They’re creepy when they buzz loudly past you towards light sources and produce an extremely pungent odor when disturbed, but stink bugs live their lives content to feed on plants and would rather not encounter you.
There are more than 200 species of stink bugs in North America. Adults are usually some shade of green, tan, or gray-brown.
After mating, the female lays batches of 20 to 30 eggs, depositing them on the underside of plant leaves. Her eggs look like tiny barrels and are light green in color to blend in with their surroundings and avoid predators. Sometimes the eggs are pearly white at first, turning pink later. On top of each egg is a circle of white projections.
A single female can lay up to 300 eggs in a single season.
The eggs hatch in four to five days, marking the beginning of the nymph stage. A small triangle on each egg shell is used by the nymph as a knife to cut the shell open. Stink bug nymphs usually remain gregarious for a short period of time after hatching, as they begin to feed and molt.
Peggy Whitson was born on February 9th, 1960 in Mount Ayr, Iowa. In 1981 she graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. Then, in 1985, she graduated from Rice University with a doctorate degree in biochemistry. After her graduation, she continued on at Rice as a post-doctoral fellow for another year.
Peggy Whitson spent a number of years working at NASA before she first went to space. In 1989, Whitson joined NASA as a research biochemist. She served in this role for three years before she became a technical monitor, a job she held from 1991 through 1992. Then, in 1992, she became the project scientist of the Shuttle-Mir Program. Whitson subsequently worked in NASA’s Medical Sciences Division and then became the co-chair of the U.S.-Russian Mission Science Working Group.
It was in August 1996 when Peggy Whitson began training to become an astronaut. This took two years, and her first mission was in 2002.
Whitson was a crew member on Expedition 5, which launched on June 5th, 2002. She was one of two flight engineers. She subsequently spent 184 days in space, also completing a 4 hour and 25 minute spacewalk. Then, in 2007, Whitson was a crew member on Expedition 16, and this time she spent 192 days in space.
Whitson shows how dreams become reality, becoming the first female commander of the International Space Station and serving a record 665 days in space. She served as commander twice and also holds the record for most space walks by a woman (10), most hours outside the vehicle (60) and oldest woman in space (57). She was supposed to return to Earth in June 2017 but happily accepted the opportunity to stay on another three months when Russia’s space organization Roscosmos pulled its crew back from participation in a mission to the ISS earlier that year.
Truly a NASA superstar Whitson encourages aspiring astronauts to get education in science, math and engineering.
Want more information? Watch this interview with Commander Whitson on Connections to Science from Iowa Public Television:
The spotted handfish is one of the world’s most endangered marine fish, having undergone a massive decline in recent decades.
Handfish grow up to 5” long, and have skin covered with tooth-like scakes, giving them the alternate name warty anglers. They get their name from the way they used their pectoral (side) fins like hands to grip the bottom. They rarely swim – they prefer to walk along the bottom on their fins feeding on small invertebrates.
Once relatively common, red handfish have become scarce in recent years, probably due to habitat loss and changing sea conditions.
Divers in Tasmania have discovered a new population of red handfish. The newly discovered colony could double their total population to 80 individuals.
This very rare red handfish has two color morphs – one a brilliant red with bluish and white fin margins, the other mottled pink with reddish spots and patches on the body and fins.
Threats to red handfish include poaching for use as pets. Also its low reproductive rate and low dispersal rate have raised fears of extinction.
Hopefully, the discovery of this second population means the red handfish has an alternative destiny ahead of it.
Here’s a short video by Michael Baron of two red handfish on the move:
Nineteenth-century naturalist, ornithologist, and artist John James Audubon lived the later years of his life in northern Manhattan, in what is now the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem. Audubon is best known for his comprehensive book, The Birds of America, which was accompanied by beautiful, detailed illustrations of many of the birds.
Today, visitors to Hamilton Heights will discover a series of amazing murals that honor Audubon while bringing attention to the effects of climate change on North America’s bird populations. Known as the Audubon Mural Project, the murals are a collaborative effort of the National Audubon Society and Gitler & ______Gallery (yes, that’s the gallery’s actual name – there is an underlined blank space).
This spray-painted menagerie graces roll-down gates and barren walls with permission of willing property owners. Here are a few examples:
Elsewhere, Audubon himself is rendered in flesh tones and with mutton-chop sideburns, staring curiously at a cerulean warbler on his shoulder with neither his rifle nor palette at hand.
The National Audubon Society’s website has a map showing the location of each mural. The website also serves as an excellent guide for a tour of the murals, as it gives much more information about each one, including an explanation of how the birds are being affected by climate change and some remarks by each artist about their art.
Leafhoppers, treehoppers and planthoppers have the most aerodynamic-shaped body in the insect world. All of them are strong jumpers that can move with equal ease forwards, backwards, or sideways like a crab. The crab-like motion distinguishes hoppers from most other insects.
They also come in many shapes and colors with over 12,500 varities worldwide.
The beautiful insect shown below is a planthopper nymph. During the span of time after it hatches and before it becomes fully mature, the planthopper nymph secretes a waxy substance from its abdomen that gives its tail the look of a colorful fiber optic display. It serves as a defense from predators who are somewhat hypnotized by the effect.
As the planthopper gets ready to do its favorite thing — hop around — it moves the waxy threads into a sleek line.
It moves ever so slowly before making a great leap, and it can fan the threads back out for an extra boost while it’s in the air.
The final effect is like a dazzling fiber options display.
The amazing photograph above shows splashes formed from single drops landing in puddles. Captured over several months, they were photographed in darkness using a high-speed flash to preserve their colors and shapes and then brought together in one image.
This winning photograph shows drops of glycerin and water impacting a thin film of ethanol. The difference in surface tension creates holes in the drop’s surface making it look like lace.
Another image created by Phred Petersen. This is a time lapse image showing the progress of an agaric toadstool mushroom as it grows.
Phred Petersen is a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator Scientific Photography, School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, a global university of technology and design.
This last photo is a confocal image of a marine organism (obelia hydroid) taken with the 10x objective. It was a winner from the 2016 International Images for Science competition.
Just one more – an honorable mention from 2017 Nikon Small World Competition.
The hydroid Ectopleura larynx is a fouling organism usually found attached to sunken ropes, floating buoys, piers, mussel shells, rocks, seaweed and the undersides of boats in the seas surrounding Great Britain and the Americas. This organism grows in colonies that can tolerate exposed habitats and strong water currents. Sometimes called Common Flowerheads in the fish farming industry this hydroid can cause problems by reducing water flow and quality.
Ectopleura larynx has two distinct rings of tentacles, one around its mouth and the other at the base of the head. In between these two rings, are the gonophores, or the sexual buds.
The hydroid Tubularia indivisa is also called oaten pipes. This large hydroid is also native to northeastern Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and the English Channel.
The solitary polps of Hydroid Tubularia indivisa are found on dull yellow unbranched stems that reach a height of 4-6”. The pinkish to red polps resemble flowers, having two concentric rings of tentacles, with the outer rings being paler and longer than the inner ring.
Hydroid Tubularia indivisa are preyed upon by nudibranch, another marine animal that looks like a snail without a shell.
These flower like hydroids are often considered delicate and soft. But beware. Their delicate looks belie their potent nature. They possess an armament of stinging cells equipped in their tentacles to capture and subdue prey.