Wayne's Trivia Notes #30
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Wayne's Trivia Note #654 (20 April 2020)

In September 2014 BBCEarth published a fascinating article by Ella Davies about the 5 most notorious ants on planet Earth. I just happened to photograph these 5 species between San Diego, Indio & Maui. In fact, I found a colony of one of the 5 living within the corrugations of a box at a Maui farmer's market. More images appear on my Ant Genera Page.   BBC Article Entitled Battle of the Ants

Wayne's Trivia Note #655 (24 April 2019)

San Marcos Gabbro, a dark, granite-like, bedrock behind my home that contains iron & weathers into reddish Las Posas Clay. Runoff water from recent heavy rains of April 2020 colored my concrete driveway! Some rare wildflowers in San Diego County are endemic to this soil, including the beautiful San Diego Thornmint in hills above my home.

Wayne's Trivia Note #656 (25 April 2020)

Big-Headed Ground Beetle (cf. Scarites subterraneus) caught in my Twin Oaks Valley ant trap. According to one report, this well-built, predatory beetle with huge jaws is equipped to take on a scorpion! It never showed any aggressiveness toward me, maybe because I gave it water before releasing it into my flower garden.

Wayne's Trivia Note #657 (4 May 2020)

May 2020 tides in San Diego County are glowing blue with bioluminescent dinoflagellates. How about sitting in my pitch dark closet with a faint bioluminescent mushroom!

Wayne's Trivia Note #658 (5 May 2020)

Last night's super moon. Image taken hand-held at dusk with blue sky. Minimal Photoshop enhancement! I can't say enough about the versatility of these high zoom pocket cameras. See next image of craters taken 2 nights ago (3 May 2020). HX Camera Images

Of course, I can beat these images with my 500mm Mamiya Medium Format Lens on my Nikon SLR with heavy duty tripod, but this little Sony fits in my pocket! Mamiya 500mm Telephoto

Wayne's Trivia Note #659 (8 May 2020)

Farewell to the "Flower Moon" of May 2020. Photo taken under my pepper tree early this morning with Sony HX60V. This is last full supermoon of 2020.

Wayne's Trivia Note #660 (9 May 2020)

A neighbor wanted help in identifying the pest droppings (excrement) on their bathroom floor. I concluded that they could pass through the "eye" of a sewing needle, and therefore were way too small for an oriental cockroach or a mouse. The droppings are a perfect match with drywood termites (family Kalotermitideae). See Termite Images

Wayne's Trivia Note #661 (10 May 2020)

To help survive the necessary & vital social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic (& retirement), I may start a carpenter ant colony at my home. This is my temporary formicarium with a local queen (above image) who is hopefully laying eggs. I might even purchase a real formicarium from www.antscanada.com/

Wayne's Trivia Note #662 (11 May 2020)

According to Dr. Justin Schmidt (The Sting Of The Wild, 2016), the giant Japanese hornet is the largest stinging insect on Earth, but not the most painful sting. If you don't believe the bullet ant sting causes agonizing, excruciating pain, please watch the following video!

  Man Testing Sateré-Mawé Tribal Initiation With Bullet Ants In Amazon  

Wayne's Trivia Note #663 (20 May 2020)

Last night's view of Venus in western sky taken from cul-de-sac above my home with iPhone 6. I forgot my trusty HX60V with Sony's magical hand-held twilight setting for scenes like this. Of course, an SLR with Nikon or Canon prime lens is unbeatable!

Wayne's Trivia Note #664 (21 May 2020)

My shady mulberry tree is loaded with fruit this May, 2020. Although I am not fond of the sweet fruits, they do make tasty pastries. Messy fruits of female trees stain walkways; however, allergy sufferers may react to the pollen of male trees. Silkworm moth larvae feed on the leaves. In 1926, the San Diego County Silk Corporation planted 200,000 mulberry trees near what is now Mulberry Drive in San Marcos!

