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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We have a HALLOWEEN drill lesson(the U.S.Military might benefit from viewing this) on how hundreds of thousands of Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats simultaneously emerge every Summer evening in the Hill Country(Austin/San Antonio region) of Texas from their single limestone cave without nary occurring a casulty------great 7 minute video for you to enjoy and digest

CLICK TO WATCH THE 7 MINUTE VIDEOhttps://www.earthtouchnews.com/natural-world/how-it-works/bat-ballet-slo-mo-footage-reveals-how-thousands-of-bats-emerge-from-a-cave-without-injury


Bat Ballet: Slo-mo footage reveals how thousands of bats emerge from a cave without injury

Bat Ballet: Slo-mo footage reveals how thousands of bats emerge from a cave without injury
BY EARTH TOUCH NEWS OCTOBER 31 2018

Every summer evening, deep in the Hill Country of central Texas, hundreds of thousands 

of Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) pour from the mouth of a limestone 
cave. The pungent smell of guano and the rush of sound and air from so many wings 
beating at once is an experience that truly
overwhelms the senses. Then, just like that, 
it’s over—in a matter of minutes, members
of the entire colony have emerged from the 
cave and disappeared into the dusk for their
 nightly foraging flight.
To the naked eye, in real-time, the colony
exodus is a blur of wings and bodies moving 
too fast to track. Yet somehow, the entire
colony manages to exit the cave, night after
 night, without traffic jams or (many)
 casualties. How do they achieve this incredible 
feat? Scientists Nickolay Hristov and Louise
Allen set out to answer this question. 
Using high-speed video cameras, they have
 captured these events — and
 interactions among individual bats — in
spectacular detail. Now, frame by frame, 
they are discovering that it’s not always
necessary for nature to come up with 
the perfect solution — just one that’s
good enough.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"Interactions between two species can take many forms"............."Predators hunt prey, humans tame animals, groups compete for territory, and so on"..........."Most meetings between different species of animals could arguably be described as antagonistic or aloof".........."But positive, mutually beneficial interactions occur as well"......... "Some of these collaborations can be incredible and unexpected, witness below those between Ravens and Gray Wolves and Badgers and Western Coyotes"

https://listverse.com/2015/02/23/10-amazing-cooperations-between-different-animal-species/

10Ravens Guide 

Wolves To Prey







200351636-001
In the past, gray wolves were considered
too dangerous to tolerate and were nearly
annihilated in North America by the 1970s.
 Populations have been recovering since
then. Their reintroduction to Yellowstone
National Park has had a beneficial and 
stabilizing effect on the local ecosystem,
particularly where scavengers during the
winter months are concerned. 
Even without wolves, many herbivores still
die of starvation toward the end of winter.
While this provides an initial feast for
scavenging animals, much of the meat
ultimately goes to waste as only so much
can be consumed before it’s all too
decomposed. With wolves added back in,
herbivore death is more spaced out while
still providing ready meals for scavengers
since, unlike other animals such as bears,
wolves tend to move away from their kill
after they’ve eaten their fill.
Ravens have learned to maximize the
benefits of wolf leftovers. During winter,
they’ll land and croak near prey in order
to get wolves’ attention, guiding them to
their next meal. Of course, this places
the raven in a prime position to feast on
the leftovers. Perhaps as a result,
wolves have also been noted to be
surprisingly tolerant of ravens feeding
close to them.
----------------------------------------------------------------

7Badgers And 

Coyotes Team Up

7 Coyote
Badgers and coyotes share a common
 predilection toward taking various
burrowing rodents as prey, though
they catch them in very different ways.
Rodents such as squirrels and prairie
dogs have no chance of outrunning
a coyote, but they can always
escape into their burrows. A badger,
on the other hand, can dig into the
ground and tear a rodent from its
burrow provided the rodent doesn’t
simply run out of another exit and
leave the badger with no hope of
catching it. A badger-coyote team
could certainly tip the odds against
their common prey if two competing
predators could manage to work
together.
As it turns out, they do. Native
Americans have spoken of these
collaborations for years, and more
recently scientists have documented 
it as well. When badgers and
coyotes work together to catch prey,
they complement each others’
respective strengths. The badger
digs prey out from the ground,
and the coyote runs it down.
These cooperative efforts are
most likely to occur between a
badger and one lone coyote,
as opposed to groups of coyotes.

























































