*rugenius - , 06:01 - 0 Notes

Violet Oil Beetle and the Oil Beetle Hunt!

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Despite being a zoologist, I confess, I wasn’t 100% sure what this amazing creature was when I first caught sight of it. A bright glint of blue and purple in the sunshine, it didn’t fit with its surroundings and the Londoner in me immediately dismissed it as a stray bit of foil or plastic. But then we noticed it was moving on its own, waddling along in a very exposed position at the edge of a Dorset field.

On closer inspection, it looked a bit like a rove beetle with its half-sized elytra (those hard outer wings), but it far larger and more iridescent than any rove beetle I’d ever seen (some 30mm long)! So we snapped a few photos of the beautiful beetle for ID, then popped it back on the soil, where it started to dig. Check out our photos and find out more about these beautiful and fascinating insects on the next page!

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*rugenius - 04.12.12 , 09:50 - 1 Notes

Behind the Scenes at the Horniman Museum

mainhorn.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I am privileged to give you a glimpse behind the scenes at the Horniman Museum. I’ve been volunteering behind the scenes with the Horniman’s natural history department for the better part of a year now and never cease to be amazed by the depth of the collections that extends far beyond the specimens on display to the public.

For those not familiar with the museum, the Horniman is a true South London gem that combines stunning gardens with an outstanding range of collections including anthropological artifacts, musical instruments, natural history collection and aquarium. Though it seems to be missed off the typical London museum list, it’s definitely worth a trip south of the river. Where else can you find so many incredible collections under one (architecturally gorgeous) roof? But I digress! today’s look at the Horniman isn’t about the parts typically on display to the public (though you should definitely check them out). instead, it’s a glimpse at the Horniman’s off-site Study Collections Centre, which is only occasionally open to members of the public during tours, but a place I’m lucky enough to get to work! Take a peek through loads of pictures behind the scenes on the next page!

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*rugenius - 04.03.12 , 10:20 - 1 Notes

Animal Inside Out at the NHM with Body Worlds

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

As soon as we heard about a new exhibition that would bring Body Worlds to animals, I knew we had to see what the fuss was all about. This morning we had our chance to check out Animal Inside Out, the awesome new temporary exhibit at the Waterhouse Gallery of the Natural History Museum in London that gives visitors a look beneath the skin of some of nature’s most spectacular animals. The exhibition is adapted from Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds and jointly presented by Body Worlds and the Natural History Museum. More photos of the exhibit and more details on how plastination works on the next page!

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*notcot - 04.02.12 , 17:40 - 0 Notes

Natalya Zahn: Natural Illustrator

natalya1.jpg On amazing packages that just take your breath away, Natalya Zahn’s book, Tropical Forest, just arrived in this stunningly illustrated mailer! How beautiful is that Takin? Natalya Zahn is a natural illustrator based out of Cambridge, MA and a selection of her work and other nature related discoveries are on her blog, i (heart) odd-toed ungulates… the book, Tropical Forest, contains text and illustration from her blog between 2010 and 2011. They look stunning printed in this Blurb book! Take a peek inside on the next page!

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*rugenius - 03.31.12 , 01:40 - 1 Notes

Amazonian Insects

bugs.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

The diversity of wildlife is astounding and nowhere more is that more evident than amongst the insects, a class that account for about 80% of the world’s animal species. As a ‘creepy crawly’ loving kid and amateur entomologist, I’ve been lucky enough to encounter a pretty wide range of insects, nonetheless I was blown away by the array of insect life we encountered during our trip to the Amazon rainforest. Despite the fact that the trip was not an explicit entomological expedition, far from it, we found our boat home to hundreds of incredible insects that were attracted during the night to our rather conspicuously bright white boat, the Captain Logan, as we traveled along the Rio Negro!

The Amazon is thought to be home to a staggering 20 million insect species, which just goes to show how tiny and insignificant a fraction of the region’s biodiversity these photos represent, but nonetheless capture the impressive variations in shapes, colors and textures evolved to fit a variety of lifestyles and offer a glimpse into the rainforest. I was paricularly amazed by the variety of moths who ranged from ultrasleek to heavily furred, from streamlined stealth bombers to complex origami masterpieces. More photos of these incredible insects on the next page.

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*rugenius - 03.21.12 , 12:40 - 0 Notes

Poison Arrow Frogs at the London Zoo

zslfrogs-5.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

There are so many species I love in the Reptile (and amphibian!) house at the London Zoo, but these two species were particularly fascinating to watch as they boldly courted around the enclosure. The black-legged or bicolored dart frog (Phyllobates bicolor) and the strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio) were chasing prospective mates and rivals around their enclosures and calling so loudly you could hear them over the din of school groups (a very impressive feat!).

