What’s worse than seagulls? Drunken rowdy seagulls!

This report just in from that bastion of scientific research journalism, the Bristol Post!

As if these pests aren’t pesky enough, now they’re getting hammered and causing a ruckus!

drunk_seagull(No, not drunk on beer like your average yobbo!)

It seems the local shithawks in Devon county, southwest England, are getting wasted, acting loutishly and attacking people.

Bet you can’t guess how!

A new theory explaining an increase in seagull attacks has been found – they are getting drunk on flying ants.


Scientists say gulls’ behaviour is getting worse because the hot temperatures have seen a massive boom in the insects, specifically flying ants, upon which gulls feed.

The ants then turn to formic acid in their stomachs and act like alcohol – causing the gulls to lose inhibitions around humans and brazenly steal food.

seagull-1(Fighting over food. The gull seems to be getting the better of this battle)

They are left so tipsy the gulls have been seen flying straight into buildings and into the paths of moving cars.

funny-titanic-scene-seagull-eye(“I’m king of the world! D’OH!”)

Residents in Ilfracombe, Devon, recently reported being swooped on by the sloshed seabirds and, at first, presumed they were protecting their nests.

But they sensed something was wrong when the birds started flying into buildings and into the paths of cars.

Yeah, that’s usually a good clue.

At any rate, high heat is usually to blame for the increased flying ants so hopefully, things will calm down at summer’s end.



Hawkmoths Use Genital Ultrasound to Combat Bats

Put this in the “Yew jus’ cain’t make this stuff up” file.

Yes, my little geeks and nerdlings, the boys and girls over at ScienceDaily.com have done it again.

Hawkmoths Use Ultrasound to Combat Bats

For years, pilots flying into combat have jammed enemy radar to get the drop on their opponents. It turns out that moths can do it, too.

A new study co-authored by a University of Florida researcher [1] shows hawkmoths use sonic pulses from their genitals… yes, you read that correctly, their genitals… to respond to bats producing the high-frequency sounds, possibly as a self-defense mechanism to jam the echolocation ability of their predators.

hawkmoth-2(Oleander Hawk Moth – Daphnis Nerii)

Echolocation research may be used to better understand or improve ultrasound as a vital tool in medicine, used for observing prenatal development, measuring blood flow and diagnosing tumors, among other things. The study appears online today in the journal Biology Letters.

For those of you who may find scientific journal reports a bit too dry and nerdy, NowMSN.com puts the story more succinctly…

Moth species uses its genitals to annoy the hell out of bats!

“Researchers have just discovered that the spiny-legged Hawkmoth uses its genitals to throw loud blasts of ultrasound at bats. Both male and female moths will rub their genitalia against their abdomen to produce the sound, which scientists think either serve as a warning to potential predators (“Hey, you think this is annoying, wait until you see our spiked legs”) or to “jam” the bats’ own sonar. “[This] is a really good strategy for insects to deploy,” ecologist Jesse Barber said.”

I told you you couldn’t make this stuff up!


[1] Akito Kawahara, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Journal Reference:

  1. J. R. Barber, A. Y. Kawahara. Hawkmoths produce anti-bat ultrasoundBiology Letters, 2013; 9 (4): 20130161 DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0161

This is the CRAZIEST Thing You’ll See All Day

Another reblog from the very talented Bug Enthusiast!

grasshopper-skin(It looks to me that the little red ant is taking a big bite from the grasshopper’s tush!)


The Bug Enthusiast

Have you ever literally watched a bug shed its exoskeleton? No? Me either. This guy did.

A bright green grasshopper emerges from its old skin, leaving a perfect replica of itself behindThe Daily Mail wrote about a really, really patient man in Indonesia who watched a grasshopper molt out of its skin, leaving a perfectly-shaped grasshopper exoskeleton behind. Not only are the pictures incredibly done but…have you ever seen anything like this?! Click through for all the pictures.

And seriously, what’s up with that ant?

Photo credit goes to (the very talented) Adhi Prayoga.

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Bat-Eating Spiders on the Prowl

Great article by The Bug Enthusiast on two of my most favouritest critters… spiders and bats.

But… why can’t they all just get along? 😦


The Bug Enthusiast

As if spiders weren’t terrifying enough, they’re now widely eating bats. Like, all over the place.

Previously thought to happen very rarely, researchers have recently recorded over 52 cases of bats (albeit small ones) being eaten whole by massive, massive spiders. The species of bats and spiders involved vary from case to case but it does seem to happen more in tropical climates.

In most cases it seems the spiders don’t intend to catch the bats, they simply build their super-sticky webs next to bat-infested buildings. Still, little consolation if you’re the bat.

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Fruit Flies Drink Away Their Bitterness

Rejected Male Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol

This is something I ran into at Cracked.com (one of the funniest websites EVER)!

It’s all about sex and booze and fruit flies.

fruitfly(Set ’em up, Joe!)

For many of us, failed relationships and alcohol go together like New Year’s Eve and also alcohol. That’s one of the pressures of being human; we have our big brains and big emotions, and we need big containers of liquor to forget the bad feelings they churn up. But surprisingly, humans aren’t the only creatures that do this.

Since fruit flies are very sexual beings in the first place, researchers wanted to find out what would happen when they were sexually rejected. This happens often with them, because female fruit flies are prudish things, as they don’t like having sex a second time after they’ve recently mated. If a second male tries to mount her, she’ll kick and run away, as you can see in the video below. Because hey, Mama fruit fly didn’t raise no ho.

After the flies had their time with the female, the researchers gave both males who had been rejected and those who’d gotten lucky the option of eating normal food or food spiked with alcohol. While the happy fruit flies had no preference for either option, the rejected fruit flies were significantly more likely to eat the alcohol-infused food.

And yes, at a basic level, it’s for the same reason you do it. Alcohol triggers reward chemicals in fruit fly brains, and when they don’t get that satisfaction from sex, they’ll get it from a bottle. Or a huge meal of alcohol-soaked food, in this case. And, with that, we’re going to estimate that it will be 48 hours before some depressed college kid tries to eat a pizza he has soaked in gin.

radiohead-songs(“And now, I’m gonna play all the Radiohead songs I know at the same time.”)

Thanks again to that gang of zany madcaps over at Cracked.com!


Reblog: SURPRISE!!

The last evening of Bug Shot 2012, I was in the “toy room” helping clean up.  I had set up an aquarium for photographing aquatic insects the first night and hadn’t put it away, so I scooped everything out of it and was about to pick it up and dump the water out when I saw this clinging to the outside:


What a crazy cool caterpillar!  I believe it is a curve-lined owlet caterpillar, Phyprosopus callitrichoides.  It comes as no surprise that this is a woodland species.  Can you imagine how hard it would be to see one of these on a tree?!  I happily snapped a few shots, then I took it outside before I finished my cleaning.


Reblogged from C.L. Goforth’s amazing blog The Dragonfly Woman