Click on the first link below and watch a Raccoon in Florida devour a non-native Green Iguana in broad daylight!!!..........."Green iguanas have invaded the Everglades and are amongst the most threatening of the state's invasive alien, non-native species".........."These aliens hail from Central America and were first brought to Florida in the 1960s as pets prized for their vibrant colours"........."The reptiles are now thriving in south Florida due to not having a specific predator species to keep them in check"............."They are aggressively disrupting the ecosystem by pushing out native species, damaging landscape vegetation, and generally causing a nuisance for Florida homeowners"......."Raccoons are omnivorous predators so will eat anything they can find," explains Dr Suzanne MacDonald, a psychologist and biologist at Toronto's York University who has studied Canada's raccoons..............."The iguana in the video was pretty big but raccoons take on rats as well, so you can never underestimate their ability to take down something almost as big as they are"........."Florida's raccoons seem to be more active during the day compared to their northern cousins, which may help explain why the bold iguana-muncher was out in broad daylight"

https://earthtouchnews.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9b22fb8f3493498b9ba6c1664&id=3b27bb22e5&e=5a68681715

Watch: Raccoon takes down iguana in the middle of a Florida parking lot

Watch: Raccoon takes down iguana in the middle of a Florida parking lot
BY IAN DICKINSON OCTOBER 16 201
A daytime, parking-lot brawl between an opportunistic raccoon and a green iguana is just about as juicy as urban-animal showdowns get. This short clip, filmed by Boca Raton-resident Frankie Gentry in southeast Florida last month, shows a raccoon chasing down and tackling an iguana in the middle of a busy parking lot. After pinning its prey, the raccoon pauses for a moment to stare down Gentry before dragging the iguana between two parked cars, leaving nothing behind but the lizard's still-twitching tail as evidence of the incident.

Click on link to see the fight in progress

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fcf-images.us-east-1.prod.boltdns.net%2Fv1%2Fstatic%2F4137224153001%2Fad8ef83d-3d2e-41e3-8af9-98f61dfe64c6%2Fec8ee8bd-5002-483d-aec6-db1e8dbbc53e%2F1280x720%2Fmatch%2Fimage.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fnypost.com%2Fvideo%2Figuanas-tail-left-twitching-after-bloody-battle-with-raccoon%2F&docid=G1ilDVs4Q0OnLM&tbnid=Z9mX-knt5i5e4M&vet=1&w=1280&h=720&client=safari&ved=2ahUKEwjQwJfXsa7eAhWPdt8KHe8FBiwQMygAegQIABAz

