Critters, and berries, and trees! (Oh, my!)

Several of my favorite blog carnivals have posted new issues this week – should make for some good reading over the weekend. If you’ve not yet had the chance to explore these carnivals, they are a nice way to find blogs of interest that you may not otherwise encounter. If you have, then you know the quality and diversity of their contributions make them an easy way to catch up on the latest thinking in their respective subjects. Head on over and explore the links – and as always, don’t forget to tip the waiter!

Circus of the Spineless #51 is up at Deep-Sea News.  Against the backdrop of the sickening and ongoing debacle in the Gulf Coast, Kevin Zelnio reminds us that it is not just fish, birds, and dolphins that are/will be suffering for a long time to come, but the unsung invertebrates as well. (Personal opinion – somebody better go to prison over this!). It is in this context that 19 contributions are presented, spanning 4 phyla and 3 arthropod classes. Insects, as always, are well represented (for my part, I temporarily set aside my beetle-myopia to promote a new ant paradigm).

Berry Go Round #28, titled “The best of the best in plant biology, conservation, photography, and evolution”, can be found at Greg Laden’s Blog. It’s nice to see heavy-hitter Greg giving some much needed support to this delightful blog carnival – not just by providing a well-organized collection of links to recent blog posts about plants, but also in discussing the value of blog carnivals – regardless of their size – and ways to make them more useful. I especially like this suggestion:

And, if you are engaged in social networking in any way (Facebook, Twitter, Whatever) please send this carnival out on that network, and at least a selection of the blogs linked herein.

I haven’t featured this blog carnival in awhile, but Casey has posted a fine Festival of the Trees #48 at Wandering Owl Outside. Liberally sprinkled with his own tree photographs, Casey presents an issue focused on the uses of trees – both by wildlife and, most interestingly, by the indigenous cultures of North America.  Another intriguing post shows the current state of worldwide deforestation – “the numbers are UGLY!”

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae

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March Carnivalia

It’s a new month, and that means a new crop of blog carnival issues. I have my favorites that I follow, and since I’m not hosting anything this month (for once!) I thought I’d give you my take on these newest editions.

Circus of the Spineless is the undisputed king of invertebrate blog carnivals as it approaches its semi-centennial issue, and Matt Sarver at The Modern Naturalist introduces each contribution in Circus of the Spineless 48: Cabinet of Curiosity with a quote or image dusted off from the cabinet of scientific curiosity. Book lungs, honey pots, crusty love, hairstreaks, hot tigers (beetles, that is!), giant snails, monarchs, caterpillars, and shocked crayfish top the bill this month.

…botanical carnivals are like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get, but it’s bound to be delicious!

I have a fond spot in my heart for Berry Go Round, as it was the first blog carnival that I ever hosted. This month, Sally White at Foothills Fancies offers a delicious assortment of botanical treats with Valentines for Plant Lovers (BGR #25). My favorite are the white orchids (of course), but the stunning Arisaema photographs and two very interesting fossil plant posts also piqued my interest.

I don’t have a contribution of my own in this month’s Festival of the Trees, but I promote it anyway because it always offers such an exquisite blend of botanical learnings and passionate, almost spiritual writing. Trees evoke something deep in the human psyche, and this reverance is on full display in the quotes used by Jeremy at The Voltage Gate to introduce the posts in Festival of the Trees #45: Voice. Don’t believe it? How about this teaser?

If you were living just across and if I were a tree
In that yard,
I’d delight you with fruit,
I’ll be watered with your glimpse,
just look at me in ardor,
I’d bear the sweetest fruit for you.

…or this one?

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be tree-bereft, or tree-oblivious. I’m sure I’ve not been as open-hearted as I could be with trees, but I’m learning, and they are great teachers.

