Wayne's Trivia Notes #1
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Wayne's Trivia Note #1 (26 May 2012)

Update on field of wild brodiaeas in San Marcos. These are some of the rarest native wildflowers in California. The field is surrounded by industrial buildings and a shopping center. The DNA of my brodiaea samples is being analyzed at the University of Missouri. For more information see the following page on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/vernal1h.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #2 (3 June 2012)

The common European scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) is sometimes blue! For more information see the following page on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/Anagallis1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #3 (3 June 2012)

You probably have dust mites in your bed! Here is a magnified view of dust vacuumed out of Wayne's couch. The image shows a dust mite, a pine pollen grain and flakes of dead skin (food for dust mites). The mite's body is slightly smaller than a grain of ordinary table salt (NaCl). For more information see the following page on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite7a.htm#dustmite.

Wayne's Trivia Note #4 (4 June 2012)

While hiking on Owens Peak near Palomar College (Sunday 3 June 2012) I bumped into this handsome bug (Apiomerus crassipes) that makes a living assassinating bees. For more information about the bee assassin, see the following page on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite4.htm#beeassassin.

Wayne's Trivia Note #5 (5 June 2012)

This is not a creature from a SyFi movie. It is the face of a small spider on the ceiling of my patio in San Marcos, CA. (20 May 2012). Unlike most other spiders it has extra long jaws. In fact, it is called the "long-jawed orb weaver" (Tetragnatha). For more information about this spider, see the following page on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/Tetragnatha1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #6 (6 June 2012)

A deceased male honey bee (called a drone) on his back in a Palomar College parking lot. His everted endophallus (penis apparatus) indicates that he was on a mating flight with a queen high above the campus, a suicidal act for this unfortunate hymenopteran. There is no such thing as "safe sex" for a male honey bee. For more information about this drone, see the following page on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0701.htm#Drone.

Wayne's Trivia Note #7 (8 June 2012)

While walking along a sidewalk in Encinitas, CA (7 June 2012) I noticed a snake-like object that felt like a rubber worm used for fishing lures. Closer examination revealed that it actually had minute eyelids, a characteristic lacking in snakes and much too elaborate for a fishing lure. To my astonishment it was a deceased California legless lizard (Anniella pulchra), a secretive little reptile that most people never see. For more local reptile and amphibian images (incl. a lizard without eyelids) go to Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/TwinOaks1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #8 (11 June 2012)

What do the little yellow globs on your car have in common with honey? Answer: They both come from honey bees. Honey is regurgitated nectar from the stomachs of foraging honey bees. It is sometimes called "bee vomit." The yellow blobs are bee excrement, primarily undigested pollen grains. Since honey bees navigate by the sun we are only bombarded by bee excrement during the daylight hours. For more information see Wayne's Word article: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/beepoo1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #9 (24 June 2012)

The infamous "pink champagne cake" at San Luis Obispo County's Madonna Inn. This is quite possibly the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. Unfortunately, it has a rather high glycemic index. For more information about type 2 diabetes, see Wayne's Word article: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/molecu1.htm#carrier.

Wayne's Trivia Note #10 (26 June 2012)

A Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) sent from Stephanie in Japan. With their powerful mandibles, several dozen of these giants can annihilate 30,000 European honey bees (Apis mellifera) in a few hours by quickly decapitating them! The native Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica) has evolved a clever strategy for killing this predator if it invades their nest. A mob of several hundred worker bees envelop the invader and vibrate their flight muscles, thus raising the hornet's body temperature by a lethal 2 degrees Celsius. See the following two YouTube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L54exo8JTUs   and   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EZtXNIT5QQ.

Wayne's Trivia Note #11 (4 July 2012)

A small rabbit dropping covered with the minute, rare & endangered "woven-spore lichen" (Texosporium sancti-jacobi). My road trip to central California in search of this seldom-seen lichen has to be one of the most unusual quests of my entire career! For more information, see Wayne's Word article: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/Pinnacles1.htm#woven-spore.

Wayne's Trivia Note #12 (10 July 2012)

Major & minor workers of the polymorphic southern fire ant (Solenopsis xyloni). I spent may happy hours during my formative childhood years playing with these ants. Today I often share my granola bar with these "friendly," stinging ants at the summit of Owens Peak near Palomar College. They have been eliminated from well-watered urbanized areas of southern California by the ubiquitous Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). For more information: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite8.htm#fireant.

Wayne's Trivia Note #13 (14 July 2012)

During my 40 year career at Palomar College I admired these tiny orange ants that live in the rock outcrop at the summit of Owens Peak near campus. After all these years I finally identified them. They are called orange desert ants (Forelius pruinosus) and they are only 2 mm long (1/13 of an inch). For more information: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite8.htm#forelius.