It's a startling display of urban-raccoon opportunism and it's perhaps unsurprising that the tarmac takedown took place in Florida. The Sunshine State is a reliable epicentre for unpredictable animal encounters, from gators in drainpipes to crocodiles in swimming pools. Florida's sticky, coastal climate and abundance of water (particularly in the southerly Everglades) make it an ideal habitat for a number of species like alligators and bald eagles. It’s also home to growing populations of nonnative animals including Burmese pythons, Cuban tree frogs and giant African snails that have established here in large numbers.
Green iguanas are also immigrants to the Everglades and are amongst the most problematic of the state's invasive alien species. They hail from Central America and were first brought to Florida in the 1960s as pets prized for their vibrant colours. The reptiles are now thriving in south Florida where they are pushing out native species, damaging landscape vegetation, and generally causing a nuisance for Florida homeowners. 
According to Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife ecology professor at the University of Florida, humans have inadvertently helped the surge of green iguana numbers by creating manicured gardens filled with plants, like hibiscus, on which the reptiles thrive. Iguanas have also taken to colonising the state's tree-lined water canals, making it easier for them to infiltrate Floridian suburbia. 
green_iguanas_2018-17-10.jpg
Green iguanas are thriving in the sticky heat of Florida's Everglades.
This year's summer brought with it the biggest surge in iguana numbers to date, and removal efforts are under way, says Mazzotti. For Thomas Portuallo, owner of a Fort Lauderdale-based company called Iguana Control, it's been a bumper season: “This year is the most iguanas I’ve seen and I’ve been in business for nine years,” he told The Sun-Sentinel. Iguana numbers can fluctuate significantly, however, and a particularly severe cold snap could dramatically reduce the population. "Iguanas are not cold tolerant, so they probably are pretty well limited in range to where they are found now," Richard Engeman, a biologist for the National Wildlife Research Centre, told us via email.
Florida's raccoons will be hoping that the weather stays warm, as more iguanas could mean fuller bellies for the bandit-masked 'trash pandas'. "Raccoons are omnivorous predators so will eat anything they can find," explains Dr Suzanne MacDonald, a psychologist and biologist at Toronto's York University who has studied Canada's raccoons. "That iguana was pretty big but raccoons take on rats as well, so you can never underestimate their ability to take down something almost as big as they are." MacDonald also points out that Florida's raccoons seem to be more active during the day compared to their northern cousins, which may help explain why this bold iguana-muncher was out in broad daylight.
While raccoons have probably been snacking on green iguanas for as long as the two species have been thriving in the Everglades, the first documented predation was outlined in a research paper in 2006. The victim was a juvenile iguana in Fort Lauderdale's Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (HTBSP) – an area that, in the early 2000s, had the third highest raccoon density ever reported in North America. Authorities began trapping and removing raccoons out of concern that the sizeable population may spread disease or become a traffic hazard. What they probably weren't expecting was a huge increase in iguana numbers following the raccoon removal.
"High numbers of the Green Iguana at HTBSP within a few years of Raccoon removal were suspected to be a direct result of sudden release from intense predation," the study authors wrote in the paper. It seems then that Florida's raccoons, alongside other predators like alligators and birds of prey, could play a vital role in keeping green iguana numbers in check. As officials continue to work on eradicating the invasive reptiles, it looks like the state's raccoons are already doing their bit.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Lets discuss animal intelligence today: "What sets mammal brains apart from other classes of animal is the neocortex, the outermost region of the brain responsible for higher functions such as language and abstract thinking".......... "But size is not the only thing that counts"........"Our neocortices, unlike those of most animals, are highly convoluted, which means we make everything way more complicated than necessary"........"Actually, convolution gives our brains a lot more real estate by volume — as if Texas were a rug and it got scrunched up to the size of Vermont"........."A lot of acreage would fit in a small space if it were nothing but valleys and mountains"........."This greater surface area equates to more processing power than a less highly folded brain like a whale’s"

https://adirondackexplorer.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f2786fbb7862339a0b90113d7&id=d44f3acd77&e=46b8d98c61


