formicality

Horny Toad / Horned Lizard

I have to say the strangest creature I’ve ever come across in the Mojave is a pretty innocent looking thing. 

There are over a dozen sub species but they are all about the same size and roughly the same shape. Some have very prominent horn structures while others have smaller spikes. 

They don’t get too much bigger than the size of a human hand and they typically spend their days eating ants and other small insects. 

Well, that’s pretty normal for a lizard. It’s even down right cute in a pocket dragon type of way. So why is it the strangest? Well… my friends… you see the Horny Toad has a defense mechanism unlike any other that I know of. When it’s threatened by say a raven, coyote or snake it does… well… here I’ll show you. 

It shoots out caustic blood from it’s eyes. What you see above is one hundred percent real. The Horny Toad can build up the pressure in blood vessels in its eyes so much that they rupture and the pressurized blood come bursting out. Not only does it squirt several inches and up to and over a foot but it contains compounds similar to formic acid which is theorized it gets from eating vast quantities of ants and keeping the particles of the acid in it’s bloodstream. Oh and if that was not strange enough for you it can shoot out blood any direction it wants from it’s eye. 

This only temporarily blinds the Horny Toad in the one eye until the blood is cleared away and then it’s ready to do it again later on after it replenishes the blood. 

So to recap. 

Desert pocket dragon squirts caustic blood from eyes when threatened. 

The title ‘Ender’s Game’ is really quite cruel.

I mean, the gut-wrenching tragedy that had us all in tears at the end of the book was the fact that Ender had been lied to. His soul had broken because of the fact that the simulation wasn’t really a simulation and he had just gone and wiped out a whole species. It wasn’t his game.It was the teacher’s game and the government’s game and Colonel Graff’s game but never was it ever Ender’s game. By the end, he didn’t want to play anymore, and that’s how he managed to defeat the formics. 

Seriously, Ender’s Game? More like The sick and twisted joke we play on Ender Wiggin.

Let’s see when he breaks.

Allergy Relief: Nettle Tea

Urtica dioica or commonly called Stinging Nettle is a diverse herb with known medical attributes dating back to as early as around 100 AD. The stinging sensation this plant can give off comes from small glass like hairs on the leaves, that when broken release a stinging liquid made up of formic acid, histamine, acetyl-choline and serotonin. However, fear not because the juice made from grinding the leaves of this plant can be used to treat its sting. 

Nettle can used to treat hay fever, asthma, itchy skin, insect bites, and most importantly treat acute allergy symptoms. (After trying this brew I did notice a significant decrease in my seasonal allergy symptoms.) In addition nettle can boost the production of breast milk, cleanse urine, treat enlarged prostates, work as an anti-arthritic, and slow bleeding. If you’re on any sort of medication for depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, or sedatives nettle can cause a moderate reaction.

The tea has a light grassy smell and mild taste of spinach. Honey is a great addition to this tea.

Happy Allergy Season,
-The Tea Drinkers Guide

open to: m / f / nb ; pre-established !

     she had woken up mid-nightmare, and her first thought was how uncomfortable she felt. — a layer of sweat covered her body, and there was the familiar itching sensation ; something june knew she couldn’t scratch away. usually, the sleeping medication prevented her from even having the nightmares, but every once in a while, they popped up & there really was no way of avoiding it. — the bad ones especially were a problem ; so bad the feeling of rough hands pressed against her skin felt like they were somehow actually still there.

     she slowly changed out of her previous clothes and into new ones, a habit of sorts before going to find the other whom she knew would most likely be sleeping. there was only one thing she hated more than being a vulnerable mess, and since she wanted to avoid that one thing at all costs, she allowed herself to slink into the others bed, delicately fitting herself beside them. — the other should’ve been used to this by now, and yet she found herself explaining anyways, ‘ it was just a bad one, ‘ she starts, saddling up closer to possibly feel some sort of closeness to someone. ‘ and i don’t wanna be alone. ’

Nomenclature Corner: Carboxylic Acids

The typical sophomore organic course covers the basics of IUPAC nomenclature for simple molecules: linear chains of 5 carbons and greater are denoted by numerical prefixes from Greek and Latin, while groups smaller than that are given historical prefixes: “meth-”, “eth-”, “prop-”, and “but-”.

