Wayne's Trivia Notes #6
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Wayne's Trivia Note #198 (10 November 2014)

California's equivalent of Mexican jumping beans are jumping galls: Tiny insect galls on the undersides of oak leaves, each containing a wasp larva. When the galls fall to the ground they start jumping into the air like miniature ping pong balls. See following two videos: BBC Video   YouTube Video   Also see: Wayne's Word Jumping Gall Article

Wayne's Trivia Note #199 (12 November 2014)

You can clearly see from this cluster bar graph that the jumping beans never got off the ground, while some of the jumping galls reached almost 10 millimeters. Note: This contest was sponsored by the California Gall-Jumpers Association. The research and computer data analysis was funded by UNSF Grant No. 00001 from the Unnatural Science Foundation.


Wayne's Trivia Note #200 (12 November 2014)

The hitchhiking Uncarina fruit may have be dispersed by the extinct elephant bird (Aepyornis) of Madagascar. It is certainly difficult to remove from my wool socks!

Wayne's Trivia Note #201 (18 November 2014)

You don't realize how close Twin Oaks Valley, San Marcos is to the San Bernardino Mtns until you ascend about 1,000 feet on a clear winter day.

Wayne's Trivia Note #202 (19 November 2014)

Sitting on Owens Peak (San Marcos) yesterday at dusk, looking south toward Double Peak. Both peaks are composed of Jurassic age metavolcanic rock that is very resistant to erosion.

Wayne's Trivia Note #203 (23 November 2014)

A bizarre pseudoscorpion, one of my favorite minute animals. I found it under a rock on my recent trip to Arizona. It apparently belongs to the family Menthidae with relatives in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Australia and the Middle East!

Wayne's Trivia Note #204 (3 December 2014)

Interesting use for the battery in my glucose meter: I placed it on the mother board of my old, dead Gateway computer so that it will boot up!

Wayne's Trivia Note #205 (December 2014)

My new year's resolution: Eat more fresh vegetables. According to Mark Twain: "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."   [Veggies: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Parsnip & Rutabaga.]

Wayne's Trivia Note #206 (6 December 2014)

Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) and tuberous sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) in my backyard. This fungus is used in Chinese herbal medicine to boost the immune system and for its anti-tumor properties. More Bracket Fungi On Wayne's Word   See Wayne's Word Fungus Index

Wayne's Trivia Note #207 (8 December 2014)

Although I live in the heavily urbanized city of San Marcos, I have had many interesting bird, insect, spider, reptile and mammal visitors in my backyard, including Golden Eagle, Red-Tail Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Barn Owl, coyote and bobcat. My latest Christmas resident is a female pheasant!

Wayne's Trivia Note #208 (9 December 2014)

Another recent visitor to my neighborhood: A male rain beetle (Pleocoma). After the first soaking rain of fall, males go searching for females who wait patiently in their burrows. Since adult beetles do not feed, the male only has an energy reserve for a flight of a few hours before he literally runs out of "gas." More Information About Rain Beetles

Wayne's Trivia Note #209 (10 December 2014)

A message from a pheasant who is currently living in my backyard. Her name is Phyllis.

Wayne's Trivia Note #210 (14 December 2014)

I guess we won't be having a white Christmas in San Marcos this year, so our snowman will be made from tumbleweeds. By the way, this common plant is also called "Russian thistle" (Salsola tragus). Although it is mentioned in the 1935 Gene Autry film and the famous song "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" by Sons of the Pioneers, it is not native to the old west. It was actually introduced from Eurasia! It belongs to the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) along with beets, spinach, and quinoa.

Wayne's Trivia Note #211 (17 December 2014)

Phyllis the plump pheasant is looking for a mate this Christmas. It is cold and lonely in my backyard. I thought she could try advertising on Facebook.

Wayne's Trivia Note #212 (19 December 2014)

I once scoffed at the idea of a smart phone that could take decent macro images. Check out the M&M's plain candies taken with an iPhone 6. They are 13-14 mm in diameter. By the way, the two "Ms" represent the names of Forrest E. Mars Sr, son of candy-maker Frank C. Mars, and Bruce Murrie, son of Hershey Chocolate's president William F. R. Murrie. More iPhone 6 Images.

Wayne's Trivia Note #213 (22 December 2014)

This is my old Christmas card I sent out to friends and colleagues many years ago. The idea for my Wayne's Word hippo logo came from a dear student in my summer biology class during the late 1990s.