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2018

Animal Intelligence: Head of the Class

brain sizesWhen the topic of animal intelligence comes up, we might argue whether a crow or a parrot is the more clever, or if dolphins are smarter than manatees. Seldom do we ascribe smarts to life-forms such as insects, plants or fungi. And it is rare indeed that we question our intellectual primacy among animals. It is true that no other species can point to monumental achievements such as the Colosseum, acid rain, nerve gas and atomic bombs. But that does not mean other species are bird-brained. Metaphorically speaking.
It makes sense that elephants and whales are whiz-kids, given the size of their heads. Depending on species, whale brains weigh between 12 and 18 pounds (5.4-8 kg.), and Dumbo’s cranium would tip the scale at around 11 lbs. (5.1 kg.). Compared to them, our 3-pound (1.3 kg.) brains are small potatoes. What sets mammal brains apart from other classes of animal is the neocortex, the outermost region of the brain responsible for higher functions such as language and abstract thinking.
But size is not the only thing that counts. Our neocortices, unlike those of most animals, are highly convoluted, which means we make everything way more complicated than necessary. Actually, convolution gives our brains a lot more real estate by volume — as if Texas were a rug and it got scrunched up to the size of Vermont. A lot of acreage would fit in a small space if it were nothing but valleys and mountains. This greater surface area equates to more processing power than a less highly folded brain like a whale’s.
The ability to make and use tools, and to carry them for future use, is one of the widely accepted indicators of intelligence. In the past, it was thought that only humans and our close ape relatives used tools. Some gorillas in Borneo use sticks to spear catfish, and western lowland gorillas have been observed using a stick to gauge water depth. In at least one case, a gorilla used a log to fashion a bridge to cross a stream. I suppose if they started charging a toll, we would give them more respect.
Only just recently has the intelligence of cephalopods like cuttlefish, squid and octopodes been documented. Octopodes have been observed foraging for discarded coconut shells and using them to build sea-castles of sorts in which to hide. If their ability with tools progresses, I bet they could knit an awesome sweater in no time.
Birds also use tools — crows, for example, will use a stick to poke at bugs they can’t otherwise reach. When the insect bites the stick, the crow pulls the stick out and eats the bug. Humans always assumed birds were not very smart because their brains weigh a few grams, and range from pea-size to maybe the size of a walnut. Well, we’ve had to eat crow, because bird brains are far more neuron-dense than mammal brains. It’s like we were comparing the microchip brain of birds to the big vacuum-tube human brain and sneering, when in fact many birds test on par with primates for intelligence.
We know that honeybees use a sort of interpretive bee-dance to communicate with each other as to the location of flowers and picnickers. Our native bumblebees seem to have one up on them. In 2016, researchers at Queen Mary University of London found that bumblebees learned within minutes how to roll a tiny ball into a little hole to get a sugar-water reward. I assume the researchers are now busy with bumblebee golf tournaments.
Even vegetables can learn new tricks. Experiments have shown Pavlovian responses when light and other stimuli are presented together from various angles. Plants of course will grow in the direction of light. But when the light was switched off, the plants tilted toward the other stimuli, just like the way Pavlov’s dogs salivated when they heard bells. I imagine the winter holiday season was frustrating for those drool-pooches.
Humans, apes, squids, birds, bugs, and plants — there’s nowhere to go but down. Enter the plasmodial slime mold, a slow-moving single-cell organism that can scout the landscape, find the best food, and engulf it, growing ever larger. Coming soon to a theater near you. It sounds like a sci-fi film, and a blob of pink, yellow or white slime mold, possibly a square yard in area, does look pretty alien. They usually live in shaded forest environments, but can show up on your flower bed, and a friend once sent a picture of a slime mold which had engulfed his empty beer can left out overnight.
Researchers discovered that a plasmodial slime mold uses complex algorithms to make decisions — logical ones, it turns out — regarding which direction to proceed as it slimes across the landscape. One of the lead researchers in the 2015 study is Simon Garnier, an Assistant Professor of Biology at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He said that “[studying slime molds] challenges our preconceived notions of the minimum biological hardware required for sophisticated behavior.”
And in a story that sounds right out of The Onion, last year the Amherst, MA-based Hampshire College named a slime mold to its faculty as a “plasmodial scholars-in-residence.” True story. In an announcement on the college’s website, Hampshire biology professor Megan Dobro explained that “Slime molds have navigated complex ecosystems…for a billion years, proving themselves to be some of the foremost optimizers on the planet.” Algorithms used by slime molds will be studied for applications to difficult human problems.
Maybe it’s time we paid more attention to our non-human relatives. I bet they have a lot to teach us.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The 38th verified Puma siting since 2008 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was caught on a Dept. of Natural Resources trail cam on October 1.......The DNR continues to reiterate that that that all of these Pumas do not represent a breeding population in the state, rather transient animals wandering east out of the Dakotas, seeking to set up housekeeping with mates that never do materialize.........Is is possible that one of these days two transients(1 male, 1 female) will actually be navigating through Michigan and hook up to "jump-start" a new sustaining Michigan population?...........See the great picture of this "October Cat" below






https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/25/cougr-upperpeninsula/1760706002/&ct=ga&cd=CAEYAioUMTE5Njc2ODA4NjU4NTI2ODIwODQyGjQ2OTIwYTk2ZWZjMTE1ODg6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNGIWj0l7pwLqZPU2oZ9y9fhCg3tWQ

