“Monarch Butterfly”.

IMG_0332Photo taken by Jack Flack, South Australia.
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae.
The viceroy butterfly appears similar in color and pattern, but is markedly smaller and has an extra black stripe across the hind wing.
The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its annual southward late-summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico.
During the fall migration, it covers thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return North.
The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains most often migrate to sites in California but have been found in overwintering Mexico sites Monarchs were transported to the International Space Station and were bred there.

“European Beewolves”.

beewolf_koehlerEUROPEAN BEEWOLVES: wasps that preys on bees, harbor symbiotic Streptomyces bacteria in specialized antennal reservoirs.
The bacteria are secreted into the wasps’ lair, later taken up by the wasp larva and applied to the larval cocoon where they produce antibiotics to protect the wasp offspring against pathogenic fungi.
Beneficial partnerships between microbes and animals like the European beewolf have inspired a rich body of research into the bioactive products of host-microbe interactions, which could have purpose in medicine and disease prevention.
CREDIT: Sabrina Koehler, Postdoc, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Read and see more via 2015 Cool Science Image Contest Winners | The Why Files.

“The most beautiful Grasshopper.”

157-orthoptere2-31
Photograph by Philippe Martin.
The most beautiful grasshopper in the world, Phymateus saxosus madagascariensis, is limited to medium-altitude regions of Madagascar.
The family of grasshoppers to which it belongs is commonly known as the gaudy grasshoppers.
See more great images via Surreal Portraits of Wildlife in Nature | DiscoverMagazine.com

“The Little Power Lifter”.

rhinoceros-beetle_5819_600x450Photograph by Jupiterimages
Compared to an elephant, the rhinoceros beetle looks minuscule.
But ounce for ounce, this insect is considered the world’s strongest creature.
Rhinoceros beetles, which get their name from the hornlike structure on a male’s head, are capable of carrying up to 850 times their own body weight.
A human with this relative strength would be able to lift some 65 tons (59 metric tons).
via Animal Record Breaker Pictures – National Geographic.

“Blue-banded Bee”.

blue-banded-beeNative blue-banded bees. (Credit: Fish Fidler/Flickr)
by Becky Crew
Becky Crew is a Sydney-based science communicator with a love for weird and wonderful animals. From strange behaviours and special adaptations to newly discovered species and the researchers who find them, her topics celebrate how alien yet relatable so many of the creatures that live amongst us can be.
This has to be one of the prettiest bees in the world.
Named for the beautiful turquoise bands that run across its abdomen, the blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulate) sports a lush golden and white fluff, enormous green eyes, and tan-coloured wings that look like crisp layers of cellophane.
Males can be distinguished from females by the number of blue bands they display – males have five while the females have just four.
Adult blue-banded bees typically grow to between 10mm and 12mm.
The species is found all over Australia, except in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
It’s also native to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, and India, so it enjoys a pretty healthy range, spreading out everywhere from urban areas to open fields and dense, tropical forests.
It’s rumoured they’re attracted to blue and purple flowers, perhaps because they could blend into their surroundings when collecting pollen from them, but this has yet to be proven.
They are known to frequent lavender plants, however, and according to the Australian Museum, they appear to be attracted to people in blue clothing. But it’s cool because these bees are non-abrasive, and don’t move around in intimidating swarms like other species, they live solitary lives in little burrows in the soil or the crevices of rocks.
via Blue-banded bee a native beauty – Australian Geographic.

“A Blue banded bee at work.”

The Blue Banded Bee, photographed in Darwin city, Northern Territory is an Australian native bee with beautiful turquoise bands across its abdomen.
Photograph by ABC Open contributor africanrootz1
Source: A native bee at work – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)