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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

From Prolog(ue)s to Pro-Legs: Mugo Pine and The Redheaded Pine Sawfly


       I am fascinated by these redheaded pine sawflies (Neodiprion lecontei) on my geology professors' Mugo Pine (Pinus Mugo):





     The sawfly was not a major pest problem in Mugo and other pines in the U.S. until the planting of large pine plantations in the 1930's. 




     The sawflies resemble caterpillars but are actually members of the wasp/bee family, not the butterfly/moth family. Caterpillars have up to 5 pairs of abdominal prolegs. Sawfly larvae have six or more pairs of abdominal prolegs:  




      
       Another notable difference, though it requires a much closer look (oh, yeah!), is that caterpillars have tiny hooks called crochets, on the ends of their prolegs. Sawflies don't. Here are the crochets on caterpillars (C on C as a way to remember the "cats" [entomologists' affectionate pet name for caterpillars] differentiation from sawflies): 



       And the Scanning Electron Microscope version of the crochets:


      
      The common name of sawfly comes from the saw-like appearance of the ovipositor, or egg depositor, which the females use to cut into the plants where they lay their eggs.





      The insecticides that are used on the caterpillar family do not work on sawflies. [And, of course, many caterpillars transform into much-needed and wanted butterflies.]There are some wasp/sawfly insecticides that are somewhat effective, including organic diatomaceous earth (remember the diatoms from our Scanning Electron Microscope {SEM } discussion earlier?):






      However, one of the best ways to get rid of the sawfly larvae is to simply pull them off the Mugo pine trees. Any volunteers to get in there, count legs, and pull off the large clumps of sawflies? If so, they are in Northampton, Massachusetts, waiting for you. {Eric Carle used to be there, too, for over 30 years, though he recently moved southward to North Carolina and Florida.}




      Wonder if Eric Carle ever counted pro-legs on caterpillars. . .

      Any good caterpillar or sawfly tales? Might we count on you?

Steph

    Here is an image from the August 4, 2015, Las Animas River after a 3,000,000+* gallon spill from the Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado (see link to article in 8/7/15 comment):



     Indeed, next week's Partial Ellipsis will look at the Animas River Spill in Colorado. Please look there for a discussion of the Gold King Mine. I am cleaning up some of the graphs, have some new local photos to share, etc.

      *Updated from the original EPA estimate of 1,000,000 gallons.











50 comments:

  1. And, insect poop is called "frass." Must be a joke in there about sassafrass or something. . .

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  2. Sawfly, don't bother me!
    Sawflies are not as ethereal as butterflies!

    At the ends of their prolegs, caterpillars have crochets. At the beginning of our prolegs, human beings have crotches!

    That picture of the Mugo Pine (Valley Cushion) does not look like something one would want to nestle up next to... or should I say "nettle" up next to. Looks like a pine cushion to me.

    LegoMisterMugoDidn'tHaveWorms...HeHadSawflies

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    Replies
    1. Lego, thanks for adding the link to the adult sawflies. Not nearly as fascinating as the larval stage but good to see, nonetheless.

      I stumbled on a "cat" metamorphosis in a search. It had bugs, obviously.

      Off to play with my petrified "pet" wood next.

      Enjoyed Mr. Magoo, though in Massachusetts near those pines, he is known as Mr. MAgoo.

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  3. So, you're saying if you see sawflies on your pine, you'll never see it become a seesaw or a sawhorse? If you see horseflies on a seahorse, that's a real problem. I know time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana, but I only saw an elephant fly once, in Brooklyn, down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.

    Botflies don't infest bots ("These aren't the droids you're looking for"); they infest humans. But don't search YouTube for videos before breakfast. Or right after. And certainly not during.

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    Replies
    1. (I didn't watch House, MD regularly, but I wonder if he ever saw a housefly larval infestation case?)

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    2. So many on the fly jokes, so few minutes, jan. (Saving so little thyme for my garden which got much too wet early this year; been a weird growing year).

      Ever seen a shoefly or a shoe fly?

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    3. I've got a fly on my pants, but not on my shoes. My shoe does have a tongue, probably from my putting my foot in my mouth so often.

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    4. Me, too.

      Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

      And

      Will Will Smith Smith?

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    5. Oh, lest we forget:

      When I tell you pick up the left rock, it will be the right one, and then only the right rock will be left.

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    6. Will Will Smith smith? Autocorrect again. Yes, some people still smith!

      There must be other folks with full names that can be both nouns and verbs. . .

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    7. Yes, and they usually end up on the list of Car Talk staff credits.

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    8. Wow, I didn't realize Tom and Ray had that much help!

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    9. Steph & jan
      I am stupefied by the above stupundous wordplay most of which, amazingly, is new to me!

      jan,
      Interestingly, regarding your initial comment, “bots” was a part of an answer to one of my Puzzleria! puzzles this week. And, in a comment I posted this morning, I compared tomorrow evening’s debaters as a “flock” of flying elephants flying south in a V-formation!

      LegoI’llLetYou,TheGentleReader,MakeUpHer/HisOwnDumboJoke

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    10. Is there protocol for deciding whether a shortened word or nickname uses the first or last part of the word, i. e. "cat" for caterpillar vs. "not" for robot? I am guessing not. . .

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    11. I have a guess. If rob were short for robot, people would pronounce it with a short o. Cat works for caterpillar because both the a's in each word is short, and both are critters.

      LegoRobbieTheRobotVs.BottyTheRobot

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    12. Not so good bots: botulism, botflies

      Better bots: robots

      Can go either way as to shortening: Lego or Lambda, LegoLamb, too. Lucky, lucky, lucky. . .

