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The Artful Amoeba

The Artful Amoeba

A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on Earth

TGIF: Snails that Fly, or, the Potato Chips of the Ocean

On land, snails and slugs -- the Gastropods -- are confined to terrestrial prison, but in the ocean, they are free to shed their shells and fly. These are the sea angels, the sea butterflies, and the sea elephants -- and probably quite a few more I'm not aware of.For instance, this slinky and mysterious creature is a heteropod ("different foot"), or sea elephant: It's called a sea elephant because of that sausage-esque proboscis it holds aloft...

February 17, 2012 — Jennifer Frazer

The Wild Life of My Doorsill

When I was in North Carolina last month for the meet-and-greet-and-learn-exhausto-freneti-thon of ScienceOnline 2012, I procured for myself a sampling kit for a citizen science project being conducted by the lab of Rob Dunn, Sci Am Guest Blogger and author of the wonderful book The Wild Life of our Bodies.He's doing a new study called "The Wild Life of Our Homes", and for the low, low price of nothing*, I got a sampling kit with two neato dual-pronged sterile Q-tips, instructions, a questionnaire about the characteristics of my pad, and a mailing address to send it back to...

February 10, 2012 — Jennifer Frazer

Proteus: How Radiolarians Saved Ernst Haeckel

Ernst Haeckel around Christmas 1860, when he was 26, the year after he returned from Italy. Ernst Haeckel had spent an unhappy year practicing medicine when his parents finally consented to pay for a year of scientific study and travel in Italy...

January 31, 2012 — Jennifer Frazer

When You Think "Hydrothermal Vents", You Shouldn't Think "Tube Worms"

Riftia pachyptila, the weird, iconic giant of hydrothermal vents. Creative Commons Sabine Gollner et al.; click image for link and license. In 1977, scientists and the world were shocked to discover the first deep-sea hydrothermal vent community at the Galapagos Rift in the eastern Pacific (see a great story on this at NPR here)...

January 4, 2012 — Jennifer Frazer

The Brain-Eating "Amoeba" Strikes Again

Just when you thought the U.S. was safe from amoebas . . . it turns out it's not.This summer saw a micro-burst of brain-eating amoeba attacks (well, only three, but that was plenty for the press to get its panties in a bunch over it...

December 21, 2011 — Jennifer Frazer

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