian Wildlife Act. The survey will help gather more information apart from improving facilities for the butterflies and odonates in the national park, which is also home to the endangered lion-tailed macaques.

The first such time

“This is the first time a combined butterfly and odonate survey is being done at the national park. The invertebrates of this unique forest ecosystem are less studied and require more attention. This survey will be definitely adding to the database and fill in knowledge gaps on Indian butterflies,” said Ms. Shilpa in an interaction with The Hindu .

“Butterflies are essential part of any natural ecosystem. They are beneficial insects as they are pollinators and ecological indicators. The presence of odonates also can be taken as an indication of good ecosystem quality,” she said.

The survey will begin on August 12 with a formal meeting at Mukkali, where the invited participants, researchers, and experts will be briefed about the strategy and survey methodology. After the meeting, the delegates will be taken to seven base camps inside the park. These base camps are strategically located covering all the elevations and habitats of the region.

The formal fieldwork begins on August 13 and extends to August 14. The survey team will be lead by V.C. Balakrishnan, Kiran C.G., Balchandran, and other experts from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Source :www.thehindu.com
Author :K.A. Shaji

BNHS workshop on insects in Raj Bhavan park

BNHS workshop on insects in Raj Bhavan park

Nagpur: For the first time, the Rajbhavan Biodiversity Park will now be open for students to explore and study about the insect world. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is starting special workshops on butterfly and insects called ‘Creepy-Crawly/Flyer’. During the workshop, interaction program will be held to explain life cycle of various species of common insects, butterflies, spiders and dragonflies, and their role in the ecosystem. Students will also be taken to field trips at the Biodiversity Park to record their observations.

BNHS officials said that the park, developed in 30 hectare area of Raj Bhavan, offers an excellent opportunity for nature education and conservation. “The insect world is the largest life group but also the least explored. In this workshop, students will get a chance to learn about their behavior,” they added.

The workshop will be held every Saturday starting from August 13. “In August and September, we will focus on insects and butterflies. Later, workshops will be held on herpetology and ornithology,” said BNHS official. The fees for 40-50 students along with two teachers will be Rs200. For more details, schools can contact — 9552033122.

Source :Times of India

Diversity of indoor insects, spiders adds to life’s luxuries in high-income neighborhoods

Diversity of indoor insects, spiders adds to life’s luxuries in high-income neighborhoods

Here’s something new for real estate agents to boast about in posh neighborhoods: houses with a bigger variety of insects and spiders.

Maybe that’s not the best selling point. But what’s called a “luxury effect” appeared among more than 10,000 arthropod samples collected from the insides of 50 houses in urban and suburban Raleigh, N.C. Depending on the house, arthropods from 24 to 128 distinct scientific families showed up, says entomologist Misha Leong of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Houses on city blocks with higher average incomes tended toward greater diversity and houses on low-income blocks often had less, she and her colleagues report August 3 in Biology Letters. An average home had more than 100 arthropod species.

Other researchers have linked wealth with greater diversity of a home’s (outdoor) birds, lizards, bats and plants. As far as Leong knows, however, this is the first evidence of arthropod variety as a perk of wealth.

Researchers didn’t try to measure the abundance of arthropods but looked at the diversity. Many of the arthropod roommates found in the great indoors are so harmless that homeowners had never heard of them. Gall midge flies showed up in 100 percent of houses studied, and dark-winged fungus gnats lived in 96 percent. Both were more common than Blattidae cockroaches (in 74 percent of homes).

Source : www.sciencenews.org
Author : Susan Milius

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