Cruziohyla calcarifer (Hylidae) from Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica.
This species was previously within the genus Agalychnis but was moved to the new genus Cruziohyla in 2005.
The Splendid Trrefrog is native to Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. This species is often considered to be rare, although more likely it is under-recorded, since it is a canopy frog and has a very soft call. Only occasional individuals are seen from time to time.
Giant Eagle Owls (Bubo lacteus) - Thomas Retterath
Also known as Milky eagle owl, or Verreaux’s eagle owl, this species is the largest and heaviest African owl. Despite its large range, the giant eagle owl is locally rare and affected by human persecution and use of pesticides.
Halite(salt) encrusted Ram Skull
Mount Gunson Region, South Australia
Fujitsu creates tablet that tricks you into thinking you’re feeling water, pushing buttons or stroking an alligator
The Japanese firm has developed the prototype tablet device usING ultrasound vibrations to mimic a variety of textures.
These vibrations change the friction between the finger and the screen to trick the brain into thinking it’s plucking a harp, touching the skin of an alligator and more. It can also give the sensation of a slippery liquid.
Other, similar technologies change the friction between the finger and the screen using static electricity, and Fujitsu claim the use of ultrasound is a world first.
It is also a breakthrough technology because ultrasound vibrations usually need a large amount of energy to work effectively. This is the first time it’s been developed to run on smaller devices with mobile batteries.
The company claims that it can reproduce edges, ridges, protrusions and bumps as well as other sensations using its technology.
Absurd Creature of the Week: The Wasp That Enslaves Cockroaches With a Sting to the Brain
In the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, which my 10th grade history teacher showed us under the mistaken impression that it could teach us anything at all about history, an American war hero isbrainwashed by communists to assassinate a presidential nominee. It doesn’t work, because the reds went about the mind-control all wrong. They would have done well to take a lesson from the emerald cockroach wasp (aka the jewel wasp), which employs a very real and far more disturbing and effective method of brainwashing.
This parasitic marvel enslaves cockroaches by stinging their brains in ridiculously precise spots and injecting mind-controlling venom. The wasp then leads its zombified roach to a chamber, where it lays a single egg on its perfectly relaxed host and seals it inside with pebbles. Here the larva bores into the cockroach and feeds off its organs before killing it and emerging from its corpse into the light of day.
This is nature’s own Orkin Man — if the Orkin Man was psychologically imbalanced and just a little too excited about his job, and didn’t have all the wings and stuff. But just think of the evolution involved here. The jewel wasp has over millions of years not only developed a mind-control drug, but an astonishingly methodical brand of brain surgery to deliver it.
read more from Wired
Fluorite specimen with beautiful phantoms from Minerva Mine, Illinois
Hollow Rhodochrosite Stalactite Slice
Capillitas Mine, Argentina
A sun pillar over Sweden
Have you ever seen a sun pillar? When the air is cold and the Sun is rising or setting, falling ice crystals can reflect sunlight and create an unusual column of light. Ice sometimes forms flat, six-sided shaped crystals as it falls from high-level clouds. Air resistance causes these crystals to lie nearly flat much of the time as they flutter to the ground. Sunlight reflects off crystals that are properly aligned, creating the sun-pillar effect. In the above picture, a sun-pillar reflects light from a Sun setting over Östersund, Sweden.
Image credit & copyright: Göran Strand
Good News: Harbor Porpoises’ Remarkable Return
After a 65-year absence, harbor porpoises are back in San Francisco Bay, providing scientists a unique view into their lives
by Anne Bolen
ON A BLUSTERY CALIFORNIA AUGUST DAY, researchers are studying some of San Francisco’s least-known residents from an unlikely laboratory: the Golden Gate Bridge. Below in the bay glides a parade of boats—fishing vessels, a tall ship, a slow container barge packed with colorful boxes like giant Legos.
Behind the scientists, tourists pause to snap pictures, unaware of the ongoing hunt. Through binoculars, Bill Keener suddenly spots his quarry: a harbor porpoise, its dark gray dorsal fin appearing briefly before resubmerging. Keener predicts the porpoise’s course and, just as it surfaces again, photographs the animal before it disappears. “Got it,” he declares triumphantly.
This harbor porpoise is one of more than 600 that Keener and the three other marine mammal scientists of Golden Gate Cetacean Research have recorded in the San Francisco Bay since 2008. This team, made up of Keener, Isidore Szczepaniak, Jonathan Stern and Marc Webber, is compiling the world’s first photo catalog of wild harbor porpoises…
(read more: National Wildlife)
photos: Golden Gate Cetacean Research
The eastern emerald elysia (Elysia chlorotica) is a sea slug that steals and absorbs chloroplasts from the algae it eats, a behavior called kleptoplasty.
photograph by Patrick J. Krug