Giant flying insect found on Walmart building turns out to be Jurassic-era find – Boston News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) — An insect found on the side of a Fayetteville, Arkansas, big-box store has been identified as the species Polystoechotes punctata, which belongs to a family of insects that predates the dinosaurs.
Michael Skvarla, director of Pennsylvania State University’s Insect Identification Lab, spotted the Jurassic-era creature, otherwise known as a giant lacewing, on a shopping trip in 2012, when he was a doctoral student of entomology at the University of Arkansas.
“I remember it vividly, because I was walking into Walmart to get milk and I saw this huge insect on the side of the building,” Skvarla said in a statement. “I thought it looked interesting, so I put it in my hand and did the rest of my shopping with it between my fingers. I got home, mounted it, and promptly forgot about it for almost a decade.”
Skvarla initially had misidentified the lacewing as an antlion, a dragonfly-like insect that shares certain features, including long transparent wings, with the lacewing. But after presenting the insect to his online entomology course in the fall of 2020, he realized that what he had all those years was something much rarer and more impressive.
He performed further DNA analyses to confirm the identity of the insect, and the giant lacewing has now become part of the Frost Entomological Museum’s collection at Penn State.
The giant lacewing’s disappearance
The giant lacewing vanished in the 1950s from eastern North America, where it was formerly widespread, according to the paper Skvarla coauthored that was published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. Scientists thought the species had been completely wiped out in the region. The recent discovery of the lacewing in Arkansas is the first record of the species in the state.
“Entomology can function as a leading indicator for ecology,” Skvarla said in the statement. “The fact that this insect was spotted in a region that it hasn’t been seen in over half a century tells us something more broadly about the environment.”
While the mysterious disappearance of the insect is suspected to have been due to efforts to suppress natural forest fires in eastern North America, according to the paper, the bigger mystery is how the insect ended up at a superstore in an urban area of Arkansas.
“It could have been 100 years since (the species) was even in this area — and it’s been years since it’s been spotted anywhere near it. The next closest place that they’ve been found was 1,200 miles away, so very unlikely it would have traveled that far,” Skvarla said. He suggested the lacewing was attracted to the lights and flew at least a few hundred meters from where it had been living.
Skvarla’s find has opened the door for future lacewing discoveries, as insect enthusiasts begin to check their own collections and search for the species in the wild in places they hadn’t thought to look before, said Dr. Floyd Shockley, the collections manager for the department of entomology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
“Anytime that you find an insect species not in a place that you’re used to it being, that has a lot of implications for our understanding of that species — the kind of distribution it has, the kind of ecosystem that it might require to complete its lifecycle,” Shockley said. “It means something that we thought was gone, at least from the Eastern US, may still be there, and it’s just hiding in small pockets.”
Shockley also noted the importance of museum collections, such as the one with the Smithsonian or at Penn State, where the lacewing resides, as they “help to capture different snapshots of biodiversity across time and allows us to see what is happening and why it is happening.”
“Everybody always sort of focuses in on the big stuff — big birds and mammals and things like that. But this is an insect world. … We’re just living on it,” Shockley said. “It is really important to have that sort of appreciation. And one of the nice things about insects is that there is so much diversity for you to appreciate, just in your backyard.”
(Copyright (c) 2022 CNN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
Meet the Canadian astronauts up for a seat on the Artemis II mission to the moon
This Sunday, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will announce the four astronauts that will be blasting off to fly around the moon for the Artemis II mission, one of whom will be a Canadian astronaut.
The Artemis II mission will be the first crewed mission to orbit the moon in half a century, and the inclusion of a Canadian astronaut on the mission will make Canada the second country to have an astronaut fly around the moon.
In November 2024, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will launch the four astronauts into space for the Artemis II mission. They will pilot the Orion spacecraft around the Earth and then around the moon before returning home.
It’s the second step of a project that started last year with the unmanned Artemis I mission. The Artemis missions help to test the launch system and the spacecraft itself. The end goal is for scientists to construct a Lunar Gateway at the moon — a space station that could serve as a jumping off point for further deep space exploration.
A trailer for the crew announcement was posted by NASA on Wednesday.
There are currently four active Canadian astronauts, but we won’t know until Sunday who will be the first Canadian astronaut to fly around the moon.
Kutryk was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta and grew up on a cattle farm in eastern Alberta. He is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and has been deployed in Libya and Afghanistan in the past.
He worked as an experimental test pilot and fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alberta before he was recruited by the CSA. He worked on numerous test flight projects as well as on improving the safety of fighter jets such as the CF-18.
Kutryk made it to the top 16 candidates for the CSA in 2009, but wasn’t selected until CSA’s 2017 recruitment campaign.
He obtained the official title of astronaut in January 2020.
