Wayne's Trivia Notes #3
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Wayne's Trivia Note #96 (28 September 2013)

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an excellent source of folic acid. In the United States, spinach leaves are associated with the legendary cartoon character Popeye®. Contrary to some reports, the leaves were not smoked by Popeye. Instead, they were sucked through his pipe to provide an iron-rich, nourishing food supplement and enlarged forearms.


Wayne's Trivia Note #97 (6 October 2013)

Most morning glories (Ipomoea) are blue or purple. Here is an unusual, red-flowered species (I. coccinea) that I found growing wild in southeastern Arizona. It is called the scarlet creeper. More information about morning glories.


Wayne's Trivia Note #98 (9 October 2013)

Greetings from the Colorado Plateau and White Mtns of Arizona. Autumn is here, but the aspen leaves are falling rapidly with each gust of wind. This lovely place (Lee Reservoir) has not been affected by the ridiculous government shutdown; however, all the national parks and campgrounds on federal land are closed.


Wayne's Trivia Note #99 (10 October 2013)

Greetings from Holbrook, Arizona. The outrageous government shutdown has closed Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. This unfortunate closure is due to the idiodic and egregious behavior of a small faction of the Republican Party.


Wayne's Trivia Note #100 (11 October 2013)

My favorite train: The Apache Railway between Snowflake and Holbrook, Arizona. The picture was taken during high winds and frozen ice pellets. By the way, Snowflake is named after the Mormon founders, Erastus Snow & Jordan Flake, not after the frozen, crystalline precipitation.


Wayne's Trivia Note #101 (14 October 2013)

Heading south from Arizona's White Mtns on the Colorado Plateau. It is difficult to leave this beautiful place.


Wayne's Trivia Note #102 (18 October 2013)

Hunter moon rising over the colorful sandstone formations of Sedona, Ariz. Photographed last night at 6:00 P.M. (18 October 2013).


Wayne's Trivia Note #103 (25 October 2013)

The Science Museum of Paris (Palais de la Decouverte) has a new exhibit called "A Thousand Billion Ants" from October 2013 to August 2014. One of my images of a minute ant will be used in the exhibit, in case you happen to be in Paris during that time. It is called the "little yellow ant" (Plagiolepis alluaudi), one of the world's smallest ants with a body only 1/20th of an inch in length (slightly over one millimeter). Palais de la Decouverte Website


Wayne's Trivia Note #104 (29 October 2013)

I really like the amazing gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). It contains the undisputed largest ripened ovary. I guess I will dress up like a pumpkin this Halloween!


Wayne's Trivia Note #105 (1 November 2013)

Crosses between different species of plants and animals is a fascinating subject, especially natural hybridization between native wildflowers of San Diego County. Did you know that one of our most common shrubby oaks is actually of hybrid origin? The tigon is a huge cat larger than its tiger and lion parents. Wayne's Word Hybridization Page and Natural Oak Hybrids In San Diego County


Wayne's Trivia Note #106 (9 November 2013)

Sunset from Owens Peak looking west toward Palomar Airport and the ocean. Taken with a mini point-and-shoot Sony T-10 on 7 November 2013 at 6:00 PM.


Wayne's Trivia Note #107 (13 November 2013)

My South American, night-blooming San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi = Echinopsis pachanoi) is flowering again. This species contains the alkaloid mescaline like the well-known peyote cactus. For some reason, its mother plant at Palomar College has been getting smaller and smaller over the years.


Wayne's Trivia Note #108 (22 November 2013)

As a child in 1951, I was fascinated by a colony of ants that lived in my backyard in Arcadia, CA. I never knew their name but I spent many hours watching them since I had virtually no social life, and after all, this was truly a social insect. Recently, I confirmed the identity of this little ant that sparked my interest in natural history more than 60 years ago. I discovered a colony on Owens Peak north of Palomar College. They even emitted the same peculiar odor when agitated that I clearly remember as a child. I had other interests and collections, but I truly believe this tiny ant inspired me during my formative years and was a major factor leading to a career in biology. More Images Of My 1st Ant


Wayne's Trivia Note #109 (3 December 2013)

Yesterday I was surprized to find a western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) on Owens Peak north of Palomar College. This intersting lizard has a wide distribution along the Pacific coast of North America, from Baja California to British Columbia, and throughout most of the Great Basin. Juveniles have a conspicuous blue tail.


Wayne's Trivia Note #110 (6 December 2013)

Yesterday I was surprized to find a juvenile leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) at my home in San Marcos, apparently an escapee that has been spotted in my neighborhood for the past year. It is native to savannas of eastern and southern Africa. According to Wikipedia, typical adults are 18 inches long and weigh 40 pounds, although some can get much larger and can live 80-100 years. The enviroment at my home is not suitable for this beautiful tortoise so I am donating it to the San Diego Turtle & Tortoise Society.


