Quick! Do some community science before winter strikes!

There are two fun projects you can do right now.

  • #Invertefest begins today! All you need to do is wander around your home or parks or wherever and take photographs of any invertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish do not count) and post them. Any invertebrates! It doesn’t have to be spiders! You’ve got bumblebees in your yard, cockroaches in your kitchen, lice in your hair, those are all good.
  • Eight-Eyed Expedition is a new one. They want you to get out and observe California tetragnathids, a kind of orb-weaving spider. They’re easy to recognize with their long skinny bodies. You can also photograph them and post them, but there’s an additional request: they want you to write to them and request a collecting kit. They’ll send you vials of alcohol and more instructions, and in this case what they want you to do is find them, photograph them, record their exact location, and then kill them humanely and send their little preserved bodies back to Berkely. This does seem to be a California-exclusive project, which breaks my heart because one of the things they’ll give you is a “Certified Arachnologist” sticker, and I ache for the validation.

At least I’m going to get out and take photos of Minnesota invertebrates today, even though my wife snuck around and erected another bird feeder right outside my office window.

This vertebrate does not count.


  1. Sean Boyd says

    Pictures of invertebrates, eh? Doesn’t the House of Representatives do that once every two years?

  2. wzrd1 says

    I’ll consider doing that after a new science project is completed.
    Figuring out why my coffee pot exploded on me this morning. Sat it down, the glass pot exploded.
    Obviously, I also have to get a replacement, so any organic samples I come across will be captured. Probably be humans that are unmasked, is there an alcohol sample container for those specimens? ;)

  3. tommynottimmy says

    I’ve been taking the kids on afternoon walks to see what we see on our suburban street. It is amazing what we find just by looking. Ambush bugs are all over the sunflowers down the street. We found a praying mantis on some grass growing a crack in a gutter. My favorite find was the giant ichneumon on house, which I can check off my wish to see list. It also means we should have horntails around, and it has been some years since I last saw one.
    I don’t have a Twitter and don’t have any plans to start, but this is the most tempted I’ve ever been.

  4. Jazzlet says

    wzrd1 regarding your coffee pot, and with the caveat that this is entirely anecdotal, in my experience if boroilicate glass is hit or dropped it doesn’t always shatter immediately, but the next time a stress is placed on it, in your case and one I saw when there is enough coffee in the pot to raise the temperature of the glass enough. I’ve also seen it happen when someone dropped a coffee pot on to the floor, it didn’t break immediately but exploded when they put it in a bowl of very hot washing up water.

  5. wzrd1 says

    @Jazzlet, most glass now isn’t borosilicate, but simply tempered glass. Even money, a mote of salt was on the hotplate surface that applied point pressure and rendered the fracture.
    There were around four ounces of liquid in the pot when it blew. So, I’m fairly certain it wasn’t thermal in nature, but crap that shouldn’t have been on the nearby hot plate that caused the annoying failure.
    BTW, had a similar experience with your ending example, with a Corelle plate that was dropped. Talk about a mess to clean up after inside of the dishwasher!

    @crislawson, your comment brought to mind a YouTube video of an insect colony aficionado who ran into problems with his ant colony being mite infested and the colony was failing.
    Some viewers mentioned that his beetles had predatory mites that likely could address the parasitic mite problem.
    Long story short, he quarantined the queen and colony in different locations, introduced the predatory mites, resolving the problems.
    Mirroring a bedbug infestation problem and a predatory mold that I used to cull the parasites.