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Do you ever wonder about the impact we humans are inflicting upon the earth? Can our way of life go on forever?
The videos below give a few examples of how our daily life causes problems.

Now scroll down and explore as
Mini-worlds of mini-wonders await discovery in your own backyard.

Don't step on it.... Enjoy it!

As the loon and flute below are heard harmonizing in the music track, so mankind must Live in harmony with the natural system that gave us life. Our unsustainable lifestyles of profligate profiting progress must be curbed. When the global fossil fuel gauge reads empty; what then? As strands from the web of life become increasingly dysfunctional due to toxic wastes of mankind; what then? Perhaps our species can still survive itself. Let us learn to actively mutually benefit all life on earth; to see ourselves as citizens of a cosmos far beyond our own short term petty wants, needs and goals. Unavoidable challenges of our own making lie before us. Will we rise to the occasion?

 

Can you see how altering environmental conditions, events and animals
impact one with another, almost as if they were
interconnected by an interlacing web?
Does a single disturbance cause ripples and eddys to flow out from the initiating source,
impacting on distant shores and ecosystems in diverse divergent ways
beyond our understanding?
how are the two butterfly species, frog, and dead fish victoms of a manmade induced changing environment? Is mountaintop removal coal mining an initiating source for damaging ecosystems?
In contrast, how is the bog in this video an example of an unspoiled ecosystem?

 

There is much undiscovered beauty to be found within your own neighborhood. Miracles of creation and contrast are so often passed by in our heedless rush to get things done. Sadly, many remain oblivious to the wonders of the natural world surrounding them. Scroll down to see more.
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There are many kinds of butterflies. Some can be found together in places like gardens and beaches.

Shown above is a different way of collecting butterflies. The insects were photographed on beaches in Minnesota and Kentucky.  Single pictures were  put together into this set of photos called a collage. Species include: tortoise shell and Monarch butterflies along with Tiger (yellow & dark morph), Black and pipevine swallowtails

Many people confuse moths with butterflies. There are many similarities. All have scaley wings so entomologists classify them as Lepidoptera.

What are some differences between the cecropia moth to the right and the monarch butterfly below? Hint: look at the feelers or antennae. Also notice how  more "furry" the body of a moth is than a butterfly. Of course, insects do not have fur at all but have scales. Butterflies are diurnal (day active) and moths are nocturnal (night active).

This butterfly has just completed its metamophosis as a pupae and emerged from its chrysalis.

This moth spent the long winter as a pupae protected by a protective silk covering called a cocoon.

Here is a very different looking moth. Popularly known as the Luna. This species is actually in the same family of Saturniidae as the Cecropia moth seen above.

All  butterflies and moths go through a complete metamorphosis. They are classified in the order Lepidoptera, which means, "scaley winged" in Latin. The scales give these insects their beautiful colors. If the scales are rubbed off the wings all that remains is a dull, colorless membrane

This Luna moth has large feathery antennae so it is a male. The female's antennae are smaller.

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Some other insects, such as the beetle to the  left, go through a complete metamorphosis like a butterfly or moth  but their front wings have developed into hard covers to protect the functional wings and body underneath. Entomologists classify them in the order Coleoptera

Here is something a little different. This is not an insect at all but an arachnid. Instead of having six legs like an insect, spiders have eight legs.

Spiders must shed their skin to grow like insects do. Many will spin a cocoon-like hiding place because during this time they are soft and easy prey just like the butterfly is.

This green bottle blue tarantula  has just shed its old skin. Can you tell which is the old skin and where the real tarantula is?

All arachnids are carnivorous. They catch their prey, inject it with venomous digestive enzymes, and wait for the meal to become edible. The spider then pierces the skin and sucks in the body juices much as you would drink a milk shake in through a straw.

This is a rare giant Colombian red legged tarantula (Megaphobema robustum). It is a secretive species which stays out of site in its burrow.

My ten-year-old son is shown face to face with the largest species of tarantula spider known. This gal is in full threat posture and definitly should not be handled. She is liable to either strike or throw urticating hairs at any intruder. Theraphosi blondi goliath birdeaters can grow as large as a dinner plate with a leg span about a foot across. "Blondi" eagerly  eats live baby mice. ( Don't worry, The above photo is a composite made of two separate images.)

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Here is Blondi just after a shed into the next skin. She is now a much  darker color.
Blondi has grown  a couple inches in just a few days. Spiders can grow only during the short interval just after a molt when the new skin is still soft and can stretch.

Below is a video of Blondi about six weeks after her molt. She is eating ravenously.  At first, you may question if this is a video or a photgraph. Tarantulas lie perfectly still as they hide or wait in ambush for prey. Be still and patient; like this tarantula.

The Goliath Bird-eater tarantula has just captured a baby mouse. This unedited raw video shows Blondi injecting and pushing digestive enzymes into the body of her prey. Notice how the spider works its fangs into  the prey as it softens the body in preparation for consumption.

The juvenile 8" Theraphosa blondi ends the video with a stately walk-around as she looks for a safe spot to dine in peace. The stinging urticating hairs used for defense, located on the abdomen, are easily seen.

Blondi's normal diet includes insects such as roaches, grasshoppers, caterpillars etc. Of course, she is quite capable of eating small snakes, lizards, frogs, birds (rarely) and baby mice.

 Watch the video below to see Blondi in action.

Note: I took this video with the spider on my bed. I just got a new camera with HD video capabilities and had to try it out. Blondi remained calm during the whole affair. It seems Theraphosa blondis are not quite the aggresive monsters their reputation would suggest.

Here is an example of how animals can hide.

Can you find the praying mantis on the left in the picture to the right?

This is called camouflage. Many animals have evolved to look like their natural surroundings. This way, there is a better chance they won't be eaten up.

This photo of a polyphemus moth caterpillar, seen just after shedding into its 4rth instar taken July 4rth under natural diffused lighting conditions as found under a maple leaf, nicely illustrates the camouflage effect of the skin coloration.

This site includes indepth quality photos and observations of monarch butterfly, polyphemus and cecropia moth life cycles. Pages continue to evolve and grow as new current events are updated. click on liinks below and check it out.

The Egg: Germ of a new life.

Caterpillar: A time of growth

Chrysalis: A time of change.

Metamorphosis as metaphor? Click on the picture below to see how we, as humans, are going through a global spiritual metamorphosis.

HomeMonarch EggCaterpillarChrysalisButterflyCecropia MothCecropia LarvaeCocoonCecropia AdultA Story of SamPolyphemus MothVideosSmall Wonders