Circus of the Spineless – Edition #9

Welcome to the 9th edition of Circus of the Spineless!

We have a great line-up of posts for our visitors. This month’s theme has to do with mystery – the unexplained, the arcane, the unknown, the impossible.

We’re going to send you on a journey during which you’ll be challenged to come up with identifications, or theories to explain what’s going on, or how something happened. You might even find yourself in the middle of a crime scene investigation!

Get ready to begin a round-the-world voyage of exploration and discovery!

A note to all: I’ve written this brief preface after assembling all of the posts for the COTS carnival. I just want to say to all of the contributors that the quality of the photography in so many of the pieces featured in this month’s edition is simply astonishing. As a fellow photographer, it was a great pleasure to see so many fine photos illustrating a good many of your posts. Thanks to all for sharing your work! And to all of our readers, I do hope you’ll visit as many of our contributors’ sites as time permits. The content of the pieces is varied and interesting, and as I’ve stated above, the photos are terrific — I guarantee that some of them will blow your socks off! Now, on with the show!

Let the questions begin!

Who? – first we begin with some questions of identity.

1.) From Australia, Duncan at Ben Cruachan presents us with a most extraordinary spider, and a cranefly with thread-thin legs. Do you know their identities?

2.) At Niches, Wayne has given us a group of photos to examine, and then asked us for the identity of some very strange caterpillars. If you don’t like your mysteries spoiled, don’t peek at the “update” at the bottom of the page. Such marvelous creatures! Enjoy!

3.) I don’t quite know how to describe this thing — pincers, spiny hairs, and a long, larval body, carrying a house made of debris on its back. Go take a look for yourself and see if you can ID this creature from photos posted at The annotated budak.

4.) In Backyard Bug, David introduces us to the unknown visitor who has been hanging out on his front door, at Science and sensibility.

5.) At Thomasburg Walks, Pamela asks that age-old question, Who’s that eating the Mugo Pine?

What? – in which we attempt to find out what’s going on.

1.) At Niches, Wayne provides us with a series of photos of a stealthy hunter and asks us what we think this creature is up to. What’s your take on the situation?

Where? – we get the scoop on where the action takes place.

1.) In Stalking the horned fungus beast, we hike along with Dave and Steve as they search for these elusive creatures at Via Negativa.

2.) In part one and part two of Windblown World at Burning Silo, we discover where the insects go when weather is less than pleasant.

How? – we contemplate how certain things happen, or how they came to be.

1.) At Snail’s Tales, Aydin provides us with a most fascinating series of photographs to show how Pomatias elegans comes out of its shell. If you’re looking for more of the same in the way of wonderfully illustrated posts, don’t miss Aydin’s posts on how a slug lays eggs, and how the North American land snail, Discus patulus got its name.

2.) In Parasite of my parasite is not my friend, Bora of Science & Politics helps us piece together the complex puzzle of how Lyme Disease relies on several organisms and circumstances to get around.

3.) How do they do it? In No Accounting For Taste, Thingfish at The Taming of the Band-Aid” ponders how the Phymata Ambush bug can dine on the unpalatable Plecia Lovebug — complete with photos!

4.) From Singapore, The annotated budak attempts to get to the bottom of how those globe-trotting nudibranches are spreading out all over the world. Wouldn’t you like to know too?

5.) Meanwhile, over at Circadiana, Bora dissects a recent study on tritrophic relationships involving wasp parasitoids, attracted by plant volatiles released in response to herbivory by insect larvae. Read along to see how it does (or perhaps doesn’t) work.

6.) And at Purple Motes, Douglas investigates the recent discovery and contribution of the ’spineless gene’. And what a shocker it is!

Why? – in which we look for an explanation.

1.) At the Invasive Species Weblog, Jennifer gives us the facts behind a recent USDA quarantine on pine products and by-products. Can you guess why?

2.) Monado at Science Notes asks the question of why it is that we should be concerned about the continuing exploitation of Horseshoe crabs.

3.) The annotated budak asks us about the purpose of a dragonfly’s partially iridescent wings. Camouflage or mate attraction? (Wish we had odonates like this one in my part of the world!)

Mysteries (Solved) – please take time to enjoy a few mysteries that our hosts and/or their commenters have solved.

1.) A murder mystery is solved at Niches when the cunning culprit is caught in the act! Direct from the crime scene, Wayne provides us with stunning photos of the evil perp.

2.) Here at Burning Silo, a two-part mystery concerning the identity of a huge black bee-like fly, and a very weird, brilliant yellow creature turn out to be connected.

3.) A complex story unfolds at The Taming of the Band-Aid, as Thingfish tracks down the identity of a Larra wasp which he has photographed.

And Finally ….. Some Terrific Mug Shots – a few invertebrate portraits for your viewing pleasure!

1.) Thingfish at The Taming the Band-Aid has sent us a small collection of incredible insect photos. This is just the thin edge of the wedge! He’s got many more where these came from.
* A wasp mimic Robber fly.
* A Bee Fly that looks like a cross between a mosquito and a teddy bear.
* An Ichneumon wasp that looks like he’s up to no good. Who’s he looking at?
* The delicate Rambur’s Forktail damselfly.

2.) Jennifer at sends us this photo of a forest tent caterpillar eyeing her Virginia Creeper. What will she do?

3.) A wonderful collection of photo stories from The annotated budak:
* A wasp bringing home a katydid for her brood.
* A Cicada that goes for a dip in a fish tank.
* Spiders seen on the way home from a talk by Joseph Koh on the hunting strategies of spiders.
* And a few more spiders of Singapore.
* A couple of colorful flies.
* A very knobby little inchworm.

4.) A couple of my own favourite photos taken during the past moth and posted here at Burning Silo.
* A mating pair of One-eyed Sphinx moths (Smerinthus cerisyi)
* A dragonfly that would have inspired Louis Tiffany.
* A lovely mossy green caterpillar with a kabuki headdress.

And there you have it — this month’s edition of Circus of the Spineless! Thanks to everyone who dropped by to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of COTS, and perhaps discovered some very neat blogs that you’ll want to explore. Also, a big thank-you to all of the contributors. If I’ve goofed up any of the links, please let me know! If you sent something in and I seem to have missed posting it, let me know (I used almost everything I was sent). If you want to know more about this carnival, or would like to submit posts or photos for the next edition, be sure to visit the carnival’s home website for more information and the schedule for future carnivals.

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