Wayne's Trivia Note #14 (16 July 2012)

I don't want to gross anyone out, but one of the most exciting discoveries in my career was finding & photographing a minute hair follicle mite (Demodex brevis) in my nose. This is one of the smallest multicellular animals on earth. It has 4 pairs of stubby legs each tipped with tiny claws. It is dwarfed by a grain of ordinary table salt and is near the limit of resolving power in an unaided human eye with 20-20 vision! For more information: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite7a.htm#hairfollicle.

Wayne's Trivia Note #15 (18 July 2012)

On a Palomar Mountain hike last summer I assured Stephanie & Elaine that there wasn't any danger of being bitten by a rattlesnake. "The trail is wide and you can easily spot one and avoid it." Then Stephanie pointed to the trailside a few feet from my feet. Suddenly my credibility as a trail guide went out the window! In plain view was a large, coiled southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis ssp. helleri). Although the snake appeared menacing, it seemed very calm and didn't even rattle.

Wayne's Trivia Note #16 (22 July 2012)

After 44 years, I finally found this lovely native cactus of Anza-Borrego Desert in full bloom. The photo was taken on July 19, 2012 on a very hot day in full sun. Special thanks to naturalist Karyn Barnett for showing me the location. For more information & photos: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/MamTetra1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #17 (23 August 2012)

For years I taught my students that primitive moss sperm swim to the egg on female plants in water. A recent study in Sweden revealed that moss sperm are carried passively by minute 6-legged creatures (class Collembola), similar to honeybees carrying pollen. Collembolans date back to the first land plants over 400 million years ago. They are one of the most abundant animals on earth, but most people go through their entire life without ever seeing one! http://waynesword.palomar.edu/evolutio.htm#collembola.

Wayne's Trivia Note #18 (26 August 2012)

The story "Alice in Wonderland" by Rev. C.L. Dodgson of Christ Church College in Oxford (better known by his pen name of Lewis Carroll) is probably not a mushroom trip by the author. The selection of a beautiful red & white hallucinogenic mushroom resembling Amanita muscaria actually came from the book's illustrator, Sir John Tenniel. Our modern interpretation of the story has certainly been influenced by Tenniel's illustrations. http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0504.htm#Halluc.

Wayne's Trivia Note #19 (3 September 2012)

In the summer of 1969 I attended Oregon State University on an NSF grant. I took this image of the moon one evening while walking around the campus. There really were men on the moon at this historic moment 43 years ago. More moon images: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/nikon9.htm#moon2.

Wayne's Trivia Note #20 (6 September 2012)

Imagine a nest of these ants in your house! See more ant images
on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite8a.

Wayne's Trivia Note #21 (14 September 2012)

My starfish flower is blooming. It gives off the same stench and chemicals (amines) as carrion to attract blow flies for pollination. Not a desirable flower for indoors! More carrion flowers on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0602.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #22 (16 September 2012)

Wayne's Word receives a lot of e-mail from throughout the U.S. and other countries. This image came from a woman in Wisconsin who wondered who was defacing her statue of the Virgin Mary. Click here to see the answer: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/Statue1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #23 (22 September 2012)

Wayne's Trivia Note #24 (11 October 2012)

I spent the past two weeks in the White Mtns of eastern Arizona. On the last night of September I photographed a golden harvest moon on the horizon. See more images from this road trip: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/WhiteMtns.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #25 (29 October 2012)

A view of "Hunter's Moon" rising over Escondido. Image taken the night of October 29, 2012 from the summit of Owens Peak near Palomar College: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/HunterMoon1.htm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #26 (3 November 2012)

The precursors of complex biological molecules, including amino acids and DNA bases, have been found in meteorites that hit the earth. Assuming these molecules were formed in space, were the building blocks for life on earth seeded from meteorites? Michael Callahan, et al. (2011). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wayne's Trivia Note #27 (4 November 2012)

Wayne's Trivia Note #28 (18 November 2012)

I found these little alien creatures in the hills north of Escondido. When first described in 1688 they were named Fungus anthropomorphus because of their uncanny resemblance to human figures. Their current name Geastrum "fornicatum" has several meanings, but adultery between unmarried couples doesn't seem appropriate. The specific epithet actually refers to their arched legs. See Etymology Of Fornication in Wikipedia

Wayne's Trivia Note #29 (3 December 2012)

Why are sea beans called "hamburger seeds"? A sea bean Mucuna gigantea ssp. gigantea collected on a West Maui beach on 22 November 2012. It truly resembles a miniature hamburger, especially when compared with an order of fries! I must confess that I greatly reduced the size of the plate and fries. The sea bean is only 22 mm in diamter (just under one inch). See Images Of Maui Drift Seed Beach

Wayne's Trivia Note #30 (20 January 2013)

A swarm of flying ants over Owens Peak north of Palomar College on18 January 2013. Its mating season again and this is their nuptial flight! For more information please refer to Wayne's Word Ant Page

Wayne's Trivia Note #31 (4 February 2013)

Greetings from the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. For more images please refer to Wayne's Superstition Mtns Page

Wayne's Trivia Note #32 (10 February 2013)

Greetings to all my friends & family from somewhere along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks during an Arizona rain storm.

