NSF’s Science360 Photo of the Week

Abalone larvae

This picture, taken during a lab experiment, shows abalone larvae that have recently settled and are browsing on a red algal surface. The larval surface receptors controlling the events of metamorphosis have been activated by contact with unique peptides at the alga’s surface. In a project previously supported by the National Science Foundation, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, discovered that some red algae produced chemical signals that regulate the metamorphosis of abalone, from its larval stage to its mature form. Image credit: Robert Sisson, ©National Geographic Society.

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Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive

“We found that four of the pesticides most commonly found in beehives kill bee larvae,” said Jim Frazier, professor of entomology, Penn State. “We also found that the negative effects of these pesticides are sometimes greater when the pesticides occur in combinations within the hive. Since pesticide safety is judged almost entirely on adult honeybee sensitivity to individual pesticides and also does not consider mixtures of pesticides, the risk assessment process that the Environmental Protection Agency uses should be changed.”

Wanyi Zhu, Daniel R. Schmehl, Christopher A. Mullin, James L. Frazier. Four Common Pesticides, Their Mixtures and a Formulation Solvent in the Hive Environment Have High Oral Toxicity to Honey Bee Larvae. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e77547 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077547

Bee feeding larva in the hive. Credit: Maryann Frazier/Penn State

Fairy Rings….with fairies!!

Spiraling Whitefly Larvae and Egg Trails (Aleurodicus sp., Aleyrodidae, Sternorrhyncha, Hemiptera)

These whitefly larvae produce white waxy secretions in the form of sturdier scales and long filaments. The ring pattern on the leaf is made by the adult whiteflies as they lay their eggs in a spiral fashion on a bed of a similar waxy material. In this image, those eggs have hatched (hence the larvae) but the marks from the egg trail remain.

A spiralling whitefly is not a fly but a true bug, a member of the order Hemiptera who all feed on liquid food via stylets, modified tubular mouthparts. To confuse the matter further, adult whiteflies resemble tiny moths, with four wings covered by a white dusting of mealy material that resembles the wing scales in butterflies and moths.

by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese true bugs and hoppers on my Flickr site HERE…..

Made with Flickr

Swordfish are enormous creatures, but they sure don’t start out that way. The Department of Teeny-weeny Wonders is marveling at this close-up photo of a baby swordfish or swordfish larva, taken by fishery biologist Juan C. Levesque.

Most swordfish grow to be about 3 meters (9.8 feet) in length and some get even bigger still, but when they first hatch from their eggs they’re only about 4 millimeters long. These itty-bitty larvae grow at an astonishing rate, feeding on a diet of other fish larvae and zooplankton, reaching a length of up to 39 inches (3.25 feet) during their first year of life.

To learn more about these amazing fish check out Levesque’s article about them on Florida Sportsman Magazine.

[via Twisted Sifter]

Baby Slipper Lobster

Photograph by Peter Parks,, from the book Citizens of the Sea

This baby slipper lobster, found during a Census of Marine Life expedition, is completely transparent, though as the creature grows, a thick shell will cover it.

The lobster’s bizarre eyes may confuse predators while it floats among plankton, or tiny animals, according to the new National Geographic Society book Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life.

shutthefuckupandlistenidiots  asked:

What are your thoughts on the Tympole->Seismitoad and Poliwag->Politoed lines starting with tadpoles, but Froakie->Greninja line starting with a fully formed frog hatching from an egg?

HMM good question, I’ve never really thought about that, however a quick scan through most first stage evolutions (i.e. hatchling stages) quickly shows that pokémon with larval stages, like poliwag and tympole, or caterpie, weedle, larvesta etc. are the exception rather than the rule, and in that context froakie doesn’t seem that odd. I’ll give you some examples

A good rule of thumb is that invertebrates (except for cephalopods, some insect and arthropod groups and some others) will mostly have hatchlings and larval stages that look VERY different from their adult forms

For example we are familiar with this in insects such as the butterflies with their caterpillar larvae that undergo metamorphosis into adult butterfly bodies (caterpie -> metapod -> butterfree). This type of metamorphosis, with distinct larval and pupal stages is called holometabolic metamorphosis, and it is found in not only the butterflies, but in most higher orders of insects (including the flies, the bees wasps and ants, and the beetles). This means that beetle pokémon for example, such as ledyba, should have a larval stage like caterpie or larvesta

(below, upper right are newly hatched ladybird larvae, lower right, a ladybird pupae and ladybird older larval stage - note the stark difference from the adult form, and likewise from ledyba, a first pokemon stage, like froakie )

Marine invertebrates especially tend to have strange looking, often microscopic larvae, as these larvae drift in the plankton before committing to a benthic adult life. For example check out this sick starfish early larval stage, look at the baby starfish (to the right) -> completely different to the adult form that is seen in staryu

everyone loves molluscs (well I do) but people especially love the nudibranch pokemon but check out it’s creepy tiny larvae

Ok well these are all invertebrate examples, but froakie and tadpoles and lovely amphibians are vertebrates!

Well fancy that, there are examples of wierd looking hatchlings and larval forms in the vertebrates too (aside from ones we know, such as tadpoles)

For example, fish larvae often look very different to adults (nice yolk sac bro)

Even in the egg laying mammals, the monotremes, hatchlings are usually near unrecognisable (for example in the echidna)

And of course, baby bird hatchlings are… well you know what those are like (and furthermore, even older juveniles are unlikely to have adult plumage and colours until they mature)

In fact, some of the only egg laying vertebrates in which we really DO see hatchlings that look like miniature adult forms, as seen so often in pokémon, and like in your example of froakie, is in the reptiles, snakes, lizards etc.

TL;DR Many animals have distinct larval and hatchling stages that we do not see in first stage of pokemon evolution, so froakie is not an exception

I’m not going to put out a scientific reason, because it’s blatantly obvious that from a design perspective most larval stages are too tiny and wierd

so there you have i-


hahaa I actually had the REAL answer to your question all along


in 2012, Gomes-Mestre et al. carried out a comparative study of 720 frog and toad species, representing the majority of frog and toad families, and found that whilst over half had the classic aquatic tadpole metamorphosing into adult life cycle, the other half displayed a huge diversity of life cycles, including hundreds of species with no tadpole stage at all like this beautiful lady here with her beautiful froglet babies, in which frogs grow by direct development  (i.e. no metamorphosis, like us)