Monthly Archives: August 2006

Friday Ark #101

We’ll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and….?

You can find out how to board the Friday Ark at the Arkive Page (construction underway).

: The staff is leaving again. Sometime Friday morning we will depart for a long weekend and will be on the road most of the day. Connectivity may be very limited until Monday night. Any boarders that we do not get on the Ark by Sunday afternoon will have priority boarding on next week’s Ark.

Update 11:56 AM CDT
: One the road. No more updates until….?


DogsBirdsInvertebratesOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn’t Make It
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Extra, Extra: All Ark boarders are invited to shout out at the Friday Ark Frapper Map. (73 shouts as of 08/17)

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey’s Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 126th edition, 8/20 is up at Red Peonies. The 127th edition will be hosted by eatstuff’s Weekend Cat Blogging which has many participants who may not be familiar to Ark or Carnival participants. Do go shout out at The Catbloggers Frappr Map.

Bird folks: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks. The 30th edition is up and hosted by Burning Sile The 31st edition will be hosted on 8/31 by migrateblog.

For the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles. The 11th edition is up at Words & Pictures. The 12th edition will be hosted August 31st by Sunbeams From Cucumbers.

For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat’s Carnival Page, The Blog Carnival and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted “too rapidly” by the same host. I don’t know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I’m sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh….

Are The Queens Cooperating?

Or is some other factor leading to the large number of multiple queen yellow jacket nests in Alabama this year:

Entomologist Dr. Charles Ray at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in Auburn said he’s aware of about 16 of what he described as “super-sized” nests in south Alabama.
In previous years, a yellow jacket nest was no larger than a basketball, Ray said. It would contain about 3,000 workers and one queen. These gigantic nests may have as many as 100,000 workers and multiple queens.
Without a cold winter to kill them this year, the yellow jackets continued feeding in January and February — and layering their nests made of paper, not wax. They typically are built in shallow underground cavities.
He said the “super colonies” appear to have many queens.
“We’re not really sure how this multiple queen thing works,” Ray said. “It could be that the daughters of the original queen don’t leave the nest or that the queens have developed some way to cooperate.”

The over winter survival probably contibutes heavily to the large size allowing a longer egg laying season. The multiple queen thing though is interesting. Are they really cooperating? Why didn’t the new queens move on to form their own nests? What makes these large nests a superior survival mechanism? What if there are a series of years without a die off?
Perhaps even more interesting is this:

Yellow jackets, often confused with bees, may visit flowers for sugar, but unlike bees, yellow jackets are carnivorous, eating insects, carrion and picnic food, according to scientists.

It is probably consistent that some food was avaiilable through the warmer winter. However, where did enough food to sustain a colony 30 times normal size come from? Is something dying off more than normal? Are they preparing for even larger feasts in the future?
Yellow Jacket Fact Sheet
Eastern Yellow Jacket Vespula maculifrons (the above article did not indicate if Easterns are the big colony builders):

Via boingboing.