These Old World flycatchers are found in open scrubby habitats, the edges of forests, and grassy areas in parts of South and Southeast Asia, southern China, and Taiwan. Foraging in pairs or small groups, they eat insects, spiders, small mollusks, and sometimes seeds, capturing prey in the air or dropping onto it from a perch. They build compact cup-shaped nests from grasses, moss, roots, hair, feathers, pine needles, and other materials, usually on the ground or in cavities in banks, walls, or between roots.
sketching in the meadow at Greenwood Cemetery @historicgreenwood - part of the urban grassland project where parts of the cemetery are being restored to a more diverse ecosystem instead of the usual monoculture of lawns https://www.green-wood.com/rethinking-urban-grasslands/ #medow #urbangrassland #grassland #optoutside #goforawalk ##greenwoodcemetery #urbangardening #watercolor #grassland #brooklyn #naturebrooklyn #brooklynartist (at Green-Wood Cemetery) https://www.instagram.com/p/CSE2lJDF2Dn/?utm_medium=tumblr
Almost everyone regards silverfish (Lepisma saccharinum) as a pest. This is largely due to their tendency to consume things like paper or cloth; many historical artifacts and antiques have been damaged by these tiny creatures. However, they did not evolve solely to plague humanity; in fact, they were here long before we were and will likely remain long after we are gone. More than that, they are important members of an ecosystem as nutrient redistributors.
Aside from our household objects, silverfish have the ability to digest cellulose, due to the cellulase enzyme it produces. This means they readily consume plant matter, both living and dead, in large quantities. They also eat dead insects, shed exoskeletons, or other bits of organic matter. In turn they are valuable prey for earwigs, spiders, and centipedes. In this way, they become an incredibly valuable step in transferring energy and nutrients from an environment’s primary producers (plants) to the higher level consumers like carnivorous insects, and from there to even higher level consumers like larger insects, reptiles, or birds.
If they manage to avoid predators, silverfish can live anywhere from two to eight years. During this time, they can go through dozens of molts-- sometimes up to thirty in a single year. They reach sexual maturity at three months old, at which time they develop their distinctive silver coloring. When they are ready to mate, male and female silverfish follow a three-phase mating ritual that ends with the male dangling his sperm on a silk thread, which the female picks up. The female then lays up to three eggs in a safe crevice and leaves. The eggs’ rate of development largely depends on temperature, but they generally hatch within six weeks. Young L. saccharinum emerge fully formed, albiet smaller than their adult counterparts. A female silverfish can produce over a hundred eggs in her lifetime, unrestricted by season; however, they are more active at night and avoid direct sunlight when possible.
Like many other insect primary consumers, silverfish are small; usually less than a centimeter long. Their bodies are silver and segmented into several armor plates, with two cerci-- tail-like appendages that serve as sensory organs, like a cat’s whiskers-- and one terminal fillament on its rear and two antennae on the head. If lost, the silverfish can regrow any of those limbs. It has no wings, but is a fast runner and can seem to flit about when uncovered-- not totally unlike a fish.
July 14, 2021 - Tawny Grassbird (Cincloramphus timoriensis)
These grassbirds are found in northern and eastern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste in grasslands and wetlands. They eat arthropods and other invertebrates, as well as some seeds, foraging on or near the ground and sometimes capturing insects in the air during short flights. Breeding at any time of year, they build deep cup-shaped nests well hidden in thick vegetation where females lay two or three eggs.