However, chemistry has a tendency to retain a lot of trivial names. The series of linear carboxylic acids, while easily named with IUPAC nomenclature, all have a separate set of historical names with varying usage frequency. These names, up to C10, are:

  • C1: Formic, “ant” - Formic acid is found in ant venom, and was originally isolated via the distillation of ant bodies.
  • C2: Acetic, “vinegar” - Acetic acid is the primary component of vinegar (after water).
  • C3: Propionic, “first fat” - Propionic acid is the first carboxylic acid to have physical properties similar to the archetypical fatty acid; Although miscible in water, addition of salt will cause a separate organic layer to form (unlike formic or acetic acid).
  • C4: Butyric, “butter” - As with many four-carbon compounds, butyric acid has the smell of rancid butter.
  • C5: Valeric - Valeric acid naturally occurs in the gardan valerian, V. officinalis.
  • C6/8/10: Caproic/Caprylic/Capric, “goat” - All three of these carboxylic acids have an unpleasant goat-like smell.
  • C7: Enanthic, “wine bloom” - The smell of enanthic acid is similar to wine that has gone bad.
  • C9: Pelargonic - Pelargonic acid is found in geraniums, genus Pelargonium

As the number of carbons in the carboxylic acid increases, the frequency of the common name in the chemical fields tends to decrease: C1 and C2 acids are exclusively known as formic and acetic acid, C3~C5 acids are called by either name, and C6+ acids are generally known by their IUPAC name. Biochemical and biological fields use the trivial names more frequently (for example, cholesteryl pelargonate and testosterone enanthate). Lactones and lactams are also sometimes named using these trivial names (γ-valerolactone, ε-caprolactam, etc.).

4

Christmas Island Crab Migration

The Christmas Island Red Crab is a land crab that is only found on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Though they’re land crabs they spawn in the sea and undergo a mass migration to the water’s edge yearly. During this time the island is covered in a carpet of crabs- they’re all over the roads, trees, sidewalks- EVERYWHERE. Their journey is arduous and many of them die, either from being run over by cars or yellow crazy ants which shoot them in the face with formic acid and then eat them as they decay.

However, the people of Christmas Island are sensitive to the plight of the crabs, and rather than kill them off, they build tunnels and bridges to help them get across the island safely, and even close off certain roads to decrease fatalities. They’ve also undertaken baiting programs to kill some of the yellow crazy ant supercolonies, since they’re not native and wreak havoc on the islands wildlife.

sandandshadow  asked:

"Is anyone out there? Can you hear me?" He sighed, knowing he should conserve his air. "This is Mika Honorata broadcasting on 23A1, is anyone out there? My ship is in distress, I have no food or water, propulsion is down and I don't know how much longer my air will last. If anyone can hear me, please, answer"

@sandandshadow

Ender woke up with a start as a screen turned to full brightness and an alarm beeped. Two shorts and a long followed by a brief silence. A distress call. He stumbled out of bed, brushing a hand over the Formic egg as he headed to the console.

“This is Final Test,” Ender said tiredly. “What are your coordinates? And what’re you doing out this far? No Earth vessel is supposed to be beyond Sector Theta Omega without permission from their respective government.” He was kind, not stupid. Just becuase the other man sent out a distress call didn’t mean Ender would fully answer without some sort of explanation as to why they were out this far.

Marla, as he had named the Formic Queen, twitched in her egg.