Sidey-Gibbons comes from Calgary, Alberta, and first worked with the CSA while studying mechanical engineering at McGill University, where she conducted research on flame propagation in microgravity in collaboration with the agency.
Before joining CSA, she lived and worked in the U.K. as an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Her research there focused on how to develop low-emission combusted for gas turbine engines.
She was selected by the CSA in 2017 as a recruit along with Kutryk, and obtained the official title of astronaut in January 2020.
Hansen was born in London, Ontario and spent his childhood first on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario, and then Ingersoll, Ontario. He is married with three children.
By age 17, he had already obtained glider and private pilot licences through the Air Cadet Program. He is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and served as a CF-18 fighter pilot before becoming an astronaut.
Hansen graduated as an astronaut in 2011, after being selected as one of two recruits for the CSA in 2009. He currently represents the CSA at NASA and works at the Mission Control Center, serving as the point of connection between the ground and the International Space Station (ISS). He also helps to train astronauts at NASA, the first Canadian to do so.
Saint-Jacques grew up in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, near Montreal, and is married with three children.
Before joining the CSA, he worked as a medical doctor in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, an Inuit community in northern Quebec. He also works as an adjunct professor of family medicine at McGill University. As a biomedical engineer, he has worked in France and Hungary, and helped to develop optics systems for telescopes and arrays used at observatories in Japan, Hawaii and the Canary Islands.
He was selected as a recruit in 2009 by the CSA and graduated in 2011 from the NASA astronaut program. He has since worked with the Robotics Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office, as a support astronaut for various ISS missions and as the mission control radio operator for a number of resupply missions for the ISS.
In December 2018, Saint-Jacques flew to the ISS to complete a 204-day mission, which is the longest mission any Canadian astronaut has carried out in space to date. During this time, he became the fourth CSA astronaut to conduct a spacewalk and the first CSA astronaut to catch a visiting spacecraft using the Canadarm2.
Stressed plants emit airborne sounds that can be detected from more than a meter away
What does a stressed plant sound like? A bit like bubble-wrap being popped. Researchers in Israel report in the journal Cell on March 30 that tomato and tobacco plants that are stressed—from dehydration or having their stems severed—emit sounds that are comparable in volume to normal human conversation. The frequency of these noises is too high for our ears to detect, but they can probably be heard by insects, other mammals, and possibly other plants.
“Even in a quiet field, there are actually sounds that we don’t hear, and those sounds carry information,” says senior author Lilach Hadany, an evolutionary biologist and theoretician at Tel Aviv University. “There are animals that can hear these sounds, so there is the possibility that a lot of acoustic interaction is occurring.”
Although ultrasonic vibrations have been recorded from plants before, this is the first evidence that they are airborne, a fact that makes them more relevant for other organisms in the environment. “Plants interact with insects and other animals all the time, and many of these organisms use sound for communication, so it would be very suboptimal for plants to not use sound at all,” says Hadany.
The researchers used microphones to record healthy and stressed tomato and tobacco plants, first in a soundproofed acoustic chamber and then in a noisier greenhouse environment. They stressed the plants via two methods: by not watering them for several days and by cutting their stems. After recording the plants, the researchers trained a machine-learning algorithm to differentiate between unstressed plants, thirsty plants, and cut plants.
The team found that stressed plants emit more sounds than unstressed plants. The plant sounds resemble pops or clicks, and a single stressed plant emits around 30–50 of these clicks per hour at seemingly random intervals, but unstressed plants emit far fewer sounds. “When tomatoes are not stressed at all, they are very quiet,” says Hadany.
Water-stressed plants began emitting noises before they were visibly dehydrated, and the frequency of sounds peaked after five days with no water before decreasing again as the plants dried up completely. The types of sound emitted differed with the cause of stress. The machine-learning algorithm was able to accurately differentiate between dehydration and stress from cutting and could also discern whether the sounds came from a tomato or tobacco plant.
Although the study focused on tomato and tobacco plants because of their ease to grow and standardize in the laboratory, the research team also recorded a variety of other plant species. “We found that many plants—corn, wheat, grape, and cactus plants, for example—emit sounds when they are stressed,” says Hadany.
The exact mechanism behind these noises is unclear, but the researchers suggest that it might be due to the formation and bursting of air bubbles in the plant’s vascular system, a process called cavitation.
Whether or not the plants are producing these sounds in order to communicate with other organisms is also unclear, but the fact that these sounds exist has big ecological and evolutionary implications. “It’s possible that other organisms could have evolved to hear and respond to these sounds,” says Hadany. “For example, a moth that intends to lay eggs on a plant or an animal that intends to eat a plant could use the sounds to help guide their decision.”
