Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Entomological Jutsus in Museum of the Science

For the day of the pride friki of two years ago, it happened to me to compile entomological references in Naruto and the result was entomological Jutsus, an entry that an outstanding figure of the blog considered.

Today I have published the entry in Museum of the Science although with numerous corrections and progress to make her more adapted for a science blog. For it, I have promoted the informative facet adding an introduction to the Japanese cultural entomology then to speak about the sleeve and his animated version and to end with a compilation of references and skills ninjas entomological and his real compensation (whenever it has been possible) in insects and chandeliers.

What do have in common the insects parasite of the Aburame with the ants Pseudomyrmex ferruginea or Pseudomyrmex spinicola?. This one and similar curious and surprising others between skills ninjas in Naruto and real skills of insects and chandeliers appear in the corrected and increased version of entomological Jutsus for Museum of the Science. Image of Pseudomyrmex spinicola of Alex Wild.

The result is an informative narutoentomofrikada that pop mixes cultural entomology, culture Japanese and entomology. Perhaps I have had left a little long, but the fact is that I take weakness as the kilometric earnings.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crab horseshoe

This crab done with horseshoes does literal honor to his name. Although horseshoe is not necessary to confuse it with the real crabs, quelicerados belonging to the order Xifosuros.

Crab horseshoe. A pair of horseshoes, eight nails, a pair of nuts and two supports give like result this nice decapod of metal made by Expert Metalworks who shares name with the xifosuros.

The changeable relations of the arthropods

ResearchBlogging.org A new study comparing the sequences of ADN of 62 genes of 75 species of arthropods (41.000 ADN bases for every species) has revealed several surprises in his familiar tree.

In a work that has extended throughout ten years and with which skills have been refined to extract ADN of the nuclei of the cells, the group of Jerry Regier in the University of Maryland has managed to reconstruct the relations between the arthropods with a grade of detail not known up to the date. Till now, the molecular arthropods filogenia was basing on the comparison of sequences of a few genes nuclerares, mitocondriales and of ARN ribosómico (like, for example, the filogenias of Davide Pisani y Björn M. von Reumont and collaborators of those that I have spoken in Origin and evolution of the artópodos and The origin of the insects or when the crustaceans conquered the ground, but Regier and collaborators have analyzed 41.000 bases of 62 genes in 75 arthropods species, what supposes an enormous work of accused and data analysis.

A new familiar tree. The filogenia of Regier and collaborators confirms that the hexápodos are the terrestrial branch of the crustaceans, places again to the centipedes next to the crustaceans and the hexápodos (Mandibulados) and refines the classification of the crustaceans in three groups: Oligostráceos, Vericrustáceos and Xenocáridos.

To big features, the results can be summed up in the following points:


There is confirmed the crustacean origin of the hexápodos (insects, colémbolos, proturos and dipluros), something at that other molecular filogenias had aimed. Let's remember that that of Pisani was suggesting that the branquiópodos (water fleas, artemias and triops) and the hexápodos were sharing a common ancestor and that of von Reumont was pointing at the common origin of the copépodos and the hexápodos. In case of the filogenia of Regier and collaborators, the hexápodos would share a common origin with the xenocáridos or strange scampi (remípedos and cefalocáridos), group of open crustaceans approximately thirty years ago about which little is known from the genetic point of view and about the development, forming the group Miracrustáceos (surprising crustaceans).

Relations between the crustaceans

Apart from confirming that the crustaceans are not a group monofilético (they do not descend from a common ancestor), they can split into three big groups that comprise a big variety of morphologic features: Oligostracáceos (ostrácodos, mistacocáridos, branquiuros and pentastómidos), Vericrustáceos or real crustaceans (malacostráceos, tecostráceos, copépodos and branquiópodos) and his group I join, Miracrustáceos (xenocáridos and hexápodos).


The filogenia of Regier and collaborators recovers the subknife-edge Mandibulados (Pancrustáceos and Centipedes), more according to the morphology (crustaceans, hexápodos and centipedes have jaws). The molecular filogenia mitocondrial had suggested, for morfólogos surprise, that the centipedes were closer to the quelicerados (forming the group Paradoxópodos or Mirioquelados).

Paradoxópodos (Mirioquelados) and Mandibulados. Models of the relations between the groups of current arthropods.


According to the Regier filogenia, the centipedes and the pancrustáceos would have a common origin and the relations between the centipedes would not differ much of the filogenias based in morphologic features.

Family portrait. Relation between the centipedes based on morphologic evidences. Adapted of Gregory D. Edgecombe and Gonzalo Giribet, Myriapod Phylogeny and the Relationships of Chilopoda, J. weep to you for Bousquets and J.J. (Eds) Morrone, Biodiversity, Taxonomy and Biogeography of Arthropods of Mexico: Towards a Synthesis of his Knowledge, volume III. Presses of Sciences, Autonomous National University of Mexico (2002), pp. 143-168.


