Would you look at that title? "The Spineless". A whole world of animals, great and small, named for the one characteristic they don't possess. As if we, in our backboned state, were the norm. We're not, not by a long shot; about 99% of the life on this earth is "invertebrate" - another example of our snooty condescension.
And the term, "spineless" has such derogatory connotations! It calls to mind a lack of courage, a wimpiness, or worse. A glorious squid has to share the term with the most despised of our politicians; the adventurous ballooning spiderling with a Milquetoast. Is this justice? Is it right? No!
I hereby propose that we find a more appropriate term for the most intriguing, varied, resourceful, and durable life around us. One simple word to encompass the entire, exuberant mosaic.
Consider these examples: what characteristic do they have in common?
Some are colourful:
- The big-eyed, green-legged Hentz' red-bellied tiger beetle. From Doug Taron at Gossamer Tapestry.
- The Argiope garden spider. dressed in red and yellow, with her zippered web. From Squirrel at Squirrel's View.
- Blue, blue, blue Damselflies: bluets and yellow greents. (I think that spelling was deliberate.) Adrian Thysse, at The Bug Whisperer.
- The Emerald cockroach wasp, also known as the Jewel wasp. (Beautiful, but not for the squeamish.) Real Monstrosities.
- Nor is this: Rover Ants and Carrion Flowers. Roberta Gibson, All About Ants.
- Since we're looking at beautiful critters, we may as well put an entire blog on our list: Notes from Dreamworlds; magnificent macro photos. This, I think, is my favourite: Shells of microscopic crustaceans. By Daniel Stoupin.
|Mayfly nymph Photo by Daniel Stoupin|
Some have surprising abilities:
- Missing legs not a problem for spiders. (Kevin Zelnio, at Scientific American.) They're as good at growing new ones as my crab.
- How chitons are tougher than stone: they coat their teeth with specially "tweaked" metal. David Winter at The Atavism.
- Caddisfly larva build houses of gravel. Katie, Nature ID
- Funnel-web spiders make "trampoline" webs: Splendor in the grass. Diane Tucker, Hillstead's Nature Blog.
- Some crabs blow bubbles; urchins walk without legs or feet: Spineless of the West Coast Trail. Tim, at Think Big ... No, Even Bigger.
- Watch a Swallowtail caterpillar go from poop to pupation. Jodi, at the Contented Naturalist.
- Squid pen draws current biotech progress. Danna Staaf gets punny about electronic squid.
And some are a bit confused:
- Aussi beetles and beer bottles, It's love at first sight! (David Winter, again) and
- Squid seeking squid any sex or species. (Danna Staaf at Squid a Day.) The link in the post to the original study leads to a paywall. Go to National Geographic for the full story.
- These Sooty Dancers aren't confused, but they are confusing. Chaotic cluster. Jim Johnson at Northwest Dragonflier.
- On sorting out Dragonflies: Striped saddlebag and the value of vouchers. Julie & Darrin, Urban Dragon Hunters.
More squid goodness from Danna Staaf;
Well? Have you thought of the One Word yet? Me neither. Maybe we'll have to stick with "Spineless" for now. Reluctantly.
Before you go, there's one more thing you must see: I'm as green as the Emerald Wasp with envy!
Dragonfly Woman went to Bugshot-2011, a workshop with Alex Wild and other photographers. And, as if that weren't enough, TGIQ went, too, and came home with this amazing photo!
UPDATE: I totally forgot to mention next month's CotS. It will be hosted by Jason Robertshaw, at Cephalopodcast. Send your submissions to him, at cephalopodcast at gmail . com by the end of October.
SECOND UPDATE: A change of instructions for the next Circus; Kevin says to send submissions to him, for now. The address is kzelnio at gmail dot com.