Wayne's Trivia Note #214 (24 December 2014)

This unusual lynx spider was in my back yard Christmas eve 2014. It sure looks like the face of a dog or cat on its abdomen, unless it was my strong gin & tonic! It really shows up when the color is reversed. The face has not been altered. Natural Color Of This Spider.

Wayne's Trivia Note #215 (26 December 2014)

Sitting on Owens Peak at 5:30 PM Christmas eve, this was my view just as the sun disappeared below the horizon. This was truly a spiritual experience for me.

Wayne's Trivia Note #216 (26 December 2014)

On Christmas Eve 2014, I shared my granola bar with a Pheidole vistana while sitting on Owens Peak. The following Christmas day I received a book about Pheidole ants of the New World written by my hero E.O. Wilson. The book includes 624 species just in the genus Pheidole, with an estimated 1500 species worldwide!

Wayne's Trivia Note #217 (29 December 2014)

The water dish for "Phyllis the Pheasant" was frozen yesterday morning (December 28) in Twin Oaks Valley, a rare event in San Marcos. The heavy andesite rock is resting on a thick layer of ice.

Wayne's Trivia Note #218 (2 January 2015)

Happy New Year From Wayne's Word. DNA From Outer Space

Wayne's Trivia Note #219 (2 January 2015)

The rare & endangered snow hippo endemic to Palomar Mountain. This hippo is only seen during the winter months with above-average snowfall.

Wayne's Trivia Note #220 (4 January 2015)

iPhone 6 vs. Sony HX20V: The Sony pocket camera won this contest. View of full moon over Emerald Heights Sunday night (4 Jan. 2015) from Owens Peak. This 1st full moon of 2015 is called the "Wolf Moon."

Wayne's Trivia Note #221 (8 January 2015)

Ice crystal halo over the Sierra Nevada near Lone Pine, CA (8 Jan 2014). Light refracted through hexagonal ice crystals produces the spectrum of color. Depending on the position of the sun and angle of refraction, this atmospheric phenomenon is called a "sundog" or parhelion.

Wayne's Trivia Note #222 (8 January 2015)

Sitting in a restaurant in Big Pine, CA (8 Jan 2015).

Wayne's Trivia Note #223 (9 January 2015)

To get a rough idea of how cold the eastern Sierra Nevada is in the Bridgeport area as of 9 Jan 2015, the Walker River is completely frozen over!

Wayne's Trivia Note #224 (10 January 2015)

View from a church in Minden, Nevada where Elaine & I attended a memorial.

Wayne's Trivia Note #225 (11 January 2015)

I am celebrating my birthday at my favorite restaurant in the metropolis of Lee Vining, CA.

Wayne's Trivia Note #226 (17 January 2015)

When I came home from my road trip to Minden, Nevada, Phyllis the pheasant was waiting for me at my back door. I have never had a wild fowl bond to me before.

Wayne's Trivia Note #227 (23 January 2015)

If you were landing at Palomar Airport just after sunset the other night (Jan 23), this would have been the color of the sky looking west toward the ocean.

Wayne's Trivia Note #228 (28 January 2015)

Jan 2015: Abundant desert wildflowers have sprouted in Coyote Creek at the end of Di Giorgio Road in Borrego Springs. Depending on temp. & rainfall, should be good wildflower display in about a month. The prolific, introduced Sahara mustard that obscured the wildflowers in previous years did not germinate this year, apparently because of the recent drought years. See:https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstrong/borrego1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #228 (28 January 2015)

While crawling on my knees in the soft sand north of the Salton Sea, I came across this minute ant. This is only one of the 1500 species in the genus Pheidole. Several people stopped to ask if I was okay, including BLM & State Park rangers! See the following link for more images & information: Salton Sea & Dos Palmas Road Trip Jan. 2015.

Wayne's Trivia Note #230 (7 February 2015)

The sandy ground around San Andreas Oasis north of the Salton Sea is covered with minute sea shells. Ancient Lake Cahuilla once filled the Salton Basin and extended from the present-day city of Indio south to El Centro and Mexicali.

Wayne's Trivia Note #231 (11 February 2015)

It's rattlesnake season again on Owens Peak. Dog owners beware! The fresh snake track may be from a red diamondback (Crotalus ruber). See 10 April 2014 Facebook entry: Wayne's Trivia Note #128.

Wayne's Trivia Note #232 (12 February 2015)

A mass of honey bees under a coastal sagebrush on Owens Peak. They were quite agitated at my presence, but when late afternoon clouds blocked the sun they settled down and allowed me to take this close-up image.

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