An excerpt from the zoological text The Hunter’s Encyclopedia of Animals (First Edition).
Glossary

A

acuomotor reflex The inflation of the gobul’s spines by taking in water and air into its elastic stomach, in order to expand its body.

aestivation (L. aestivare, from aestās, summer) A state of dormancy or torpor induced by high temperatures and arid conditions. Characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate.

agonism (Gr. agōnistēs, combatant) An offensive action or threat directed toward another organism.

ailuromorphic (Gr. aílouros, cat, + morphḗ, form) A pseudowyvern with features superficially reminiscent of felids. This includes (but is not limited to) a feathery integument analogous to a pelt, rictal bristles functionally similar to vibrissae, and obligate carnivory.

allogenic engineer Organisms that modify their biophysical environment by changing living or nonliving material.

alpenstock The barioth’s epidermal protrusions on the leading edge of the wings, knees, and lateral sides of the tail. Used for traction atop ice. Synonyms include “spine” and “spike.”

anapsid (Gr. an-, without, + apsis, arch) Amniotes in which the skull lacks temporal fenestrae, with turtles the only living representatives.

anautogeny A condition found in insects where a gravid female must feed on blood before oviposition in order for the eggs to mature.

angiosperm Seed-producing, fruit-bearing, flowering plants.

anisodactyl The arrangement of digits wherein three toes face forward and are accompanied by a single back-facing toe.

anthrax A lethal disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can occur in three forms: epidermal, respiratory, and intestinal.

apex predator Carnivorous animals that occupy the highest trophic levels and have a disproportionate influence on the health of their ecosystem.

aratrum (L. arātrum, plough) The cranial bone of the barroth, comprised of trabecular tissue and enlarged sinuses. This structure houses the nasal cavities and supports five dorsally-located nares. The namesake for the eponymous genus Aratrum.

B

benthos (Gr. depth of the sea) Organisms that live along the bottom of seas and lakes; adj., benthic.

biological species concept A reproductive community of populations (reproductively isolated from others) that occupies a specific niche in nature.

biome (Gr. bíos, life, + -ōma, body) Communities of plants and animals characterized by climatic and soil conditions; the largest ecological unit.

C

caelincolid (L. caelum, sky, + incola, inhabitant) Any species belonging to the family Caelincolidae.

capillaturid (L. capillātūra, false hair) Any species belonging to the superfamily Capillaturoidea. Named for their plumage, which is often compared to fur on mammals. Also known as “wig wyverns.”

cathemeral An organism that demonstrates sporadic intervals of activity during the day or night.

CDIHG The Conservation Division of the International Hunters’ Guild. A group that assesses a species’ susceptibility to extinction, by monitoring populations and establishing criteria for Red List placement. Established forty years ago in response to loss of biodiversity, due to overhunting and anthropogenic ecosystem destruction.

cephalovelos (Gr. kephalé, head, + vélos, arrow) The ribbed hood structure found on the lagiacrus’ head, studded with electroreceptors on its ventral surface.

chitinase (Gr. khitṓn, tunic) Hydrolytic enzymes that break down glycosidic bonds in chitin, most commonly found in bacteria and fungi, and to a lesser extent, plants and some animals.

cloaca (L. cloāca, sewer) The posterior orifice that houses the openings for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts.

conflagrant tube A mucus-lined tubular organ that connects the flame sac to an opening in the oral cavity, where the byproduct waste gas can be expelled through the mouth.

conspecific A member of the same species.

coprophagy The consumption of fecal matter.

convergent evolution See homoplasy.

crepuscular An organism that is active at twilight (dawn and dusk).

crypsis The ability of an animal to avoid detection through methods such as camouflage, nocturnality, subterranean lifestyle, and mimicry. Involves visual, olfactory, and auditory concealment.

D

dagger [†] A typographical symbol that, when used next to a name, indicates death or extinction. Also called an obelisk.

desiccation The state of extreme dryness, or the state of drying.

diapsid (Gr. di-, two, + apsis, arch) Amniotes in which the skull bears two pairs of temporal fenestrae, including birds and reptiles (barring turtles).

dog wyvern Any theropod species belonging to the family Vipracanidae. Includes the genera Magnaraptor (the greats) and Dromos (the dromes).

