Monday, February 22, 2010

Look At That Tongue!

I. Hate. Butterflies.

I know it sounds crazy because what American-born female hates butterflies but keep in mind I'm a biology major and Ashland requires you take zoology (or botany) and this is forever my image of butterflies:

What you're looking at is a scanning electron microscope image of a pyralidae moth. Moths and butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera meaning their wings are covered with scales.(1) Both have similar physical appearance and life cycles, however moths are more active at night, typically more boring in color and tapered, straight antennae.

Almost all Lepidoptera have the coiled proboscis (seen above) as a feeding mechanism. The tube extends into the flower for sucking up nectar and is controlled by a sac inside the head. Through contraction and expansion (similar to the human diaphragm) the butterfly can suck up nectar.

If I hate them so much why am I researching them? Because Observations of a Nerd tackle my intrigue. A recent post as can be seen at the link at the bottom addressed the parasitic wasp, which if anyone reading this was in Evolution you'd know Dr. Greene made quite the to do over them. These wasps lay their eggs inside other animals which then hatch and grow, feeding on the host from the inside out. Finally, like something from alien they burst out of the host to go spread their evil. Two particular species mentioned Trichogramma brassicae and Trichogramma evanescens smell the chemicals used during butterfly mating to stalk and murder their prey. Butterflies secrete chemicals during mating to ward off other males from a recently impregnated female. These wasps sense those chemicals and stalk the butterflies to their egg location where they attack. The most amazing part is that they stalk so incredibly closely. They actually climb aboard the disgusting mouthparts of the butterfly and ride with them to their egg-stash. Clever little "spies" as they're popularly called. I guess it doesn't pay to have a long gangly-tongue?



  1. My Video didn't embed but here's the link that was Supposed to be in there!

    Also, could someone tell me how to post links with different names? Like I want it to say "Observations of a Nerd" not

  2. Greg made us all Admins, but you may still have to go into your settings and switch to the new editor. Once you do that, let me know and I can meet you at a campus computer and teach you some mad HTML skillz. I can also show you how to embed videos. Look for me in the Patterson lab; I'll be working on a certain Microbiology lab report all night tonight.

  3. Let me know if you still need help. The YouTube video I posted will show you how to do the links, but like Pat said, you need the newer version of the Blogger editor. An admin on your account will need to turn it on. If Patrick does not show you I can demo it at the beginning of class on Wednesday.