Hi peoples, it's Circus of the Spineless time again, making its first ever appearance here at Catalogue of Organisms! (The act is being headlined by a spectacular clearwing butterfly from Jennifer Forman Orth.) A reminder, too, that the next edition of Linnaeus' Legacy will be appearing in a week's time - get your submissions in to Greg Laden by the 5th of January!
And what would a circus be without some music? It suddenly occurs to me that I should have written the song earlier and gotten Kevin Zelnio to record a performance of it, but I didn't, and you're all just going to have to hum it to yourselves, to the tune of The Beatles' For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.
For the benefit of spineless beasts, tonight we have a major feast
With all the corals there could be, polyps waving in the sea,
Aren't they great?
Deep-Sea News and The Other 95% have decided that nothing says Christmas more than a squishy bag of jelly with tentacles - especially if they come in flourescent green and red colours!
Predators and prey compete, with fungal lassos formed from hyphal threads!
Leaving signs that this sort of thing has happened for years!
Not Exactly Rocket Science has two studies for us on past and present interactions between inverts and their enemies. In the first, water fleas and their parasitic bacteria that have lain dormant in mud for up to 39 years have been revived to test how interactions between the two have changed over time, the bacteria evolving increased ability to infect while the the water fleas increase their ability to resist infection.
In the second, fossil remains have been found in Cretaceous amber of fungal hyphae forming "lassos" to catch nematodes for nutrition. Most interestingly, the fungus in question seems to belong to a different line than the Orbiliaceae, the modern practitioners of the art!
The snails gayly fornicate, able to know their suited mate,
We've not a clue.
Pascal, the author of Research at a snail's pace reports that two of his snails have mated, leaving him hopeful for a litter of little snail-lets. One of the happy pair kicked it a few days after mating, which is something of a benefit to Pascal, because he wasn't able to properly ID them to species without cutting them open and looking inside.