strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

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    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Visualizing the Insides of an Ant’s Head

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 15, 2014

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I’m pretty sure I don’t understand the science here.  I just like the image.

This is from a new study in some massively obscure scientific journal.  If I am reading it right, it describes a technique for using hydrogen peroxide and a clearing agent to make an ant’s skin transparent.  With the help of a  confocal laser scanning microscope and fluorescent markers, the result is that you can then see the tiny internal organs in place.

To which I say: Wow.

If you are familiar with the macro photography images of ants heads, like the one I published just the other day, this is like suddenly getting behind the mask, or being invited in to walk around Darth Vader’s brain.

Next thing, we will find ourselves engaging in Socratic dialogues with ants.

Here’s another one, of a leafcutter ant, front view left, side view right:

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