      Delete
    13. Oh, and Will Will Shortz Shortzhange us?

      "Lego!"LegoLamdaLammedAway&EscapedFromTheMaximumSecurityPrisonGuards

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    14. OK, LegoLamm. Sort of "Coke!"

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Sounds like Sylvia could have used you as a science tutor, Steph.

      LegoHeckSheKnewWhatABellJarWas

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    2. Lego, it would have been an honor!

      Funny, I feel the college stress just reading her list. The pressure to get all A's, be moderate, yet intense and interested, and show a cheerful front no matter what! No wonder there wasn't really much room for Sylvia to just be herself with all those expectations. . .

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  5. Replies
    1. Nice, jan. It looks like an eyeball tracking a 30-degree-from-vertical rocket launch.

      LegoOrFootballFansWatchingA67-YardFieldGoalAttempt

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    2. Great image, jan! And great footage, Lego. . .

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  6. On May 21 of last year, I mentioned that when I was in grad school, I did some number crunching for a fellow grad student studying whales in Patagonia. It was nice to hear him again on Morning Edition on my drive to work today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Southern white rales, eh? Oh, wait, other blog.

      Seriously, that was a fascinating story. I could listen to those whales for hours. Glad you were able to number crunch for such wonderful animals and the researchers. I am thinking it was Christopher Clark you know? Perhaps the Paynes as well?

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    2. Yes, Chris was at Stony Brook with me.

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  7. One million gallon spill into the Animas River. I have run the Animas River with my kids and friends on rafts--a beautiful body of water. Hope the spill is not as devastating as it looks. That orange-yellow sludge looks nasty.

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    1. Steph,

      Yes, the Animas appears to have been altered by animus (in the sense of malevolent ill will.)

      I like my Animas whitewatery, not sludgy-orange. And I like my animals white, too, like that adorably darling dogstar pooch pictured above the polution below.

      LegoDogStarDogGuessDoggessOfBark

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    2. The link above is broken. Here's one that works (at the moment).

      Ironic (no pun intended) that the EPA was the proximate cause of this spill. Ironic, too, that it was the Gold King mine that colored the river gold.

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    3. I thought of animus also, Lego. It looks so very unappealing.

      Thanks for the link, jan. Has this news been big elsewhere? Locally, in the Denver metro area, the movie theatre stuff has dominated the news and this spill has taken a backseat.

      It is ironic about the EPA being the proximate cause. I imagine certain politicians will play up that aspect.

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    4. And lead and arsenic and. . .

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  8. jan, wondered if you saw this or worked with Brian Kernighan? I know you've written similar things about Bell Labs.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks; I hadn't seen that. I didn't work with Brian, but I knew him. Very nice guy. Despite the attempts at modesty in the video, he was certainly one of the brighter stars at Bell Labs, extremely productive.

      Interesting how the major centers of academic research mentioned -- MIT, Princeton, e.g. --- are the same now as they were nearly 50 years ago, while the industrial centers have shifted from AT&T, GE, etc., to Microsoft Research, Google, et al.

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    2. Yes, his bio is pretty impressive with all the UNIX, AWK, Hello World! stuff. The only thing that bugged me about the video was the lack of books on the bookshelf!

      Of course he'd pick C as the programming language of choice on a deserted island in the middle of the C.

      It is interesting to see the shift of the industrial centers to northern CA and Washington state. . .and to Colorado. . .

      Have you seen BitsBox? It's a way to teach kids about programming. They get immediate feedback. We are going to try it with the new kindergartners this fall.

      Check it out at BitsBox.

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    3. Looks good to me. I assume you've seen Google's Made with Code site, which seems geared for older kids.

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    4. I will check it out. Thanks.

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    5. There's a bit too much emphasis on clothes, make-up, and accessories and separate "girl coding" for my taste. I'd rather have kids use a product that is for both boys and girls. But maybe that's just me. Maybe tweens would love it.

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  9. Latest on Las Animas

    and

    Why the EPA was messing around at the mine in the first place.


    One reader's comment on this article includes a letter to the editor printed in a Silverton newspaper--from before the spill--predicting that exactly this type of problem was likely to occur as a result of the way the EPA was trying to deal with the mine drainage issues!

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, Gold King Mine and Las Animas is next week's topic. I have made the graphs and letter more legible (I hope) and added some new local photographs. Check back later today for the newest PEOTS post.

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    2. Two comments, from The Onion:

      “Let this be a lesson to California that having water isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

      “When the EPA gets wind of what the EPA did, there will be hell to pay.”

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    3. Hey, I'm trying to write a serious article here. . .

      If anyone thinks "Cement Creek" is a good place to hang out, well, we've got a few onion layers there, too. . .

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    4. Doesn't Cement Creek flow into the Cement Pond, in the hills of Beverly? I reckon I saw Jethro and Ellie May there just a little while ago...

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    5. Hahahaha, but lead levels 12,000 times the EPA maximum acceptable level is nothing to laugh at.

      The cadmium level is especially concerning.

      More to come in next post.

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  10. Replies
    1. Combining programming, PEOTS, and Genesis--terrific, jan.

      I hope next week's post on the Gold King Mine spill into Las Animas River in Colorado will pull together the whole picture of the Las Animas River basin from the ferricrete deposits to the proposed Superfund site issues, to mining detritus and chemical reactions.

      I still believe the EPA was quite remiss is not using the USGS stream flow data to measure the amount of the flow. . .and that the 25 hour delay in letting the community know only made things worse.

      It is possible the spill may have happened anyway without the EPA intervention. A more careful engineering study might have created a way to keep the spill contained upstream. More to come. . .

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    2. New post on "Gold King Mine, Colorado: Unplugged" is up.

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