Cougar spotted on DNR camera in the Upper Peninsula



A cougar has been 
spotted 
for the first time 
in years
 by a Michigan 
Department 
of Natural 
Resources' (DNR) 
camera.
The animal was recorded 
wandering through a 
wooded area in Gogebic County 
in the Upper Peninsula 
on the evening of Oct. 1.Gogebic 
County is the westernmost
 county in the Upper Peninsula 
in the U.S. state of Michigan. 
Although there have been 38 
confirmed reports of cougars 
since 2008 — 37 in the Upper 
Peninsula — this is the first 
time since 2009 that the DNR 
has snagged a shot of the 
animal in action among its 
3 million game camera images, 
said Kevin Swanson, wildlife 
management specialist with 
the DNR's Bear & Wolf 
Program. 
"They're so rare in the Upper 
Peninsula," Swanson said. 
"These are dispersers,
 transients coming from the 
Dakotas, from northwest 
Nebraska. We just get a few 
moving through the Peninsula."
It's impossible to say whether 
the cougar was male or 
female, the DNR said.
Cougars are also known as 
mountain lions or pumas, 
according to the San Diego
 Zoo, and have the largest 
geographic range of any 
land mammal. The shared 
names sometimes lead to 
confusion.
Cougars were once native 
to Michigan but were largely
 expunged from the area 
around the turn of the century. 
It's thought that any cougars
 in the state now are 
released pets or transient 
animals that have traveled
 more than 900 miles from 
the nearest breeding 
populations in the Dakotas.
In addition to their own 
images, the DNR reviews 
hundreds of submitted 
photos yearly. The majority, 
Swanson said, are photos 
of coyotes, bobcats, 
domestic cats and even dogs.
"There's a common 
misconception among 
the public 
and organizations that 
believe we have a breeding 
population here in Michigan, 
and we have no 
evidence to suggest that," 
Swanson said.





Thursday, October 25, 2018

One of the most passionate native plantsman in the USA, U. Of Delaware's Doug Tallamy is back at it urging all of us homeowners to abandon planting exotic, alien and non-native trees, shrubs and flowers that do nothing to encourage wildlife diversity in our neighborhoods......"While less susceptible to pest damage and demanding less maintenance, non-native plants are extremely poor at supporting insects—critical food for higher order consumers like birds"......."In the United States, 432 species—more than one-third of birds—are insectivorous and, thus, could be harmed by declines in food availability and at risk of local extinction in urban and suburban areas due to our tendency to plant non-native plants"........."As the amount of non-native plants increase in a yard, birds are less likely to occupy and breed there; for ones who do breed, they produced fewer young than birds breeding in native-dominated yards"............"The important lesson is that use of non-native plants in landscaping has a 'trickle-up' effect".........."Those attractive, non-native plants just provide less food at the base of the food chain and thus support fewer birds than native plants".......... Tallamy, his U. Of Delaware colleagues and Smithsonian researchers have determined that the key threshold to bird biological diversity in a suburban yard is 70 percent native plants".............."If the yard has more than 70 percent native plants biomass, chickadees(and other birds) have a chance to reproduce and sustain their local population".........."As soon as the number of native drops under 70 percent, that probability of sustaining the species plummets to zero"--------That is an "OUCH" that all of us should feel must not be perpetuated---GO NATIVE!

lhttps://phys.org/news/2018-10-non-native-homeowners-yards-endanger-wildlife.html

Non-native plants in homeowners' yards endanger wildlife, researchers report


October 23, 2018 by Dante Lapenta, University of Delaware

Human-dominated landscapes are one of the most rapidly expanding and least-understood ecosystems on Earth. Historically, in urban areas, landowners convert native plant communities into habitats dominated by non-native species. While less susceptible to pest damage and demanding less maintenance, non-native plants are extremely poor at supporting insects—critical food for higher order consumers like birds.

In the first study of its kind, University of Delaware researchers Doug Tallamy and DesirĂ©e Narango teamed up with Peter Marra, director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) to investigate the link between non-native  and ' population growth in these landscapes. The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

