Tuesday, June 21, 2011

duct tape, spider, Pepe, bombardier beetle blast & tragi-comic warnings

In order:

1. desperately want to duct tape my forearms to take the 1000 tiny barbs out of my arms.

It's okay if I lose hair.

Just did some spontaneous weeding, and while pulling (yes, KILLING) the oh-so-heinous stick tights, I was attacked. (stick tights, a.k.a. Torilis arvensis--don't let the mild photographs on that site fool you, this creature is a GIANT PAIN. Better shots re: heinos-ity, here (scroll down to red "Additional Hitchhiking Plants.")).

So, now their TINY TINY TINY little barbed spines are all over my arms and pretty much invisible.

Their presence, however, is clearly indicated by the stinging itching and red of my forearms. I will spare you the photographic proof.


(p.s. 30 min. later and a few cold water soapy washes and some packing tape press 'n' peel action, feeling ALL better. p.p.s. days later, now, all better, but am a more careful picker of same so, yet again, a PLANT has influenced MY oh-so-superior human behavior. =) )

2. huge spider from last night, lumbering across the wall. Is it possible it's a pregnant female? Her abdomen is HUGE.

Any one of you entomological folks out there know who that is?
While giant, she is kinda glossy...

And this one was without the flash,
so due to darkness & bb's shakiness, turned into abstract art.

3. Pepe or Pepette walked through again last night.

Here's evidence from 6/5 of someone new in the neighborhood.

Clearly, a nose poking through the grass,
digging up dirt 4 snax.

I learned through my thesis research that skunks eat more mice
than any other (local) creature does. Who knew?
(p.s. SO don't have a citation for that, sorry...)

And here's evidence of my photographic prowess. AWEsome. =)

=) Okay. So, if you look at the furthest left fence post, and go down and slightly to the left, kinda in the first blonde vs. light green grass, you MAY see an arc of dark around light.

That's my striped skunk's tail. Hind end.

CALL me a weenie.

However,  I neither wanted to disturb nor inspire-to-spray it.Got a good look moments earlier mildly walking past my porch, in a skunk's characteristic, unhurried way.

Kinda makes you wonder why this super stinky defense is not more common. It's SO effective!

4. I realize, however, that the bombardier beetle has taken chemical defense to another level, as our beloved David A. relates during this amazing footage. Gotta love The Big DA.

The b-beetle's defense is boiling caustic liquid.
Boiling caustic liquid.

Sometimes I just like to look up words to be sure I understand the full measure of their meaning.

Even if, as in this case, I have a strong, general idea. After all, I did minor in organic chemistry.*

Boiling, we get.

Boiling HURTS us and other things used to a similar temperature range. Burns & scars skin.

caustic (Wiki):
Causticity, the property of a substance that causes corrosion.

Okay, so then what does corrosion mean, for reals?

Corrosive (Wiki):
A corrosive substance is one that will destroy or irreversibly damage another surface or substance with which it comes into contact. [emphasis added]

Okay, THAT lays it out nice and clear.

liquid I am confident we are quite clear on.

The bonus re: bombardier beetle is it's AIMED at you and spraying in rapid pulses.


5. Here's the heartwarming sign which one uses to indicate contents are corrosive:

LOVE signs like this.

This reminds me of the don't feed the squirrels sign I've seen in parks which cracks me up. It shows a person's hand, presenting peanuts-in-the-shell to the squirrel, and the squirrel has grabbed one of the person's fingers which is very similarly shaped...

LOVE it. I can even tell you where in Yosemite one is, or at least used to be. And how it's been embellished...

Anyhow, that's enough for today!!!

FYI: Photo quiz was answered correctly by 2 ladies 
(WOO WOO!!! Honk Honk!! Nice work!!!)
check out the comments below that post.


PS Did fieldwork 2 days last week, then traveled to wedding reception, so this was delayed...

*Really, I feel that all I remember is that H2SO4 (NOT an organic chemical) is VERY REACTIVE SO BE CAREFUL was the message in chem lab. Remember, sulfuric acid is created when you get gassed by cutting onions: posted on this INSANE plant defense and the goddess Julia Child earlier.

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