E

ectoparasite Parasites that live on the outside of the host.

ectothermic (Gr. ektós, outside, + thermē, heat) An organism that cannot internally maintain its body temperature and must rely on external sources of heat to moderate metabolic rates. “Cold-blooded.”

elaiopteral gland (Gr. élaio, oil, + pterón, wing) An oil-secreting gland found on the inner forearm (antebrachial) of pseudowyverns in Capillaturoidea. The gland secretion is conveyed to the surface in hollow ducts, terminating at a modified spur. Used for maintenance of feather integrity, pheromone production, and waterproofing.

elder dragon A catch-all term applied to unrelated species with similar cultural and religious significance, capable of posing high-level threats to human populations. The term elder dragon is often a misnomer, used to describe very specific organisms from groups such as the squamates, cephalopods, and perissodactyls.

electrocyte Flat disc-shaped cells stacked in thousands that function by pumping sodium and potassium ions.

electrogenesis The biological generation of electricity by living organisms.

electroreception The ability to perceive ambient electrical stimuli.

electroreceptor Sense organs located in the skin used for electrolocation.

endothermic (Gr. endon, within, + thermē, heat) An organism that can internally maintain its body temperature by balancing metabolic heat production by heat loss. “Warm-blooded.”

epibiont An organism that lives on the surface of an organism, typically in a commensalistic relationship.

euryhaline A species that has a tolerance to a wide range of salinities.

exsanguination Sufficient blood loss, normally to the point of death.

extant When a species is still existing.

extinct When a species is no longer in existence. Extinction is typically decided by the death of the last individual of a species.

F

Fatalis Trinity An occult religion practiced the world over. Its chief deities are the Fatalis Brethren (species of the genus Fatum), whose worshippers believe that they are living gods reincarnated in the form of six-limbed dragons. Their Temple maxim is “Damus nostra fāta tibi.”

fire gurgling An agonistic display seen in raths and espinas. The animal will release small concentrations of methane that ignites on contact with a hypergolic chemical secreted by modified venom glands, causing tendrils of fire to ooze from its jaws.

fire regime The pattern, frequency, and intensity of wildfires prevailing within an area. Fire regimes are an integral component of fire ecology, and the interactions between fire and biotic/abiotic components of an ecosystem.

flame sac An organ connected to the stomach of raths and espinas, used for storing methane produced by microbial bacteria during the breakdown of roughage.

formic acid A carboxylic acid synthesized by ants in the family Formicidae, transmitted by sting from a modified ovipositor, spray ejected from the abdomen, or autothysis.

formicary An ants’ nest.

frenzy virus A viral disease that causes heightened aggression and acute inflammation of the brain after a period of incubation. The pathogen modifies its host’s mortality and behavior long enough to facilitate its transmission to other hosts. The shagaru magara is its primary vector.

frost sac An organ derived from a heavily-modified foregut, found in the mountain barioth. The stomach oil stored within can be ejected in a forceful spray, which then rapidly cools once exposed to frigid temperatures.

G

gaster The bulbous posterior portion of the metasoma found in hymenopterans.

Gause’s law An ecological principle which states that species competing for the same resource cannot coexist if all ecological factors are constant. If one species has an advantage over the other, then the less fit species will either undergo extinction or an evolutionary or behavioral shift toward a different niche.

H

haemal arch A bony arch on the underside of tail vertebra.

heterodont (Gr. heteros, different, + odous, tooth) Having teeth differentiated into incisors, canines, and molars for different purposes.

heterogeneity A property ascribed to environments with a mix of uneven concentrations of multiple species (biological), terrain formations (geological), or environmental characteristics (meteorological).

homoplasy The emergence of a characteristic or adaptation shared by a set of species but not present in their ancestors, acquired independently by unrelated groups.

hydrophyte Plants with specific adaptations for living in aquatic or marine environments, submerged, on the surface, or in proximity to water.

hyperphagia (Gr. hupér, over, + -phágos, eater) A preliminary stage to heterothermy, in which an organism will gorge in order to increase its body weight. It will then subsist off of the accumulated fat reserves during its seasonal metabolic depression.