The quelicerados are a group that it includes to the picnogónidos (chandeliers of sea) and to the euquelicerados (crabs horseshoe and arachnids). The filogenia of Regier and collaborators leaves this group a little in failure, although he confirms that crabs horseshoe and arachnids descend from a common forefather.

Nuclear Arthropod relationships revealed by phylogenomic analysis of protein-coding sequences Jerome C. Regier, Jeffrey W. Shultz, Andreas Zwick, April Hussey, Bernard Ball, Regina Wetzer, Joel W. Martin and Clifford W. Cunningham. 2010. Nature 463, pp. 1079-1083. Regier, J., Shultz, J., Zwick, A., Hussey, A., Ball, B., Wetzer, R., Martin, J., and Cunningham, C. (2010). Nuclear Arthropod relationships revealed by phylogenomic analysis of protein-coding sequences Nature, 463 (7284), 1079-1083 DOI: 10.1038/nature08742 Torrent Brothers & Sisters S04E17 Freeluc.com online

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ode to the giant wood-louse

In the winter 2007, the musician and composer indie Pay Wanderer Lu he proposed to a series of musicians to compose and they were recording a song dedicated to Bathynomus giganteus, the giant wood-louse. Finally, 17 groups and soloists wrote 17 songs and this is the result.

Even a group went so far as to record a video paper clip:

Team Isopod!

Unfortunately, and according to account Pagan, the thing did not come to fruition, but there stayed the songs that can be listened in their own blog.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Alternative styles with Google Chrome

The visitors who use Google Chrome to see Entomoblog (approximately 13 %) have now the secret functionality available thanks to the extension Style Chooser. Although it is not comparable — at the moment — to StyleSheet Chooser Bonus of Firefox, at least it serves to see the blog in one of his four original styles or in one of six alternative styles.

Ageha. The most Victorian Entomoblog style now can be seen by Chrome.

For paws

ResearchBlogging.org Many insects are capable of rising for walls and gait mouth below on diverse substrata thanks to the adhesive organs that they have in his tarsi (the feet of the insect). In spite of the insects diversity, this skill has been achieved by means of two designs.

There are insects, between which there are the flies, the beetles and the earwigs, which have in the tarsi shaggy ink pads covered by a dense layer of flexible hair of microscopic size. Others, as the ants, the bees, the cockroaches and the insects stick, possess smooth adhesive ink pads, with a relatively soft surface and a soft and specializing cuticle. In both cases, the adherence one achieves thanks to a fluid that they segregate in the surface of contact (for this way saying it, they have the humid feet).

The insect stick Carausius morosus (left) and the beetle Gastrophysa viridula (right). Insects with two different designs to walk on diverse substrata.

The shaggy ink pads have evolved often of independent form in arthropods and other invertebrates, what he suggests that it is an ideal design to stick to surfaces. The insects are continuously exposed to particles of dirt, dust, microorganisms, spores and pollen that they can reduce adhesion to his paws and nevertheless, retain his skill during all his life. They must have, then, some mechanism to eliminate the dirt of his adhesive structures. The smartening up might be a good method because many insects practise the autocleanliness parts of his body being licked. Nevertheless, an insect that was using this system one would have to clean the paws to every few steps and this behavior has never been observed. Another autocleanliness method consists of eliminating the particles for contact with the surface while they walk.

Knowing that the insects stick have smooth feet and the beetles shaggy feet, a team of investigators of the group of biomechanics of insects in the Department of Zoology of the University of Cambridge led by Christofer Clemente, he decided to investigate if these two structures were possessing some autocleanliness mechanism, if it was common to both, if some shears movement was necessary to eliminate the dirt and the influence of the size of the particles.

To simulate the dirt, there used spheres of polystyrene 1, 10 and 45 microns in diameter and measured the forces of friction and adherence of the paws of the insect stick (Carausius morosus) and of the beetle (Gastrophysa viridula) on a surface of crystal covered with spheres of polystyrene.

Shaggy feet and smooth feet. Detail of the shaggy ink pads of the beetle Gastrophysa viridula [To] and the smooth ink pads of the insect stick Carausius morosus [B] revealed across an electronic microscope of sweep.

The dirt provoked a decrease of the adherence of the paws of up to 90 % that was recovering in successive contacts with the surface. This is possible thanks to the fact that the ink pads have a mechanism of autocleanliness that does that the polystyrene balls (or dirt particles) remain beaten to the contact surface together with the adhesive fluid that they segregate. In case of the insects stick, the recovery of the adherence was not depending on the size of the spheres. Nevertheless, in the beetles, the 10 microns particles supposed a problem at the time of recovering the adherence. The reason is that the diameter of these spheres is more or less the same one that the space between the hair of the tarsi and they were remaining caught between the hollows. The 45 microns particles were too big to fit between the hair and they were eliminated by major speed. The one micron particles also were more difficult to eliminate on having got between the hollows of the hair (something similar to what happens when we cross a sandy area or of gravel with a few boots. Some sand particles and piedrecitas they remain fitted into the hollows of the drawing that forms the sole). Nevertheless, the rhythm of elimination of particles for autocleanliness was the double of rapid (excepting the case of the 10 microns sphere, which was similar) in the beetles that in the insects stick. While the first ones had eliminated big part of the particles of dirt to few steps, the second ones were late more and the autocleanliness was finished only when there was a shears movement.

