Macrosiagon sayi

Wedge-shaped beetles live a part of their life cycle as a parasite on other insects, most commonly bees or wasps.

The beetle lays its eggs on a flower. The eggs hatch almost immediately into small larvae that lie in wait for a visiting bee. The larva crawls onto the bee and rides it back to the hive, where it dismounts and seeks a cell occupied by a bee larva. It then enters the body of the bee larva and waits until the bee larva pupates. It eats the entire pupa, then pupates in its turn and completes its metamorphosis before emerging from the hive to mate and lay eggs. Clever? Creepy? You decide.

diametric opposite

I rarely sketch on toned paper, but thought I’d give it a go this time. It’s fun to use white charcoal.

In India, on January 26, they commemorate the day in 1950 that their constitution went into effect, turning the nation into a republic separate from the British raj.

January 26 is also the anniversary of the raising of the British flag in Sydney Cove in 1788, marking the start of New Holland’s colonisation. Officially known as Australia Day, it has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia, though it is often referred to as Invasion Day or Survival Day by Indigenous Australians and others.

So while one country is celebrating the removal of British shackles, the other is remembering the diametric opposite.

(January 26 is also my youngest’s birthday, and that’s a celebration I care about. Has it really been 35 years? Amazing.)

I, Claudius

I need to devote some daytime reading hours to this book if I’m to get it finished in time for our next meeting, which got moved forward by a week. Fifteen minutes in bed at night before falling asleep just isn’t getting me through it fast enough.

Larus spp.

At least eight different gull species hang out at Malibu Lagoon, and telling them apart isn’t always easy. For starters, they change their colouration every year for the first three or four years, and their summer outfits might differ from their winter ones. But setting aside the juvenile years, I’m going to try to learn how to identify the adults, even if they look very similar to a casual glance. These two, the Western and California gulls, look pretty much the same year round, so I’m starting with them. I’m honing in on the subtle differences between the two, which admittedly can only be seen close up. More pairs to come as I get around to it.

Canis latrans

#1 question asked at the Visitor Center (usually preceded by “WHOA!”): “Is it real?”

#2 and #3 questions: “How do you get to the M*A*S*H site / Rock Pool?”

Occasionally I don’t know the answer to a question, which sends me off to do research. Right now I’m learning about trapdoor spiders because of a visitor query. More on that to come …