Literal Herp Derp Moment
I’ve just returned from a trip to Slovenia, where I visited Lake Bled (second picture): easily the most beautiful place I have ever visited.
Walking through the woods on the way back from Vintgar Gorge (third picture), my friend and I spotted this gorgeous little guy (top picture), ambling along quite casually, in no hurry to get away. Naturally I wanted to get a closer look and followed him for a while, observing that his bright yellow splodges probably meant he was aposematic - the bright colour indicates toxicity to predators - and this would most likely explain his easy-going stride and reluctance to hurry even when faced by two big gawking humans.
Still, the naturalist inside me was desperate to catch him to get a closer look… I resisted, mostly at the insistence of my friend, who did not like the sound of aposematism.
As soon as I was in a WiFi zone I ID’d him at a fire salamander:
“S. salamandra adults are able to exude toxic skin secretions … causes strong muscle convulsions and hypertension combined with hyperventilation in all vertebrates … some [compounds in the skin secretions] are potentially dangerous to human life.”
Yeah, pretty glad I didn’t catch him.
Unconditional offer to start an MRes Biodiversity & Conservation at University of Leeds this September.
Now just to figure out if I can fund it…
University Park, Nottingham
Miss this view from one of my favourite spots in Nottingham.
Off to Reading this weekend, for a course in breeding bird surveying with A Focus On Nature.
(p.s. anyone from the UK interested in a career in conservation should definitely check out AFON - it’s a network of conservationists aged 16-25, and they put on loads of courses, events and workshops, often for free, to help young people get into conservation. They’re pretty awesome.)
I found this wonderful little book in a secondhand book shop on Charring Road in London last week. It’s an old book on zoological techniques - preserving, observing and studying biological specimens - by a previous lecturer at Bristol University and Imperial College London. But what I love most about it is that the previous owner (there is no indication of who that might be) has written his/her own notes and tips throughout the book, even contributing to the index, for their own reference.
The bottom picture is from a section on preserving insect specimens for museum collections. As best as I can tell, the handwriting reads:
"Caterpillars… may be done with insect alive (bit sinister).
To show the the (?) of the alimentary canal, the circulatory system and the respiration system.
Choose a large caterpillar. Examine with hand lens to find mouth opening, then the sides of lava to locate the spiracles or openings for breathing tubes.
3 stains required and hypodermic syringe.
Alimentary canal use
Arid aniline green 0.58
1. Distilled water 100 ecm
Glycerin 35 ecm
Add glycerin to H20 and dissolve al. an. green in this to make a stock solution. For use take 5ecm to 25ecm distilled water.
Very interesting to read through, and I also feel a bit like how Harry Potter felt when he got the Half Blood Prince’s copy of Advanced Potions Making.
I’m currently analysing a 40-year data set and it gives me an irrational hate for leap years.
samsketchbook said: are you still active? I like your blog!
Hello, thanks a lot!! I have no idea how long ago you asked this but yes I am sort of re-becoming active now (great use of English there…), I’ve been absent for quite a long time but I’ve missed tumblr. Your sketches are awesome btw!
talkzoology said: I can't find your twitter, what is going on?!!? D:
Uhhhh weird! Um I’m Steph_Harris92 I think?
How are you anyway? How is your final year going? The end is near!!