I

immunohistochemistry The process of detecting antigens in cells by observing the principle of antibodies binding to target antigens in tissue segments.

insectivory A diet of a carnivorous organism consisting chiefly of arthropods.

International Hunters’ Guild An organization whose jurisdiction supersedes that of any government. Its foremost goal is to act as a support network for hunters, while providing education, medical attention, and economic opportunity to people. Abbreviated as IHG.

J

K

keystone species A species (typically a predator) whose removal leads to reduced species diversity within the community, and the cessation of the entire ecosystem.

kinsect Any number of domesticated neopteron species trained by hunters for insectry (Fr. insecterie, from insecte + -erie).

L

leviathan Any species belonging to the order Arcacollum, defined by the characteristic arched neck. The term has also been inaccurately applied to suchians such as the nibelsnarf.

lynian A member of the species Felis comes. The term is not exclusively used with actual lynians, and can refer to bipedal organisms with humanoid characteristics such as the urukis and shakalakas (relatives of the human and wyverian).

M

Mandibulaformia (L. mandibula, jaw, + fōrma, shape) A genus of flying wyverns characterized by an ossified protrusion of the jaw. While they serve no function in prey-capture or mechanical digestion, the sickle-shaped appendages are thought to be used in intraspecific communication.

membranalan (L. membrāna, skin, + āla, wing) An organism from a clade of nonavian theropods. Characterized by membraned wings (with or without feathers), bipedalism, and endothermy.

motion parallax A monocular depth cue discerned through the proximity of objects, and how fast they appear to move relative to the viewer.

N

necrosis The death of cells and/or tissues within an organism due to disease, injury, or failure of the circulatory system.

necrotoxin Toxins that cause necrosis (death) in all cells they encounter and destroy all tissue types. Transmitted through the bloodstream.

nictitating membrane A transparent or translucent third eyelid. Protects the eye from UV exposure, debris, water, snow, and impact damage.

O

olfaction The sense of smell.

ovoviviparity A mode of reproduction in which the embryos that develop inside eggs are hatched and retained within the body without a placental connection to the mother.

P

paradraconian (Gr. rapá, para, beside, + drákōn, dragon) See pseudowyvern.

patagium A membranous structure that assists an animal in gliding or flight. It is found in bats, birds, some dromaeosaurs, pterosaurs, gliding animals, true wyverns, pseudowyverns, bird wyverns, and dragons.

pentadactyl (Gr. pénte, five, + dáktulos, finger) The condition of having five digits on each limb.

phalange Digital long bones found in the hands and feet of most vertebrates.

photophore A light-emitting organ found of various marine animals that appear as luminous areas on the skin.

phylogeny (Gr. phylon, tribe, race, + geneia, origin) The origin and diversification of any taxon, or the evolutionary history of its origin and diversification, usually presented in the form of a dendrogram.

piscivory A diet of a carnivorous organism consisting chiefly of fish.

pneumatization The formation of air-filled cavities in hard tissues such as bone.

praesidiosaur (L. praesidium, fortress, + Gr. sauros, lizard) Any species belonging to the clade Praesidiosauria.

prenuptial hunt A behavioral assessment demonstrated by raths, in which a courting pair will hunt a prey item together. The success of the outcome determines whether or not the rathian will form a monogamous pair with the suitor rathalos.

proventriculus The narrow, glandular region of the stomach located between the crop and gizzard that uses enzymes to commence digestion, and/or stores food. Also called the foregut.

pseudowyvern (Gr. pseudḗs, lying) An organism from a clade of nonavian theropods. Characterized by membraned wings (with or without feathers), pronograde posture (quadrupedalism), and endothermy.

