Blog Profile / Catalogue of Organisms

Filed Under:Biology / Zoology
Posts on Regator:423
Posts / Week:0.8
Archived Since:March 12, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Walruses, Sea Lions and Fur Seals

Adaptation to a primarily aquatic lifestyle has happened numerous times within mammals, but some groups have radiated more in this environment than others. One particularly well-known group of marine mammals is the pinnipeds, the seals and sea lions. Show More Summary


Shell of Turris crispa crispa, copyright H. Zell. At this point, I've made numerous references on this site to the gastropod family Turridae, discussing its members and non-members and alluding to its sordid history. So maybe I should...Show More Summary

Blister Beetles

Zonitis sayi, copyright Carol Davis. This is a blister beetle of the genus Zonitis. Blister beetles, the family Meloidae, get their name from their production of cantharidin, a defensive chemical that can burn the skin of would-be predators. Show More Summary


Textbooks will tell you that the term 'bug' should be restricted to insects of the order Hemiptera though, as I've noted before, I don't know if I've ever met anyone who actually used the word that way. For many people, one of the groups of actual bugs that they are most likely to be aware of are members of the Cicadomorpha. Show More Summary

The Colours of Rot

Bracket fungi Fomitopsis pinicola, copyright Marek Novotnak. Apart from those species readily purchased at the supermarket, perhaps the macrofungi most likely to be encountered by the average person are the brackets. Bracket fungi are the hard, woody, shelf-like fungi that may be found growing from tree-stumps and fallen logs. Show More Summary

Meandering Forams

Specimen of Meandropsina vidali, showing the patterning on the external surface, from Loeblich & Tappan (1964). There are some taxonomic names that just instantly bring up a mental image of the sort of organism to which they refer. For my part, I've always felt that Meandropsina is one of those names. Show More Summary

Doe, it's Deer

Marsh deer Blastocerus dichotomus, copyright Jonathan Wilkins. An animal that just screams out, "Am I wearing the Chanel boots? Yes, I am." I hardly need to explain what deer are, do I? Deers (Cervidae) are generally recognised as the second most diverse family of hoofed mammals (after bovids) in the modern fauna. Show More Summary

Conus jaspideus or Conasprella jaspidea, Take Your Pick

Live Conasprella jaspidea, copyright Anne DuPont. Cone shells are one of the classic varieties of tropical sea shells, perhaps only rivalled in their familiarity with the general public by cowries and conches. Over 800 species of the family Conidae have been described from around the world. Show More Summary

Darklings, Tok Toks and Pie-dishes

False wireworm beetle Gonocephalum sp., copyright EBKauai. It has been noted to the point of cliché that the Creator has an inordinate fondness of beetles. Even within the massive range of beetle diversity, though, certain families stand out as particularly diverse. Show More Summary


The world is home to a wide variety of leafhoppers, both in terms of number of species and range of morphological disparity. One of the more diverse leafhopper families is the Delphacidae, including over two thousand species from around the globe. Show More Summary

When the Wolf Breaks Wind

Common puffballs Lycoperdon perlatum, copyright H. Krisp. In an earlier post, I described the way in which the 'gasteromycetes' of historical fungal classifications have come to be expunged as a category. The enclosure of spore-producing...Show More Summary

The Forams that Bind

Cross-section of Fabiania cassis, from BouDagher-Fadel (2008). Here we see an example of Fabiania. Fabiania is a genus of foraminiferan known from the Eocene epoch that could reach a relatively large size as forams go, up to several millimetres across (nowhere near as large as some that I've covered on this site, maybe, but still respectable). Show More Summary

The European Blackbuck

Horn cores of Gazellospira torticornis hispanica, from here. From one -spira genus to another, somewhat different one. Gazellospira is a genus of spiral-horned gazelles known from the Pliocene and early Pleistocene of Europe and northern Asia (the reference to Miocene on the Wikipedia page for this genus looks like it might be an error). Show More Summary


Shell of Cochlespira radiata, photographed by Jan Delsing. This beauty is a member of the genus Cochlespira, another one of the conoid shells previously classed as 'turrids' (it now belongs in the family Cochlespiridae since the disassembly of Turridae in the broad sense). Show More Summary

Powder-post Beetles: Got Wood?

Jesuit beetle Bostrychopsis jesuita, from PaDIL. Back when I was collecting insects in the Australian arid zone, one of the more easily recognisable animals that we would regularly come across was the jesuit beetle Bostrychopsis jesuita. Show More Summary

Edible Stinkbugs

In recent years, there has been some discussion in certain circles about whether people in western cultures should become more accepting of the practice of entomophagy: that is, eating bugs. For the most part, insects do not play a big part in diets in the English-speaking world except indirectly. Show More Summary

Publication date of Bulletin de la Société Philomathique

I should say up front, this is going to be a pretty esoteric one. It's just that this is something I spent a fair chunk of a morning trying to work out, and I may as well put what I found up here in case someone else finds it useful.A...Show More Summary

Harden Up, Puffball!

Near my home back in Australia, there's a park where we walk the dog most days. During the summer, when Perth receives little rain, the grass in the park dries off and the ground becomes hard. In some particularly dry spots, ground cover...Show More Summary

Fusulinoids: Complex Forams of the Late Palaeozoic

Among the most characteristic fossils of the latter part of the Palaeozoic are the group of Foraminifera known as the fusulinoids. These forams, known from around the middle of the Carboniferous to the end of the Permian, can be extremely abundant. Show More Summary

Hyopsodontids: Little Slinkers of the Palaeogene

The oft-repeated quote about mammalian palaeontology is that it tends to be focused on "the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth". This is primarily the result of pragmatic constraints: because they are much harder than the other bones of the mammalian skeleton, teeth are much more likely to be preserved in the fossil record. Show More Summary

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