Other plants could also be listening in and benefiting from the sounds. We know from previous research that plants can respond to sounds and vibrations: Hadany and several other members of the team previously showed that plants increase the concentration of sugar in their nectar when they “hear” the sounds made by pollinators, and other studies have shown that plants change their gene expression in response to sounds. “If other plants have information about stress before it actually occurs, they could prepare,” says Hadany.
Sound recordings of plants could be used in agricultural irrigation systems to monitor crop hydration status and help distribute water more efficiently, the authors say.
“We know that there’s a lot of ultrasound out there—every time you use a microphone, you find that a lot of stuff produces sounds that we humans cannot hear—but the fact that plants are making these sounds opens a whole new avenue of opportunities for communication, eavesdropping, and exploitation of these sounds,” says co-senior author Yossi Yovel, a neuro-ecologist at Tel Aviv University.
“So now that we know that plants do emit sounds, the next question is—’who might be listening?'” says Hadany. “We are currently investigating the responses of other organisms, both animals and plants, to these sounds, and we’re also exploring our ability to identify and interpret the sounds in completely natural environments.”
Lilach Hadany, Sounds emitted by plants under stress are airborne and informative, Cell (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.03.009. www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(23)00262-3
Stressed plants emit airborne sounds that can be detected from more than a meter away (2023, March 30)
retrieved 30 March 2023
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
After sunset, see the 5 planets in the sky or via video
How to see 5 planets
This week (late March 2023), you can see five planets lined up in our evening sky: Venus and Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury and Mars. Gianluca Massi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome, Italy, showed them through a telescope earlier today (March 29). To enjoy his presentation, watch the video below. In addition, you can see them in the sky, perhaps, if your sky conditions are very good, and you have a sharp eye.
As soon as the sun sets, the planets are positioned in a gentle arc across the evening sky, following the sun’s path across our sky. Likewise, the Moon and the planets also follow the eclipse.
How can we see the planets? Go out around sunset and look west. Among them you can easily spot the bright planet Venus.
Then use binoculars to scan the planet Uranus next to Venus.
Then aim your binoculars low in the sky, near the point where the sun is setting. That is where you will find Jupiter and Mercury.
Then look high in the sky — still see the eclipse or the path of the Sun — to Mars.
Guide to Planetary Viewing
Venus and Uranus. Of these five planets, Venus is the brightest and Uranus is the dim. These two are close together in the sky. Venus is easily visible to the eye. It is the first “star” (actually, planet) to come into view. Uranus shines at +5.8 magnitudes. This is theoretically obvious. But, in practice, you need a dark sky and a telescope to find it. It was roughly 1.5 degrees or three moon widths from Venus earlier this week. Uranus will be closest to Venus on Thursday, March 30.
Thursday and Wednesday. Jupiter is the 2nd brightest planet. But it is now near sunset and visible only in bright twilight. Bright twilight skies make Jupiter more difficult to find. But Jupiter is still visible to the naked eye very close to sunset. And Wednesday? It is fainter than Jupiter (though still brighter than most stars). But it is near sunset. Shortly after sunset, start looking for the pair on the western horizon. You need clear skies and an unobstructed western view to catch them. A telescope should help. They disappear only 30 minutes after sunset. So, when the sun sets, the clock chimes.
tuesday, now the 5th planet in the evening sky, was easy to spot earlier this week because it’s not far from the Moon in our sky’s dome. A bright red light near the moon on Tuesday evening, March 28, 2023. Mars is bright. It is brighter than most stars. And it is clearly red. Even after the sun goes away, you can still spot Mars by its color and by the fact that it doesn’t shine like stars.
Some inventor charts
Bottom line: You have a chance to see five planets tonight and throughout this week. Here are illustrations and information, including where to look in the video.
For more celestial events, visit EarthSky’s Night Sky Guide.
The Art of Gardening — New Patio Plants – CFJC Today Kamloops
Is AI art the new frontier or just another way to rip artists off? Watch episode 1 of digi-Art now – CBC.ca
UK economy avoids recession but businesses still wary
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Sports9 hours ago
Edmonton Oilers deliver a statement performance in a 2-0 shutout of L.A.: Cult of Hockey Player Grade
Art9 hours ago
The art of picking the perfect colour
Science19 hours ago
After sunset, see the 5 planets in the sky or via video
Business19 hours ago
Stocks extend rally as Wall Street looks to end of quarter: Stock market news today
News21 hours ago
Six bodies, including one child, recovered from St. Lawrence River
Sports19 hours ago
Bontis says he’s apologized to Sinclair, doesn’t remember insult
Business18 hours ago
White House proposes tougher U.S. bank rules, new tests after crisis
Investment18 hours ago
BRAVO READY Announces Strategic Investment From Magic Eden