Wayne's Trivia Note #33 (14 February 2013)

I recently received the following: Coconut Pearl Video On Malaysian TV. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the proof for authentic coconut pearls from coconuts is lacking. Modern studies of the molecular structure of coconut pearls in various collections showed that they were derived from giant clams or another source, but not from coconuts. Some of these references are available at the Gemological Institute of America based in Carlsbad. CA. So I'm afraid that coconut pearls are another hoax (myth) like Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. For more information: See Wayne's Word article About Authenticity Of Coconut Pearls.

Wayne's Trivia Note #34 (28 February 2013)

About 30 years ago, one of my students presented me with a "Magical Seed From India." It was a bright red Circassian seed containing 12 tiny carved elephants. Over the years I have received numerous letters and e-mail messages about these seeds, including claims of seeds containing up tp 100 elephants. I always doubted the latter claim because there was barely enough room for 12. Several days ago I received the following image from a woman from Pakistan! Her seed contained 73 elephants, apparently a few were lost over the years. For more information: See Wayne's Word article about Circassian Seeds.

Wayne's Trivia Note #35 (1 March 2013)

Long before I became a biology teacher at Palomar College, I restored an old 1948 Ford Convertible. It was very similar to the following image, except my car was completely restored, including all the factory emblems and accessories that I purchased from a place called "Ford Obsolete" in Los Angeles. I even had a pair of dice hanging from my rear-view-mirror!

Wayne's Trivia Note #36 (6 March 2013)

An unsassembled stag beetle model sent to me from Stephanie in Japan. Click on the following link to see my assembled stag beetle: Assembled Model Of Stag Beetle

Wayne's Trivia Note #37 (10 March 2013)

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index by entomologist Justin Schmidt. He has documented the pain of these insects on himself! I made his index into a colorful HTML table and plan to present it to my dentist and dermatologist the next time they say "just a little sting." I have images of most of these stinging insects at following 2 sites: Ant Subfamiles and Bees & Wasps.

Wayne's Trivia Note #38 (15 March 2013)

Tardigrades: First known animals to survive the vacuuum of space! After 10 days in space they even laid eggs that developed normally. Some tardigrade species can survive environmental extremes more severe than any on Earth, including temperatures near absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) where liquids and gasses freeze solid; some can survive temperatures up to 151 degrees Celsius (304 degrees Fahrenheit); some can live without water for 10 years; some can survive 1,000 times more gamma radiation than other animals (tardigrades can withstand 570,000 rads of X-ray radiation while 500 rads would kill a human); some can withstand pressures up to 6,000 atmospheres (more than the deepest ocean trench). Does their origin defy natural selection? Some astrobiologists suggest that tardigrades may have an extraterrestrial origin. More about tardigrades: Are Tardigrades Over-Equipped? See Video

Wayne's Trivia Note #39 (18 March 2013)

I just updated my old CompuServe Chile Pepper Chart with the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the current undisputed world's hottest! It is much hotter than the "Habanero" sold in Supermarkets. Eating one of these excruciating peppers should only be attempted by someone with a very high pain tolerance. Please take the time to watch video at following link: Eating a Moruga Scorpion! See another Wayne's Word link: Self Defense With Chile Peppers

Wayne's Trivia Note #40 (19 March 2013)

I never expected a sunset like this in the metropolis of Rancho Cucamonga (San Bernardino County) last Friday night!

Wayne's Trivia Note #41 (21 March 2013)

A surprise at the Los Angeles County Arboretum last week. Look what my telephoto lens revealed on a tree limb--a Great Horned Owl!

Wayne's Trivia Note #42 (24 March 2013)

A striking South American lanternfly (Phosphora lanternaria). The enlarged head extension mimics the head of a small alligator or a peanut; however, it is doubtful that any adaptive advantage can be gained by mimicking a peanut! Check out the recent link I found on Twitter comparing this insect with the Pope's regalia: Twitter Comparison

Wayne's Trivia Note #43 (26 March 2013)

A delicious salad made from an avocado and a local wildflower called Miner's lettuce that grows on Owens Peak north of Palomar College. Be sure look carefully where you place your hands when picking the leaves of this plant!