Category: Wasps and Kin
Category: Wasps and Kin
It may look like a furry and colorful ant, but watch out, the this velvet ant-like creature belongs to the Mutillidae family, which makes it wasp. Though females in this family lacks wings, you don't want to get on their bad side, they've earned their name for having a sting so painful, it has been exaggeratedly described as powerful enough to kill a cow, earning them the name: Cow Killer Ants. Female Cow Killers are very distinct, with furry bodies, an elongated thorax, and a bright orange or red color. Males are very different, lacking a stinger, but equipped with wings, and featuring a very different body shape (See below).
Something a bit different today, if you haven't yet figured it out this blob of sandy goo is jellyfish fresh from the shores of Galveston Beach, Texas. It washed up dead on the shore and made its way to the Sholesonian's collections for the first jelly specimen. This one belongs to the genus Aurelia also known as the common jellyfish as they are found throughout the Atlantic coasts and are also known as moon jellies. They do in fact sting producing a mild burning sensation, a possible rash, and nausea/high blood pressure about half an hour after the sting - nothing serious. Their bodies consist mostly of the bell (top dome area) and tentacles (thin strands that dangle) and can be easily recognized by their distinctive four black spots on top - their reproductive organs; and this species of medusoid is either male or female.
Location: Mufreesboro, AR
It's been awhile since the last post, but here is a small but interesting new piece all the way from Arkansas - the Natural State. From the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Mufreesboro, AR this yellow-dotted rock tells the story of how the volcanic crater formed and why the park is known for all its diamonds. Those yellow/green spots are actually small pieces of the Earth's upper mantle (called macrocrysts) which are made out of olivine. Deep, deep down in the Earth's mantle (150+ km down - the crust is a max of 50km thick and the deepest humans have drilled is 12 km) diamonds are formed under the immense pressure. Lamproites like this (along with a similar mineral kimberlite) are able to transport diamond-bearing rocks to the surface - but do not contain the diamonds themselves.
The Sholesonian is an online museum databasing all the unique, scientific, and interesting things I've found over the years. Every week I'll be posting up at least one new item to the collection along with a little tidbit on what it is. Enjoy!