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Twig Girdlers

Bayou-Diversity (20 October 2019) Not long ago a single beetle less than three-fourths of an inch long caused my computer to crash. My first thought was that all my valuable data were now in some black hole in another galaxy with family photos, essays, and email archives spinning around with a bunch of imprisoned light particles. Simultaneous with the computer failure, all of the smoke detectors in the house began their piercing out-of-sync chirp-whines, not unlike an imagined cat squirrel on meth. And oh yeah, the electrical transformer on the pole just outside the door exploded like a cannon shot then too. One oblivious beetle hell-bent on procreation started a chain of events that al

Worthless Plants & Animals

Bayou-Diversity (11 October 2019) A famous conservationist, a man who is considered the father of modern wildlife management, understood the natural world better than most people of his time and indeed better than most people today 71 years after his death. Aldo Leopold understood that a species of plant or animal does not and cannot exist in isolation from other plants and animals. He knew that there are always critical connections between life forms that when severed tend to wreak havoc on the various plants and animals in their particular ecosystem. Leopold once said, "the last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: 'What good is it?'" Unfortunately, many people

Dinosaur Fish

Bayou-Diversity (5 October 2019) For a very long time, 70 million years or so, a strange sort of fish has been swimming along the sandy bottoms of North America’s largest rivers. They have neither bones nor scales. Instead they have a cartilaginous skeleton and rows of boney scutes for protection. An elongated snout, asymmetrical, scimitar-shaped tail, and whisker-like barbels add to their bizarre appearance and reputation as living fossils. More people are familiar with their eggs than the fish themselves. Eight species of sturgeons inhabit this continent and three are found in Louisiana, if only barely. They are among the rarest of our aquatic fauna. Of the three types of sturgeons


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