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Lymantria dispar

The infamous Gypsy Moth caterpillar. Introduced to North America in 1869 by a fellow who wanted to cross them with silk worms. Within a decade, they were munching their way through our hardwood forests. The young larvae travel by wind, shooting out a silky thread like spiders to ride the currents of the sky.

Mature Lymantria dispar caterpillars are distinguished by five sets of raised blue dots and six sets of raised red dots. The binomial translates as “destroyer unequal” referring to both their amazing skill at defoliating forests and the disparity between males, which typically have five instars (stages), and females, which typically have six. The female moths are also larger than the male moths.All these, on the museum building and a nearby beech at Storm King, were dead.

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This is interesting: how one climate-change-denial Republican rep is screwing his climate-chaging district, not least with his contempt for their lived experiences.

Agelaius phoeniceus

This nest may never have been used, but Red-winged Blackbirds definitely bred along this lakeside. Here’s one of this year’s models, still getting some help with feeding. The feather pattern is not without interest.

Invertebrates

Let’s start Monday with a reminder that we are outnumbered. From some recent explorations in the city and beyond:Odonata larva.Jellyfish.
Wolf spider.Worm. (With iridescent slime!)
Leaf-footed bug. Snail. Yes, they — they’re hermaphrodites — are in there.

Carry on.

Silent Summers?

Eggs suspended on stalks: lacewings are known for this predator-evasion tactic, but I bet there are others as well.

The number of insects on the planet at any given time has been estimated at 10 quintillion; another estimation measures it this way: there are 300 pounds of insects for every pound of human. Nevertheless, insect numbers are in decline, in some cases radically. And it is an enormous problem with wide-ranging effects for other animals, including, duh, the kind that can type sentences like this. It is an old story by now: poison (pesticides, etc.), destruction of habitat, and monoculture. Oh, yes, and climate change, or as I like to call it, radical climate disruption. We’re emptying the earth of its wonders and complexity. Here’s a synopsis of that new paper on global “biological annihilation.”

We’re thinning life, and, as much as I find the idea of “ecosystem services” repulsive, the truth is we’re flattening out our own lives, too, physically, imaginatively, morally.

 

D&D Roundup

Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) female. Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) male.Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile) male.Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) male.Sometimes, we must work with the image. This looks like a Stream Bluet (Enallagma exsulans), a new species for me. Only segment 9 is completely blue; the blue rings on the other abdominal segments are conspicuous. Plus habitat is a good tell: this the “most common species at running waters” says Ed Lam. Of, course there isn’t much running water in Brooklyn. I saw this one on the Cross River.

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Let’s review. A President elected by a minority of voters. Who has utter contempt for truth, justice, and the American way. Who has a clear affinity for authoritarianism. Who is a monstrously corrupt kleptocrat who privileges the family businesses over the nation’s. Who has a cabinet of ideological horrors dedicated to stripping away protections of our food, water, workplaces, & etc. Who is backed by a shameless and ruthless party of corporate plutocracy (and racism, to keep the serfs on board) dedicated to the annulment of democracy (voter suppression and gerrymandering for a start).

How long will the Republic last this assault? Yet, as David Cole notes in this interview, we still have a huge advantage in defending our rights and liberties against this clear and present danger: a very robust civil society and an independent judiciary.  Above all, citizenship!

The old American mule, as sick as she is, hasn’t been ground into burgers yet!

Sweet Bees

Sweat bees in the family Halictidae are attracted to the salt in sweat. This little one would not be put off from my arm. Blown and shook off, it returned several times. I have no problem offering up extruded salts, but I was slathered in sunscreen, and that can’t be good for anything, even when it claims otherwise.This one was most intrigued by my camera strap. Also wouldn’t leave. What was it finding here?

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Here’s quite a bit about the rising threat of flooding to NYC from global warming, which you have to multiple manyfold considering all the cities on the ocean in this world.

Apropos to nothing of the above, and yet to all of it, too, here’s some detail of Thoreau’s brief time on Nantucket, where, some years later, I graduated from high school. (This project’s geographical approach to the wheres in HDT’s life, at least in Massachusetts, is most illuminating.)

The highest point on Nantucket is 111 feet, at Sanaky Head… which has been eroding since I was an elver.

The first of three Radio Open Source programs with Chris Lydon for the Thoreau bicentennial is rousing.

There’s a lot out there right now on HDT, like this piece from across the pond,  but you’ve got the weekend.

And at the Morgan Library & Museum, an exhibit I’ve not yet seen but can tell will be exciting: This Ever New Self: Thoreau and his Journal.

Mouse of Walden


“Someone memorialized Thoreau’s small friend by drawing a mouse on the the back of his door,” writes Laura Dassow Walls in her magnificent new biography. In honor of the Thoreau bicentennial and the mouse at Walden Pond, I asked my friend Marion to draw one on the door to my apartment.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica: Larsen A’s gone, Larsen B collapsed, and yesterday a big chunk of Larsen C broke off. But you know what? It’s really the West Antarctic ice sheet you should be worried about….


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