I’ve often considered Carnival of Evolution to be the most erudite of the blog carnivals that I follow, and Carnival of Evolution #21: The Superstar Edition by Kelsey at Mauka to Makai proves it. Eight of the issue’s contributors are finalists for Research Blogging Awards and one is an award-winning journalist. See what some of the best science bloggers have to say about biology’s biggest superstar (Darwin, of course) and all manner of terminal branches on his tree of life – from bacteria to fish to birds to mammals. I’ll be trying my own hand at the cerebral challenge of hosting this carnival’s next edition on or about April 1st – it would appear I have a tough act to follow.

Don’t forget – An Inordinate Fondness (my favorite carnival!) will make its first journey away from the homesite this month, with issue #2 to be hosted by Amber Coakley at Birder’s Lounge.  Submissions are due by March 15.  Issue #4 of House of Herps is also scheduled for mid-March but apparently still needs a host.  If you’ve never hosted a blog carnival before, why not give this one a try (every blog carnival host was once a newbie)?  If you have hosted a carnival before, you already know how to do it – why not help?  Submissions for this one are also due by March 15, and you can send them to the home site.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010

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Sunday Matinée: Buzzed Creep Cockroaches

Credit goes to dreptungeek from Romania for finding this.

In other news, the New Year has brought with it a plethora of natural history-focused blog carnivals, including several of my favorites:

  • Circus of the Spineless #46 is up at Kate’s Adventures of a Free Range Urban Primate.  A fine selection of invertebrate posts is featured, including tool-using octopi, deep-sea pelagics, tiny isopods, lotsa bugs (real and colloquial), and, of course, one really impressive fly!  I’ll be hosting the next issue right here at BitB—send me an email with a link to your submission by January 30 if you’d like to participate.
  • Jason Hogle at xenogere has followed up his first blog carnival hosting effort (I and the Bird #115) with the equally impressive Festival of the Trees #43: The Celebration Tree Grove.  Jason deftly weaves the submitted posts into a celebration of trees as providers of sustenance, beacons of spirituality, and victims of our own shortsightedness.  I, sadly, had nothing to contribute to this issue, but I guarantee you will be mesmerized by its meandering passages.
  • The natural history feast continues with Carnival of Evolution #19 at Christie Lynn’s Observations of a Nerd.  Evolutionary tales run the gamut, from tiny orchids to giant caterpillars to really big-headed tiger beetles.  Go take a look.
  • Jeremy at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog has been on holiday break, but he should be back any day with the 23rd issue of Berry Go Round.  I know for a fact that a stunning terrestrial native orchid will be featured, and I look forward to seeing what other botanical treasures he will have included in this issue.

A final note—don’t forget to check back here on or about January 18 for House of Herps #2 (yes, I’m hosting two blog carnivals this month!).  Send your submissions to House of Herps or directly to me by January 15 if you wish to get in on this new carnival.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010

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Winter botany quiz #4

Back to botany mode¹, and in that vein there are a couple of botanically-oriented carnivals with new issues just out.  The first is Berry Go Round #15 at Mary Farmer’s A Neotropical Savanna. An expert botanist herself, Mary presents a nice selection of March blog posts with themes ranging from spring (or not), tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, evolution and extinction, research, and food. The second is Festival of the Trees #34 at Seabrooke Leckie’s the Marvelous in Nature. A naturalist of many talents, Seabrooke has collected posts on trees from around the world and introduces them with her usual sagacity.  I have contributions in both of these carnivals, but of course, you’ve already read them!

¹ One caveat – it occurs to me that I needn’t be apologetic every time I switch to botany mode – the name of my blog is, after all, Beetles In The Bush 🙂

On to business – it’s quiz time again, and while much of the country moves into spring mode, winter hasn’t yet lost its snowy grip completely.  These pictures were taken in the waning days of winter, and I have my suspicions that somebody out there is going to ace this test considering the abundance of clues that have been dropped over the past week or so. In addition to the plant identities, bonus points to anyone who can identify a key commonality among them. As usual, comment moderation has been turned on for the next couple of days or so to give all an equal shot.






Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009

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