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*rugenius - 03.20.12 , 10:35 - 0 Notes

Slender Lorises at the London Zoo

slenderloris-1.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I recently had the honor of spending a quiet weekday morning completely mesmerized by these incredible creatures at ZSL London Zoo. The beautiful grey slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) is an incredible nocturnal primate and it’s hard to describe the experience of watching them. It’s simultaneously very relaxing and thrilling to see them moving with a unique combination of elegance and awkwardness with their long limbs stretching from branch to branch. At the London Zoo, these creatures live in the nocturnal house below the Rainforest exhibit and the zoo recently welcomed twins! See more pics on the next page!

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*notcot - 03.16.12 , 13:01 - 0 Notes

East Camp Home Pillows

pillow1.jpg I love art as objects… there’s something fun about paintings and photographs as transformed into large pillows you can hug and squeeze… the change in texture changes the way you relate to the pieces (like these i’ve long loved from click for art)… the latest find are these beautiful pillows from East Camp Home Pillows featuring the creature photography of Valerie Shaff. The two initial collections are Exotics (Tigers and Crocs and Peacocks and such) and Fable (Doves and Snakes and Hawks and such)… see the gorgeous pillows on the next page!

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*rugenius - 02.24.12 , 01:15 - 1 Notes

White-spotted Jellyfish at the Cal Academy

calacademyjelly-02.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Another of my highlights at the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences were these delightful jellies! The Australian or white-spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata), are a beautiful species native to the Western Pacific ocean, but also found in North America, where they are an invasive species. See more jellies on the next page!

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*rugenius - 01.30.12 , 09:00 - 1 Notes

The Biodiversity Project from Joel Sartore

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A Linne’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to capture our incredible biodiversity before it disappears. Using zoo animals to create stunning portraits of amazing creatures. The project began with amphibians (and the gallery includes some real gems), but now includes all sorts of creatures, totaling over 1,800 already. Find out more about the ambitious and stunningly beautiful The Biodiversity Project and see a selection of photos from the project on the next page.

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*rugenius - 01.27.12 , 11:45 - 1 Notes

Flamboyant Cuttlefish at the Cal Academy

fcuttlefish1.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

A zoo and aquarium regular, I love discovering new creatures and one of my favorite aquarium specimens in the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences was the Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi), a colorful species native to the tropical Indo-Pacific. True to their common name, these cuttlefish are incredibly beautiful and mesmerizing to see in action. See more photos and videos on the next page!

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*notcot - 01.26.12 , 14:01 - 4 Notes

Creatures of the Cal Academy of Sciences

calac0.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I finally made it to the California Academy of Sciences in its new Golden Gate Park home! I have been looking forward to checking the new facilities out in person, ever since Jean visited (and posted about) it a few years back (see previous posts here, here and here). As expected, the facilities are incredible and the animals it houses are phenomenal. I can’t recommend visiting strongly enough. With a walkthrough rainforest filled with terarria and aquaria as well as the dedicated Steinhart aquarium, the Cal Academy is a real treat to visit and proved to be the perfect playground for a macro lens! Here are just a few of the academy’s incredible creatures. More pictures on the next page!

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*notcot - 01.23.12 , 15:00 - 0 Notes

Mosquito Caught!

carniv1.jpg Remember a few years back when i visited California Carnivores? Well my carnivorous plants that came home with me from that trip are still doing their thing happily… and the other day NOTCOT.org editor, Justine Aw, came by and noticed that this sundew (most likely the cape sundew, Drosera capensis) caught its own prey! Fascinating to see it in action up close as its little tendrils wrapped tighter and tighter… see her close ups on the next page as well as the BBC’s time lapse footage of the a sundew at work!

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*notcot - 11.15.11 , 12:00 - 0 Notes

Macro Kingdom III

fiatvid2.jpg This featured video series on beautiful visual inspiration is brought to you by FIAT! Thank you FIAT for your support of NOTCOT!

Clemens Wirth’s Macro Kingdom III is a video poem of sorts diving into “a special place, unseen microcosmos within a unseen universe bind us together.” The way the sounds pull it all together is mesmerizing! See the video on the next page…

TO PAGE 2 of “Macro Kingdom III”! ——->

*notcot - 10.15.11 , 19:54 - 1 Notes

Boobies on Christmas Island

blueft0.jpg Wow. SO CUTE. The various species of boobies (red-footed, brown, etc) and sharp coastline are amazing! These are also in from my dad’s adventures in Christmas Island (which according to wikipedia - The mountain was originally a volcano, and some basalt is exposed in places such as The Dales and Dolly Beach, but most of the surface rock is limestone accumulated from the growth of coral over millions of years. “The summit of this mountain peak is formed of a succession of tertiary limestones ranging in age from the Eocene (or Oligocene) up to recent reef-deposits, with intercalations in the older beds of volcanic rocks.”)… so far you’ve seen the insane crabs… see the rest of the bird and jagged coastline pics on the next page!

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