"This is the first time that the breeding success of a bird has been directly tied to landscape decisions that homeowners make. Quite simply, humans are changing the vegetation of North America with these ," said Tallamy, professor in the UD Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.
In the United States, 432 —more than one-third of birds—are insectivorous and, thus, could be harmed by declines in food availability and at risk of local extinction in urban and suburban areas.
"Most homeowners think plants are just decorations with no thought to the ecological roles plants must play in our landscapes," Tallamy said. "So they go to the nursery and buy the prettiest plant they can find. The nursery industry has pushed plants from someplace else for a century because they are unusual and have market value."
In Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, and suburban Maryland, more than 200 homeowners, all citizen scientists within SMBC's Neighborhood Nestwatch program, allowed the team to come into their personal yards and investigate plants, insects and birds. The researchers directed the effort, examining the impact of non-native plants on breeding birds like the Carolina chickadee, a songbird that lives in the eastern and southeastern U.S., and an ideal representative for insectivorous bird species.
Non-native plants in homeowners’ yards endanger wildlife, researchers report
Native black walnut trees on urban streets provide lots of food for breeding and migratory birds. Credit: University of Delaware
Most plant-eating insects can only eat species with which they have coevolved. Non-native plants have defensive chemicals in their tissues, which ward off indigenous insects. The indigenous insects cannot eat a given plant unless it has developed the adaptations to circumvent those defenses. Not only do non-native plants smell and taste different, but these species are often toxic to most of native bugs.
"As an example, monarchs can only eat milkweeds because that is the plant lineage they adapted to over the eons," Tallamy said. "But now monarchs can't eat anything else. So when we bring non-native plants into the country, our insects do not have the adaptations required to eat those plants without dying."
The study's findings demonstrate that residential yards dominated by non-native plants have fewer arthropods, like plant-eating caterpillars and predatory spiders. That spells bad news for birds who depend on this food for their young. Homeowners' decisions to use non-native plants forces the birds like chickadees to switch diets to less preferred, less suitable prey.
"The Carolina chickadee is almost entirely insectivorous during its breeding season. They predominantly consume caterpillars, spiders and other bugs," said Narango. "Properties landscaped with non-native plants become population sinks for the chickadees that need insects to reproduce and survive."
As the amount of non-native plants increased in a yard, the birds were less likely to occupy and breed; for ones who did breed, they produced fewer young than birds breeding in native-dominated yards.
"These observations of the chickadee are a loud, conservation alarm for other birds like the warblers, vireos and thrushes," said Marra. "These are all examples of species that have disappeared from human-dominated habitats. If we make a concerted effort to re-plant with native species, this might be an opportunity to bring back the birds, right in our own backyards."
Non-native plants in homeowners’ yards endanger wildlife, researchers report
Ornamental trees like a native redbud can be beautiful and provide food for songbirds. Credit: University of Delaware
The research was funded by National Science Foundation (NSF).
"The important lesson is that use of non-native plants in landscaping has a 'trickle-up' effect," said Doug Levey, a biological sciences program director at NSF. "Those attractive, non-native plants just provide less food at the base of the food chain and thus support fewer birds than native plants."
The native 70
The UD and Smithsonian research found the key threshold is 70 percent. If the yard has more than 70 percent native plants biomass, chickadees have a chance to reproduce and sustain their local population. As soon as the number of native drops under 70 percent, that probability of sustaining the species plummets to zero.
To promote sustainable food webs and support wildlife, urban planners and private landowners must prioritize .
"I see our results as a step-forward toward allowing our urban and suburban landscapes to be shared with biodiversity," Narango said. "I hope that our results provide clear goals that homeowners and landscapers can strive for."
Non-native plants in homeowners’ yards endanger wildlife, researchers report
Researcher Desiree Narango shows a young scientist-in-training how to measure a bird tail. Credit: University of Delaware
So what are the right ? The next phase of research is now focused on a deep dive into the answer on that question.
In the D.C. area where the study took place, the best plants for homeowners in terms of supporting birds are, in general, oaks, native cherries, native willows, native elms, native birches, hickories and black walnuts.
"In 84 percent of the counties in the U.S., native oaks are the most important tree followed by native cherries and native willows," Tallamy said. "When you chop these down, you are changing that area's ecosystem."
The researchers pointed to Gingko, Zelkova and Pieris japonica as prime examples of "do not plant" non-natives.
"Instead of a Ginkgo, plant an oak. Gingkos support no caterpillar species—important bird food—while oaks support 557 species of caterpillars," Tallamy said. "Instead of Zelkova, which supports zero caterpillars, plant a black cherry, which supports 456 species. Instead of Pieris Japonica, which also supports zero caterpillars, plant a native viburnum that supports 105 caterpillar species."
More information: DesirĂ©e L. Narango et al. Nonnative plants reduce population growth of an insectivorous bird, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1809259115 



Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Insect stings are weapons"............."Their purpose is to hurt: to deter, or at least discourage, predators"................"Stinging insects include honey bees, bumblebees, wasps, hornets, and ants"..................“A marvelously functional device,” entomologist and author Justin O. Schmidt called the sting in his fascinating, quirky, and tremendously readable book, The Sting of the Wild"...............“The original biological syringe complete with a needle and a chamber that holds the liquid that’s injected through the needle".................."The stinger evolved eons ago from the ovipositors – hollow tubes used to inject insect eggs into plant material"................ “The significant evolutionary change in the stinger was the addition of a cocktail of venom"................. "Interestingly, male stinging insects can’t sting because they do not have an ovipositor"..............."The venom of a stinging insect usually causes pain, significant swelling, and redness – in susceptible people it can cause anaphylactic shock"...................."While all stings hurt, they don’t all hurt equally"................"The Schmidt Pain Scale rates the severity of stinging insects from 1(least hurtful) to 4(most hurtful".........................."The European honeybee so often used in America for plant pollinization scores a 2, so too does our native bumblebees and yellowjackets"



