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Jul. 16th, 2017 12:42 am
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And you thought that human goths had it rough.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Blue Crawfish_2

According to Wikipedia, crayfish are also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs or yabbies. Taxonomically, we know they’re in the super-families Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. Linguistically, though, it’s a bit messy.

The term “cray” come from the French word “escrevisse”. Because they live in water, people tack on the word “fish”, even though it’s clearly not one of those. Here in America, “Cray” is trademarked*, so the stem-word “craw” is preferred. In the midwest, we know from fishes so we call them “crawdads” instead … apparently our fathers were all lobster-like. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But wait! It gets even messier. In Singapore, “crayfish” is what they call the slipper lobster, something entirely different … except when it refers to a different species, invasive, which is more commonly known as the Australian red claw crayfish, the Queensland red claw, the redclaw, the tropical blue crayfish, and the freshwater blueclaw crayfish.

Deeper into the linguistic messiness, it appears that in Australia, New Zealand and, oddly, South Africa all these names refer to a type of spiny lobster. With “crawfish” referring to the saltwater version and “yabby” meaning the freshwater species … unless they’re talking about some different species, the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish or the Murray crayfish.

And this, my friends, is why biologists have to rename everything in Latin.

* This may not actually be the reason

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Dwarf Crocodile

There were once seven dwarf crocodiles. Strangely, they are missing along with that one leucistic alligator that was living with the.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Komodo Dragon_1

The komodo dragon uses it’s tongue like a bookmark, so it knows where it left off eating.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 14th, 2017 02:53 pm
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Squirrel knew her task to steal light from humanity was easier than when Coyote stole fire from the gods.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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I recently drove past a field of these.

The fidget spinner craze has officially gone too far.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 13th, 2017 08:01 pm
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Cleared for landing

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 13th, 2017 05:26 pm
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Do not accept a friend request from this shark. He’s a slacker.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 11th, 2017 04:01 am
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There’s one thing sadder than the carnival on the road to Bayamon.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Javan Pond Heron_1

One interesting thing about visiting zoos is that you get a really skewed view of what species are and are not rare.

Take the amur tiger, for example. I see *lots* of them. I also see a great many amur leopards, bali mynahs, rhinocerosauruses, elephants, lemurs, and macaws. This is because they’re in breeding programs to help their respective species survive.

Little critters like this Javan pond heron are quite common in their native range … but I don’t live there and most zoos don’t care for them because they’re not rare enough. At the Baton Rouge Zoo, though, this was the only species I’d never seen before. So it was rare for me.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Rosate Spoonbill_2

Most people think they’re called “roseate” because of their colouration, but it’s actually because they have an unwarrantably optimistic view of our planet’s future.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 4th, 2017 11:01 pm
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Some peacocks are paint-by-number.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Krick's Dik-dik_8

According to Wikipedia “However, this panting is only implemented in extreme conditions; dik-diks can tolerate air temperatures of up to 40 °C (104 °F).”

I’m not sure I want to know how this data was determined.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Lappet Faced Vulture_5

Eagle practice is going rather well.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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As I surround myself with smart people who appreciate nature, I sometimes worry I am living in a bubble.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

White Heron

Jul. 3rd, 2017 02:00 pm
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White Heron_5

The early bird is not limited to worms.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 3rd, 2017 12:09 am
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This hornbill is surprised that you are still using such a simple password.

Might be time for a change.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jul. 1st, 2017 06:36 pm
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This parrot has a secret, but isn’t going to tell you what it is.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Abdims Stork_3

Stork pondering that, while we know Rome was not built in a day, we don’t know how long it did take.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Jun. 27th, 2017 11:01 pm
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I promise I’ll get back to posting animal photos soon. In the meantime, here’s this.

This is a space shuttle orbiter. Back before the United States became afraid of aliens*, we used to send these things up fairly regularly. We made six of them. As of a couple months ago, I’ve seen them all.

1) I saw the Enterprise when I was very young and the family visited the National Air and Space museum in D.C. I barely remember it.

2) I saw the Columbia from afar one evening while at an outdoor concert. It was long enough ago that I don’t fully trust my memory, but I remember it going overhead on the back of a plane, the musicians and audience going silent as it flew by.

3) I saw the Discovery a few years ago at the National Air and Space museum annex in D.C.

4) I saw the Endeavour earlier this year at the California Science Center in L.A.

5) In early May, I saw Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center, which I visited because it was too windy to go kayaking that day**.

6) The only launch I saw was Challenger. I was eight years old. My mother and brother went off to school, my dad staying home with me. Since I felt awful, my dad decided to cheer me up by letting me watch the shuttle launch. I was pretty interested in space, and we had been paying attention to this particular launch because it was to be the first in a line involving civilian teachers. My mother had told us about the program and mentioned that she was going to apply, but that she’d withdrawn her application because my brother and I were so young. She hoped to try again when we were older. I was excited as I watched the launch prep on the TV, thinking about how cool it would be when I got to see my mom go to space and see a real-live launch.

Through the static of our small television, I watched the launch begin. Minutes later, I saw something that, at the age of eight, had never crossed my mind as a real life possibility.

A few months after that, NASA canceled the teacher in space project.

My mom never went to space.

She did, however, come home from school later that afternoon.

Fair trade.


* Yes, I meant it that way too.

** Kayak photos from the following day to come later.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


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