Q

R

receding rhampotheca A keratinized epidermal sheath found in many non-avian theropod lineages, thought to have once formed a full or semi-complete beak in ancestral species.

riparian zone The interface between land and rivers/streams, characterized by a high biodiversity of hydrophilic plants along the banks and river margin.

ruminant (L. ruminare, to chew the cud) Cud-chewing artiodactyl mammals with a complex four-chambered stomach.

S

satellite colony In hymenopterans: Small, outlying colonies staffed with soldier-caste ants that encircle the larger, central colony.

scutum (L. scūtum, shield) A chitinous extension of the pronotum, found on altaroths. Acts as an esophageal blockage when swallowed by barroths, and protects the head region when the altaroth sprays formic acid toward its anterior end.

shellshocker An electric organ derived from modified nerve tissue, located on the medial region of the lagiacrus’ spine.

symbiosis (Gr. sún, with, + bíos, life) The living together of two different species in an intimate relationship. Symbiont always benefits; host may benefit, be unaffected, or be harmed (mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism).

synapsid (G. synapsis, contact, union) An amniote lineage comprising the mammals and the ancestral mammal-like reptiles, having a skull with a single pair of temporal openings.

T

tapetum lucidum (L. tapetum, tapestry, + lūcidum, bright) A layer of tissue behind the retina in most vertebrates that reflects visible light, increasing the availability of light to photoreceptors. Increases night vision in nocturnal and deep sea organisms.

thagomizer The distinctive arrangement of four to ten horizontal spines on the tail of reptiles. Coined by cartoonist Gary Larson and perpetuated by paleontologist Ken Carpenter.

torpor A state of decreased physical activity indicated by decreased metabolic rates and internal temperature.

U

ungulate (L. ungula, hoof) Any hooved mammal.

V

vipracanid (L. vīpera, snake, + canis, dog) See dog wyvern.

vivernan (It. viverna, wyvern, from L. vīpera, snake) An organism from a clade of nonavian theropods, colloquially known as “true wyverns.” Characterized by featherless membraned wings, bipedalism, and ectothermy.

W

X

xerophyte (Gr. xērós, dry) Plants with specific adaptations for living in dry environments with little moisture, such as deserts or snow- and ice-covered biomes.

xyrafitperid (Gr. xyráfi, razor, + pterón, wing) Any species belonging to the family Xyrafipteridae.

Y

Z



Definitions written and compiled by the author, with some wordings borrowed from Integrated Principles of Zoology (14 ed.). Etymologies sourced from various websites, books, and online databases, including wiktionary.org.
Herb of the Week-Pennyroyal

Common names

Pennyroyal
Pennyroyal (botanical name Mentha pulegium) belongs to the mint species and is a member of the Lamiaceae family. Although this herb is native to Europe and the western regions of Asia, pennyroyal has now been naturalized in North and South America. Several species and a wide variety of pennyroyal, such as apple mint, pineapple mint, orange mint, are found across the globe. This variety of plant flourishes well in proper sunlit areas and partial shade. This variety of plant requires moist, deep and sandy soils for robust development. In addition, pennyroyal plants also need fertile soil and regular watering. Unless the roots of this variety of plants are not restricted by underground fencing, they breed rapidly.

Keep reading

3

Preparation of a red dye. 

After a reaction between an aromatic nitrile, a stong base (potassium tert-butoxide) and something else, a deep blue-purple compound formed (1.-st pics). After diluting it with methanol (2.-nd pics) it turns pink and after when it is acidified with formic acid it turns red (3.-rd pics).

I always loved when a chemical transformation could be seen with my eyes, but sadly this happens rarely. In most cases I start from a white powder or a liquid, it turns yellow/brown/black and after a lot work hopefully I can get another white powder or a transparent liquid.