insects

Showing 67 posts tagged insects

When this flight paths of starlings video by artist and professor Dennis Hlynsky went viral, it sparked a lot of questions for us: How did he make the visualizations? How do the starlings move quickly as a flock? What makes other groups of animals move the way they do?

In Micromigrations from The Atlantic, Hlynsky discusses his own questions as we observe the water striders, ants, starlings, vultures, crows, and little white flying bugs that continue to inspire his curiosity and his work.

Watch starlings videos and explore more about the way animals (and robots) move, including water striders, cheetahs, catssnakes, and hummingbirds.

Thanks, Sam.

The next time that you’re in your local natural history museum, don’t just look at the large animals in the dioramas — really look for those hidden small animals, too: a brown-headed cowbird near a bison, a Botta’s pocket gopher peeking from a burrow, or a Blue Echo Butterfly on a flower. These smaller details in scenes get as much attention from museum staff as the central figures. 

Above, the American Museum of Natural History's Conservation Fellow Bethany Palumbo describes how she studied museum specimens of the Blue Echo to recreate it using a mix of photocopying, hand painting, and sculpting with layers of glue.

New York’s AMNH made a series of excellent videos about their dioramas from their 2012 restoration efforts

Every detail was studied for accuracy, down to the cougar’s whisker texture:

Even the shadows, background paintings, and native grasses demand proper attention to detail. After new, energy-efficient lights were installed, museum artist Stephen C. Quinn even altered the slight color variations of the crushed marble dust “snow” to better represent the moon shadows in the Wolf Diorama

Related watching: Ancient Ancestors Come to Life, How to Make a Large Crocodile Sculpture, Anatomy of Preservation, and Paleontology 101.

h/t Sagan Sense.

Are fire ants the oobleck of the animal world? The New York Times’ Science Take: The Incredible Physics of Ants looks into the fluid dynamics — yep, fluid dynamics — of these tiny creatures. From Red Orbit

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology explain that these ants can link their bodies together, forming waterproof rafts that behave much like an active material capable of changing state from a solid to a liquid. The ants can drip, spread and coagulate; and this transition helps them survive rainfall and crashing waves.

In a statement, the APS compares the structure’s behavior to Jell-O and toothpaste, stating that they are all “viscoelastic” materials capable of resisting flow under stress and reverting to their original shape like rubber bands. The fire ant rafts do not behave exactly like solids or liquids, but as a kind of hybrid of the two.

In the archives: more incredible ant videos, including clips from the BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth and Ants: Nature’s Secret Power, as well as the Camponotus Schmitzi, a species featured in this episode of NOVA’s Gross Science.