Archive | December 27, 2012

The year in review – Part 2

Yesterday I posted a small selection of photos that marked important/interesting events that took place in the first half of 2012, and here is a selection from the last six months.

7_Phymata

July. Processing of the entomological material collected in Gorongosa takes up most of the month. Although I spend most of July looking through the microscope, to keep my camera from rusting I document the biodiversity of life in Estabrook Woods outside of Boston. Ambush bugs make a fascinating subject: they are not only pretty, they also try to talk to people.

***

8_Amblyrhynchus48_MaxiAugust. I have the good fortune to visit, albeit very briefly, the Galapagos Islands as a leader of a trip organized by the Harvard Natural History Museum. All the icons were there: flightless cormorants, Darwin’s finches, Blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises and, most importantly, the marine iguanas. I make a promise to myself to come back and do a proper study of the Galapagos Nesoecia katydids, which, I am convinced, will reveal a pattern of speciation similar to that seen in other groups at the archipelago. Back home very sad news: our sweet, innocent Max has an enormous tumor in his head. He undergoes a successful surgery, and a radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

***

9_Mantis_religiosaSeptember. Praying mantids are invading my garden! One night I step on the deck and a huge Chinese mantis hits me on the head.

***

10_Meloe7October. Maxi has recovered enough from his brain surgery so that we can take him again on long walks in the Estabrook Woods. I giggle like a little girl when on one of our walks I discover a bunch of beautiful oil beetles – I never expected to find them there.

***

11_Operophtera2November. Insect activity is winding down, and the arrival of winter moths marks the beginning of a largely lifeless season. But these interesting insects brighten the otherwise gloomy time of year – males come in the hundreds to the lights of our house around Thanksgiving, while the stubby, flightless females are laying eggs in the bark of our maples.

***

12_RhampholeonDecember. This year I received the best Christmas gift ever: Kristin commissioned from Canadian artist Sharlena Wood a painting based on my photo of a pair of Gorongosa pygmy chameleons. It is a gorgeous and, I am sure, the world’s only piece of art featuring this endemic and enigmatic Mozambican animal. Thanks K!