Wayne's Trivia Note #665 (27 May 2020)

View of lovely town of Bishop from 10,000 ft ridge in White Mtns, one of my favorite places in CA to be socially isolated. Here I have Cambrian fossils, rock inhabiting fungi, vivid lichens, bristlecone pines & alpine ants!

Wayne's Trivia Note #666 (11 June 2020)

Keeping busy during social distancing: My latest ant caught in pitfall trap on bridle path at my home in Twin Oaks Valley. This is the 15th species within a radius of 20 feet! In all my ant travels this is my record for number of species within small area. My total number for Twin Oaks Valley is 21. See Ants Of Twin Oaks Valley

Wayne's Trivia Note #667 (13 June 2020)

One of my favorite desert beetles showed up in an ant trap in front of my house. This predaceous beetle stalks its prey like a miniature tiger. She mates on flowers and sometimes eats her mate, another example of sexual suicide if you are a male. See Sexual Suicide

Wayne's Trivia Note #668 (17 June 2020)

Wolf spiders are very protective mothers. They carry their eggs & babies (spiderlings) with them. The babies entangle their legs to get a better grip. The spider in right image was just outside my door. It came to visit me while I was social distancing.

Wayne's Trivia Note #669 (20 June 2020)

The most amazing & complicated natural history story of my career is the fig & its symbiotic wasp. I once succeeded in putting the Southern California Horticultural Society to sleep in LA until I added humor & sexual innuendos to my lecture! See Sex Life Of Figs

Wayne's Trivia Note #670 (25 June 2020)

After 40 years of teaching, botany terminology comes in handy when identifying a neighbor's tree in Twin Oaks Valley: Terms like epigynous, pome & sclereids (stone cells) all point to the genus Pyrus (pear). The Flora of China also helps immensely!

Wayne's Trivia Note #671 (27 June 2020)

I noticed a very fast little Forelius ant running across a patch of bare ground at nearby Walnut Grove Park. Suddenly, a reddish mite ran past the ant like it was standing still. This lilliputian speed demon turns out to be the fastest land animal on Earth based on body lengths per second. Another record for Twin Oaks Valley. The cheetah does 16/second (60 mph) while the mite does 322/sec. For a human this rate would be about 1300 mph, the speed of a jet plane! New World Land Speed Record!

Wayne's Trivia Note #672 (8 July 2020)

Cooper's Hawk summer school on the roof of my house in Twin Oaks Valley. Much to the delight of my Cooper's Hawk friends, I decided to reinstate my bird feeder because it attracts birds & rodents.

Wayne's Trivia Note #673 (18 July 2020)

My latest house guest. A bee hawk moth with fuzzy body & transparent wings that resembles a bee. This is first moth example of Batesian mimicry observed in my yard. Discovered by same naturalist ladies that showed me Neowise Comet! See Wayne's Updated Lepidoptera Page

Wayne's Trivia Note #674 (20 July 2020)

Imagine there was a task you had to perform as a child that would be critical for your survival as an adult. In order for the jumping bean moth (with no cutting mouthparts) to escape from its jumping bean container, it must pass through an exit door that it cut many months before in its larval stage. This has always intrigued me since I saw my 1st Mexican jumping bean when I was a child! See Wayne's Jumping Bean Page

Wayne's Trivia Note #675 (24 July 2020)

Most jumping beans are imported from mainland Mexico; however, this fascinating shrub also occurs in the mountains of the Cape Region, Baja California. In canyons of the Sierra de la Laguna, the ground beneath large shrubs is littered with hundreds of "jumping beans" that sound like the patter of rain drops on dry leaves. Wayne's Jumping Bean Page

Wayne's Trivia Note #676 (26 July 2020)

Neowise Comet photographed by my stepson-in-law pilot Captain Zach at 43,000 ft. over Central CA early morning hours. (Samsung Galaxy Note 10+) See Captain Zach's Ant Page