Step to step. One micron spheres deposited in successive steps along Gastrophysa viridula [To] and Carausius morosus [B]. The arrow indicates the direction of the movement. Since it can be verified, the ink pads clean earlier in the beetles that in the insects stick.

Of this it is deduced that the shaggy feet behave better than the smooth ones since they recover more quickly his adhesive properties and do not need to realize any shears movement. Hence this system is so extended in other arthropods and invertebrates.

Studying in depth the autocleanliness mechanism, there might be designed adhesives that were supporting his properties for the continued use.

And of tip...

Merciful Christofer speaks about the sticky feet of the insects, specifically about the ant weaver Oecophylla smaragdina (it is capable of supporting mouth below and and a weight 100 times superior to his does not fall down thanks to the adherence of his paws, which have ink pads with a mechanism to diminish the contact surface with the soil and this way to be able to become alienated) and of the cockroach ash-gray Nauphoeta (it has two types of ink pads, one to rise and other one, in the opposite direction, to go down).

Sticky feet

Evidence for self-cleaning in flow - based smooth and hairy adhesive systems of insects Christofer J. Merciful, James M. R. Bullock, Andrew Beale and Walter Federle. 2010. J. Exp. Biol. 213, pp. 635-642. Merciful, C., Bullock, J., Beale, A., and Federle, W. (2010). Evidence for self-cleaning in flow - based smooth and hairy adhesive systems of insects Experimental Journal of Biology, 213 (4), 635-642 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.038232

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shu not kigen (The origin of the species)

If the faith means ignorance and denial of the thought: that goes away to the hell!

If the target of the science popularization is to present the science of a lively way and with an accessible language, the cómic is the perfect instrument for it. Dokuha sleeve: Shu not kigen (East Press, 2009) turns the life and work of Charles Darwin into sleeve and explains in simple and easily understandable terms the concept of evolution and the revolution that provoked the publication of The origin of the species.

The sleeve is, together with the animation and the video games, one of three fundamental props of the Japanese leisure industry and a cultural product that has been exported to the whole world. At present, it is diversified enormously and the genres can qualify according to the topic and the age of the readership whom it is directed. The subject-matter is practically unlimited: there are sleeves sports, of science fiction, of mystery, historical, of terror, writers of folk literature, of absurd humor, comical, romantic, gastronomic, erotic, etc. They are also infantile, juvenile, for adults (and sleeve for adults is not necessary synonymous of sleeve erotically or pornographic but it tackles subject-matters of major complexity than a sleeve destined to a younger reader), for masculine public, for feminine public and from housewives up to office personnel, happening for gourmets.

And like not, also there exists a genre of sleeve — the sleeve educational — that, without stopping being an entertainment product, explains complex topics of form simple and easy to understand. Shu not kigen belongs to dokuha Sleeve, a series of sleeves educational published by the Japanese publishing house East Press whose target is to facilitate the comprehension of some concepts (the evolution, in this case) and to do more accessible the outstanding figures of the universal literature.

Dramatis personae. Principal personages of Shu not kigen. On the right page: Charles R. Darwin (arrives) and Emma Darwin (below). On the left page: Robert W. Darwin (it arrives, right), John S. Henslow (it arrives, left), Thomas H. Huxley (below, right) and Joseph D. Hooker (below, left).

Shu not kigen is, basically, a biosleeve, a sleeve biographical of Charles Darwin. In the technical aspect, it is necessary to admit that the drawing is not precisely to throw rockets (something that, beforehand, does not also matter too much bearing in mind the public the one that is directed), although it fulfills his target to illustrate the life of the English naturalist. Of course, the absence of papers in some aspects is more than notable. Leaving aside the marvelous bangs that the Darwin of the sleeve shows at the moment of the publication of The origin of the species (I assume that to give more dramatism to the history), they should have investigated a little more the fashion of the Victorian epoch (to see Joseph Dalton Hooker dressed in suit and tie in plan office worker or to priests who seem extracted of a roll game turns out to be shocking) or the planes of the Beagle to do a ship more similar to the real one. It usually criticize the absence of rigor that is had in Occident when the Far East enjoys itself, although also it is possible to say the same on the contrary.

Darwin in the Turtles. Darwin, the captain of the Beagle, Robert FitzRoy, and iguanas.

As sleeve educational, it fulfills perfectly his function to explain the evolution of a form so simple and so easy to understand that up to the most recalcitrant creacionista there would turn a fervent defender that the evolution is a fact and not a theory. The only outstanding mistake is that when one speaks about the ADN it is said that it was discovered in 1953 and is not like that. The ADN was already known from the ends of the XIXth century and what was discovered in 1953 was his structure in double helix.