691
Stings and Stingers
Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
As a boy, I was exploring the loft of my grandmother’s barn when I disturbed a bumblebee nest among the moldering hay bales. In my memory, I leap stuntman-like from the haymow and hit the ground 10 feet below running flat out, rounding the corner of the barn then glancing back to see if anyone is in pursuit. There is an angry bumbler coming up fast. I vault the rusty ornamental fence and am steps from the screen door and safety when . . . I get nailed in the neck. Ow!
When we lived in Louisiana, I scalped a fire-ant nest while mowing the lawn and got stung a few hundred times as the ants swarmed up my legs. Vivid memory. I’ve been stung by several varieties of wasps and, as a beekeeper, I periodically get stung by my honey bees. Yes, it still hurts.

european honeybee stinger at bottom of picture












European honeybee







Insect stings are weapons. Their purpose is to hurt: to deter, or at least discourage, predators. Stinging insects include honey bees, bumblebees, wasps, hornets, and ants.
While no one likes to get stung, you have to admire the hardware.
“A marvelously functional device,” entomologist and author Justin O. Schmidt called the sting in his fascinating, quirky, and tremendously readable book, The Sting of the Wild. “The original biological syringe complete with a needle and a chamber that holds the liquid that’s injected through the needle.”

Native Yellowjacket




















The stinger evolved eons ago from the ovipositors – hollow tubes used to inject eggs into plant material – in primitive sawflies. Schmidt wrote, “The significant evolutionary change in the stinger, which dramatically altered its role, was the addition of a cocktail of venom,” at the same time the stinger’s ovipositor function became obsolete in many bees and wasps.
This change set the stage for a blowout of stinging insect diversity and the development of insect sociality among bees, wasps, and ants, he points out. Interestingly, male stinging insects can’t sting because – well, they never would have had an ovipositor, right?
Stings work because the shaft has three parts: two mobile shafts slide in channels on the fixed third part, Schmidt explains in his book. Muscles slide one mobile piece in, then the other; this pushes the fixed part in further. Honey bees have a strongly barbed stinger, which helps guarantee that the fixed part doesn't slide back out. Some wasps, such as yellow jackets, have a stinger with very fine barbs. Other wasps and bees have smooth stingers. Once in, powerful muscles surrounding the venom reservoir contract and push the venom into the victim. This all occurs in a fraction of a second.









Though many stinging insects can sting repeatedly, a honey bee sting is often a death sentence, as the stinger and venom sacs are pulled out of the bee. Interestingly, this only occurs when they sting victims with flexible skin, like humans. Honey bees can sting other insects without losing their defensive equipment.
The venom of a stinging insect usually causes pain, significant swelling, and redness – in susceptible people it can cause anaphylactic shock. While all stings hurt, they don’t all hurt equally. Schmidt has garnered considerable acclaim for his Schmidt Pain Scale for Stinging Insects. It rates more than 80 species of insects using a four-point scale. The ratings are based on his experience. One is the least painful, and four is the most. Schmidt supplements the ratings with vivid descriptions reminiscent of wine-tasting notes.

 Native Bumblebee











Luckily, most stinging insects in northern New England score ones and twos.
Sweat bees, for instance, score a one: “Light and ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.”
The European honey bee scores a two: “Burning, corrosive . . . a flaming match head lands on your arm and is quenched first with lye and then sulfuric acid.” Bumblebees, also a two: “Colorful flames. Fireworks land on your arm.” Bald-faced hornets, as well: “Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.” And a two for the common yellow jacket: “Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.”
The Florida harvester ant is a three: “Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a power drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.”
A four? Well, that would be the tarantula hawk, a solitary wasp that preys on big, hairy spiders: “Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath.” Or the bullet ant of Central and South America: “Pure, intense, brilliant pain, like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel.”
Owwww!
Joe Rankin has written previously about yellow jackets for The Outside Story. He lives in Maine.