Weird Universe


Bug Invasion

In July 1957, Hastings Minnesota was invaded by fish flies. Millions of them. So many that they piled up on roads in enormous drifts and prevented cars from getting through.

From the History of Hastings blog:
The cops were called. The Fire Department was called. State highway sanders were useless against the combined efforts of the millions of fish flies who piled up their little bodies against all human efforts. Meanwhile the deck of the bridge became as slippery and slimy as grease, stalling cars that had to be moved to release the motorists stalled and steaming in cars with all windows closed against the bugs.
For over an hour a group of strong-backed youths, who volunteered their help, pushed and tugged cars through the 2 1/2 ft. bug-drift in the center of the bridge. Some were members of the very commendable teenager Cavalier Auto Club, supported by the Greater Hastings Association. The young men did a terrific job, some wearing bathing trunks, as they waded through the piles of bugs to help motorists. They pushed, advised, sweated with flies in ears, mouths, eyes. Look at those spots in front of the camera lens. They’re bugs…. stacked up on the car hood, piled up in drifts. How prolific-the hatch was terrific.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Apr 06, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Insects, 1950's

Weird Job

Scientists in Australia are studying bees to find ways to protect them from diseases that destroy bee populations. To do this they refrigerate the bees till they are sleepy and docile then they glue a microchip to each bee. Some of the younger bees are hairy enough that they must be shaved before attaching the 1/16 of an inch square chip. Bee shaver is just about the weirdest job I've ever heard of, to say nothing of the micro chip gluer on-ers.
picture from yahoo images
Posted By: patty | Date: Sat Feb 01, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Insects

Folkicide:  Empire of the Ants

FOLKICIDE: Empire of the Ants from Mikal Shapiro on Vimeo.

As someone who does his own collages, I appreciate the inventiveness of these weird ones.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Oct 03, 2013 | Comments (2)
Category: Art, Surrealism, Insects, Music

Giant Asian Hornets

Oh the horror! But at least they are over there, right? Not necessarily, they were seen in Illinois last year.
Posted By: patty | Date: Tue Oct 01, 2013 | Comments (10)
Category: Insects

The Almost Millipede—only 750 legs

I feel cheated. I thought there were real millipedes -- with one thousand legs. After reading the article here:

I discovered there is no creature with one-thousand legs.

But this one comes close:


Thought extinct, they have been rediscovered in Silicon Valley and may be lost again due to habitat loss.

Not to be sexist, but one interesting fact from the story may explain women's fascination with shoes. The female has 750 legs; the male only 550.

It can also spin its own clothes.
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Sat Apr 13, 2013 | Comments (1)
Category: Insects

Cockroach Artist Fabian Peña

Instead of painting with oils or watercolors, Fabian Peña uses fragments of cockroach wings and crushed houseflies as his artistic medium. The blurb about him at the David Castillo Gallery says: "Peña harkens to the Shakespearean interpretation of a corporeal 'pound of flesh,' acknowledging the somatic price for locating beauty in the grotesque." [via]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Mar 10, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Art, Insects

Sam and Sadie, Hollywood Martyrs


Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Jan 29, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Hollywood, Insects, 1930's

The sound of copulating flies

In order to test the theory that noisy copulating animals are at greater risk of being found and eaten by predators, German researchers mounted "dead, noiseless fly pairs" on the ceiling of a shed. The bats that lived in the shed ignored them. But when the researchers played the sound of copulating flies through loudspeakers, the bats attacked the loudspeakers. So, theory proven!

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft has a video of the bats attacking the speakers, but unfortunately the video has no sound. And below is a youtube video of some copulating flies -- but again, you can't hear the flies, just some people in the background. So I still don't know what copulating flies sound like.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Jul 27, 2012 | Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Insects, Science, Experiments, Sexuality
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.