Monday, April 28, 2008

Wasp Nest with 'Live Feeds' encountered

This week I found a freshly formed nest of Mud wasp in the corner of a window. It was made of red soil. On breaking open it from the corner I found inside the cells three big wriggling larvae of the wasp brown, and yellow in colors and also --- 61 smaller larvae of some other insect! The smaller larvae were bright greenish in color, and lay paralyzed! They have been put inside the nest by the female of ‘Mud dauber’ (Black and yellow Mud wasp), after stinging them. I had seen before only paralyzed spiders in such nests. Now with this nest I find larvae of other insects too. Probably availability factor makes difference in the type of such live foods, it seems.
Inside another older nest of the same type of wasp I found fifteen mature wasp larvae with the remnant pieces of the smaller larvae!
I was risking the stinging by the mother wasps while I broke open the nests. But later I read that they do not return to the nests after sealing the last cell with mud!
It is really a wonder behavior in these wonder wasps

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sensing Dangers by Experience or Instinct

There is news about the ability of the human nose in the media: human nose could sniff out or distinguish between two closely similar scents – only when one of them was accompanied by a mild electric shock! It implies that we respond only at times of danger, that too only after having an experience before (that is, our childishness is converted into adulthood by our experience – for safeguarding our further survival).

It reminds me of canning by teachers (corporal punishment) that could help student to distinguish between ‘distractions’ and ‘study’ at school, when it is given mildly.

I was wondering how crows, mynahs and dogs give out alert calls on seeing a snake. Here it is different from the explanation given above for the nose: only their ancestor-parents’ experience (instinct) makes them to give an alert call, which aspect is passed down the generations! They may not have seen a death of their kin by a snake, which their ancestor-parents must have experienced. But yet they are able to sniff out the danger!

I have my own personal experience regarding this: I gave out a loud cry when the bike’s side stand was just pressing on my toe accidentally. But I there was no injury! I had a similar experience of being wounded by the bike’s stand sometime back. That painful experience has alerted me to take out the toe instantly and give out a cry.

Wonder experiences’ save our lives and preserve our health indeed!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Fish that sleeps inside pond bed

When ponds dry up, the fish and every living thing in it die. But the ‘Lung fish’ does not die at such a condition. It burrows into the mud and forms a capsule around it and sleeps in it – aestivation! Its metabolism slows down drastically and it can remain in this state for up to two years. When it rains and the pond gets water it releases itself from the capsule and comes out to swim in the water! It is said that it is a primitive fish and that it breathes with its lungs taking in air by swimming up to the pond’s surface. Its lungs are the modified forms of swim bladders found in other fish (that keep their buoyancy in the water). It also has a longer life span than other fish! It is really a wonder fish.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Scent to locate the Offender

A seventy years old man told me that he accidentally disturbed the nests of
Asian Giant Hornets and was stung repeatedly. And that on seeing another squad of hornets coming towards him he ran and dived into the well water and escaped from further stinging by the hornets. It is said that the first stinging hornets leave behind some pheromones which the following- on squad of hornets detect and attack the targeted person easily – within seconds of the first attack! Luckily the man dived into the well water that blocked the pheromones. But the goats that were grazing nearby became the next available target of attack by the furious hornets, and as a result one of them died.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Hungry 'Black line'

At a winter morning a ’black line’ was seen climbing up a distant leafless tree. The line was about ten feet length. On seeing through binoculars the black line turned out to be a snake! Yes, it was a Black Rat snake that was climbing up the tree to catch and devour the little birds that were perching on its branches! This Black Rat snake is an excellent climber. A climbing wonder!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Wild Lily of Monsoon Rains

The Glory Lily’ flower is enchanting with its beautiful colors and curled arrangement of petals. Its botanical name itself tells about it: Gloriosa superba. I find it in the wild on the roadside bushes – only at a certain period of time of the year. Yes, it is seen here in the North East monsoon season only – that too for a few days only! I usually search for its first bloom in the monsoon and pat myself for having found it out first in the season. I am doing this search for this wonder lily each year for the past fifteen years. But peculiarly I could not spot it in the previous year. The reason is that the rainfall was inadequate!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Keen Observation of Apes' Habits

Now there are many modern medicines that are the derivatives of crude drugs obtained from the parts of plants. Many such derivatives have also been now synthesized without accessing to plant sources. But the ultimate credit goes to our ancestors who had keen observations. They had watched and studied animals taking unusual plants peculiarly, at certain times (of illnesses), and reported about that and about the advantages the animals gained after such intake. Recently the African apes (chimpanzees) are in the news:

  1. They swallow leaves to expel out worms.

  2. They take soil to make the plant leaves already ingested have anti-malarial properties.

  3. They take the pith of a tree for constipation to get purgation.

It is also said that the native people living next to the forests inhabited by these apes, have similar medical habits as that of the apes! This indicates that the benefits of wonderful keen observations of ancestors are being still availed by these people!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Way the Wonder Medicine reaches a Patient

Medicines are panacea to people who are suffering both physically and mentally. In older times a cure was not near for a particular illness. Many medical scientists tried in various ways to find it out. It took a long time to discover it – only a few of them succeeded in it. The cure-offering medicines were first subjected to trials in animals and then tried on humans. If they were found not compatible or efficient, their newer derivatives were found out, and these were tested again. When these trials turned out to be successful, the formulation of the medicine was shaped out to get it in a convenient form - a tablet, syrup, an ointment or an injection. Then the medicine was produced in large quantities, and that too was later made affordable to all the classes of people. Now a cure for the illness is available. The illness has to be now found out (diagnosed) and confirmed first by a doctor and then the medicine shall be selected and prescribed by the doctor. The pharmacist shall dispense it as advised by the doctor. So, whenever or wherever one finds a medicine, it should be given its due respect. Behind it lie the hard work of the Scientist who discovered it and the effort of the Company that produced it. A patient sees it as a God-sent helping hand. If such a wonder medicine lies unused with you donate it to others who need a cure with it – before it crosses its expiry date.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Excavation of Secrets of Stone Henges

One of the today's news that I read is exciting to me: the site where the Stone Henge of Salisbury, Wiltshire, stands is getting excavated by the Archaeologists! It is done to unravel the secrets about their erection and function. In my older blog post dated July 16, 2007 displayed down here, I have invited Archaeologists to study the Stone Henge site. Now I am glad that they are doing it now. I eagerly wait to get the wonders excavated out of the Stone Henge site.

The Bright Saturn Identification

As the moon goes on revolving around the Earth, at one of its positions the Earth lies in between the Sun and the Moon. At night, in this position we see from earth our moon fully – a round Full moon. Similarly, the planet Saturn revolving around the Sun was seen as a round and bright - ‘Full Saturn’ on 24th February 2008 (Earth was in between the Sun and the Saturn). It is said that this full and the brightest Saturn can be seen next only in 2015. But we can still now identify the planet easily but with lesser brightness. It is seen at night in the constellation of Virgo in the eastern skies or just above your head. It makes a triangle with two bright stars of the constellation each one of them positioning in the corners of that triangle – which can be imagined by connecting these corner points (objects) with imaginary lines. This triangle has its apex in the North and the base towards the South. Of the base-forming celestial objects, that one on the eastern corner is our Saturn! The planet will be visible so up to July this year in the night skies.

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