July 02, 2005

Animal Wierdness du jour starts with an ancient mystery about Pygmy Elephants now solved (they're their own subspecies). On a smaller scale, Sri Lankan eggheads found dozens of new tree frog species, but realise many known species are either extinct or on the verge. Even smaller: male and female fire ants have independent gene pools, almost as if each gender is its own species.

More: two good ol' boys reeled in a goddam piranha from a river in Illinois. Actually it was a Pacu which is the vegetarian piranha cousin. In Vermont, a Whooping Crane has found itself somewhat lost. There's only a few hundred of these beauties in existance. Those hard to pronounce sea anemones apparently rewrite the history of survival, or something. More fish: what's that damn thumping? Answer: fish looking for a shag. Finally, the obligatory Crypto link: the artist who saw a sea-serpent and was inspired.

  • "Males are created when a female egg goes unfertilized." A damn shame I says...there outa be a law.
  • Thanks to Chy's Animal Weirdness subject, a quantity of alcohol imbibed and being caught in a massive swarm of fireflies earlier tonight - - I bring you Agressive Mimicry! Aggressive mimicry is a phenomenon where one organism (a mimic) tricks another organism (the dupe) into thinking it is another (the model), with the result being a negative outcome for the dupe, as well as the model. In the case of aggressive mimicry in fireflies, mated females that belong to a few species in the genus Photuris mimic the female responses of other fireflies in the same area in order to attract males of the mimicked species. When these males are tricked (or duped) into landing near these mimics to mate, they are pounced upon and eaten! Alas, I am unable to find the original article in entirety from Vol. 245 of Scientific American (1981). But here is the Firefly Doc's, page [gaar, last updated 2001 - blasphemy!] Think I shall go for a stroll now and try this agressive mimicry myself...
  • Oh, and thanks for the grand post Chy!
  • Fire ants are the spawn of Satan. Having said that: for sheer weirdness level, that is the coolest damn genetic strategy I have ever run across. Off topic/ You can get rid of ants by sprinkling dried grits on their mounds. Once the queen is fed by her workers, it's all over. No poisons necessary, works like a charm. /off topic
  • I have always felt grits to be inedible. Cooked or uncooked.
  • I'd give 'em a go. Seem like a beer food. Kinda hard to imagine what they're like from the recipe, I've always wondered. /looks at GIS So how do the grits get rid of the ants? Expand in the gut or something?
  • wEIrd
  • Grits are pretty much just cream of wheat made from corn. No real flavor of their own. Comfort food, basically. If you don't grow up eating them, you're unlikely to be impressed by them. So how do the grits get rid of the ants? Expand in the gut or something? While I've never been sure, that was what I always figured was happening. Grits are like grape-nuts on steroids. A single cooked serving starts off as something like one or two tablespoons. Crazy.
  • I was tremendously excited to discover that pygmy elephants exist, but became severely disappointed upon learning that they are actually still pretty big.
  • Yes, it would be kinda nice to have adult elephants around the size of, say, a Shetland pony.
  • /me suddenly "gets" the reference to a small elephant in Crichton's Jurassic Park.
  • Papier mache is more interesting to eat than grits, which combine blandness and slime/ooze, the two most detestable qualities food can have, in my opinion.
  • There is this food called Huitlacoche which is a mexican dish of corn truffle, essentially corn invaded by this fungus stuff. It is black and slimy. I guess that's not something you'd dig, either, bees. I'll try anything once other than vile offal, but it sounds like grits aren't that great. I have eaten haggis, I can't imagine much worse than that for how it's made, except for goat's eyeballs, head cheese, fried brains or tripe, the very idea of which makes me shudder. Then again, apparently many Japanese people find Westerners' prediliction for cheese quite unnacountable. Oh yes, eating animal testicles, which I believe some people enjoy. My granny tells me her father and brothers enjoyed eating fried, battered sheep's brains. Fuck that!
  • It is remarkable how few people serve animal testicles at the places I get invited to. I don't eat horse or the flesh of predators or parrots, but this has to do with my own taboos, rather than simply taste and/or texture. And being Buddhist, I rarelly eat meat anyhow. I do eat mushrooms and tempeh, though I've never tried this Mexican fungus. The Horror of the Haggis, though, knows no bounds!
  • Isn't there some quaint euphemism for fried animal balls.. prairie oysters, or some-such?
  • The Horror of the Haggis? It's nothing. Fear vegetables!
  • Rocky Mountain oysters. Traditionally roasted in and eaten around the same fire the branding irons were heated in. People scoop them out and juggle them and eat them and make witty remarks about de-horning and de-balling catttle, all in the jolly way that cowboy man-chaps have. /bees, in full galoot today
  • bees - maybe it's just California, but we used to batter and fry them. I was a teen ager at the time, so it would have been just too embarrassing to actually eat one.
  • for the lack of a better place to mention, F*@# You, Whoopi Goldberg
  • She should avoid opening her mouth.
  • and breathing.
  • Normally, I like Whoopie, but she's talkin' through her @ss on this one. Dogfighting is ILLEGAL in 50 states. It's a FELONY in Virgina, as well as 47 other states. To my shame and sorrow, it's a misdemeanor in Idaho (and Wyoming.) The only US holding in which dogfighting is legal is American Samoa. It's a violation in Guam. info here Yeah, the South had traditions of dog and cock fighting. There was a tradition of slavery, too. I don't suppose either one of them want to go on record with a statement about "upholdin' ALL those fiiiine traditions of the Deep South." Eh? It's illegal now, folks. Been that way for years.
  • Oh, just let it go, it's fine. It's what those people down south were raised to do! Sorry Whoops, loved ya but that's a terminable offense. Get out. Idiot.
  • Actually it was a Pacu which is the vegetarian piranha cousin. This Fish Has Teeth So Big It Bites People‚Äôs Balls Off
  • Explains a certain former Illinois senator. (Yes, I WENT THERE. And I got bit.)
  • Foop, I'm just ... speechless.