Wayne's Trivia Note #111 (16 December 2013)

Anthill Art: Here is an amazing use for the nest of the imported fire ant. Please watch the following video: Anthill Art


Wayne's Trivia Note #112 (15 January 2014)

Greetings to all my friends on Facebook. I just returned from 2 weeks in Maui. In addition to photographing rainbows, sunsets and various creatures, my primary academic focus was a Polynesian sea bean (Mucuna gigantea) and Hawaiian ants. My images are in 10 parts at the following link: Maui 2013-2014 Images


Wayne's Trivia Note #113 (24 January 2014)

Alan de Queiroz's new book "The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life" discusses the importance of ocean currents in the dispersal of plants and animals. He makes a convincing argument that the slow process of continental drift may not be the primary force behind the distribution of organisms. My image at following link shows a good example of 3 striking Hawaiian plants. DNA studies show they are closely related to a California native wildflower called a tarweed that rafted to Hawaii 5-6 million years ago!. See Trivia Notes #113   See Wayne's Word Evolution Page


Wayne's Trivia Note #114 (10 February 2014)

Greetings from the saltbush scrub north of the Salton Sea. An interesting area that is beautiful in its own way. I am on another ant expedition, but no flowers and no ant activity due to the drought. Here are 2 links from last year:  Salton Sea 2013 (1)   Salton Sea 2013 (2)


Wayne's Trivia Note #115 (11 February 2014)

The worst enemy of ants is other ants! A sample of ant body parts collected near a Pheidole vistana nest on Owens Peak. There was apparently a battle with nearby field ants (Formica moki). Some Pheidole lost their heads, but based on the ratio of body parts, presumably the Pheidole colony was victorious. Undoubtedly, the big-headed soldiers played a valuable role in this victory! Ants & The Art Of War


Wayne's Trivia Note #116 (25 February 2014)

On a busy walkway at Palomar College, I recently saw what appeared to be the unsightly evidence of someone quite nauseated. Much to the chagrin of passersby, I got down on my knees and examined the blob more closely. It turned out to be a fungal life form called "vomit slime mold" (Fuligo septica) that actually "crawled" out of the flower bed and onto the concrete sidewalk! It came from spores originally introduced in the nearby layer of mulch. Slime Molds


Wayne's Trivia Note #117 (4 March 2014)

Last night's sunset from Owens Peak in San Marcos looking west toward the ocean. When the sea of urban sprawl is not visible, I feel like I am somewhere else!


Wayne's Trivia Note #118 (9 March 2014)

If you happen to be at Stockholm University, Sweden during March & April (2014), I have an image in the plant fiber exhibit at Bergius Botanic Garden.


Wayne's Trivia Note #119 (10 March 2014)

Although some Internet sites deny this phenomenon in this species, I swear this mushroom near my home in San Marcos glows in the dark (bioluminescence). And I wasn't eating any small brown mushrooms!


Wayne's Trivia Note #120 (14 March 2014)

This image resembling a fireworks display is actually a species of Osteospermum at Huntington Botanical Garden. It belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae), the undisputed largest plant family rivaled in size only by the orchid & legume families. In fact, one-fouth of all the flowering plants on earth belong to these three families. See Sunflower Family On Wayne's Word


Wayne's Trivia Note #121 (15 March 2014)

Many years ago on a Palomar College field trip to Grand Cayman, I became fascinated with a board game called "Island Wari," a variation of the ancient African game Mancala. It was played with large gray seeds from a native Caribbean shrub called gray nickernut (Caesalpinia bonduc). There are also clever computerized versions of Mancala. I recently found a YouTube video showing how to beat the computer in a challenging on-line Flash version: YouTube Video. See Mancala Page On Wayne's Word: Mancala.


Wayne's Trivia Note #122 (22 March 2014)

I just visited "The Largest Blossoming Plant," one of the Guinness Book Of World Records "Seven Horticultural Wonders Of The World" at a private residence in the quaint city of Sierra Madre, CA. This is a giant wisteria vine weighing 250 tons and covering one acre. It is impressive, but not as massive as an aspen clone in Utah covering 100 acres! See Largest Flowering Plant.


Wayne's Trivia Note #123 (26 March 2014)

Three Wildflowers From March 2014: There are other places I would rather live, but I must admit that southern California has some lovely wildflowers! See Wayne's Wildflower Index.


Wayne's Trivia Note #124 (1 April 2014)

This is not an April Fools' Day joke. I actually found the spore-bearing structure (sporocarp) of this fungus (Pisolithus tinctorius) near my home in San Marcos. It does resemble a dead man's foot and almost fits my size 11 shoe. See Dead Man's Foot Fungus.


Wayne's Trivia Note #125 (4 April 2014)

Just finished my colonoscopy & endoscopy. I hope they didn't use the same scope! I was giving a short lecture on ant terminology until someone turned on the propofol. Now I know why Michael Jackson liked this drug so much.

Two types of polyps (adenomas): Tubular & Tubulovillous. Microscopic, stained sections reveal a distinctively different anatomical structure. Tubulovillous adenomas (TVAs) are considered to have a higher risk of malignant transformation than tubular adenomas. They typically require a repeat colonoscopy in 2 years rather than 5 years. Image from Wikimedia.


Wayne's Trivia Note #126 (6 April 2014)

This image of a bizarre fungus was sent to me from Stephanie Mifflin in Japan. It is called false morel or brain fungus (Gyromitra esculenta) and it is a dangerously poisonous. Even the vapors inhaled from a boiling pot of this fungus are poisonous. The active toxic compound is gyromitrin which is metabolized (hydrolyzed) in the body to methylhydrazine, a component of some rocket fuels! In fact, the Apollo Lunar Modules used a hydrazine mixture for landing and takeoff.


Wayne's Trivia Note #127 (10 April 2014)

The perfect gift for outdoor people in tick country. According to label, it is the easiest-to-use tick removal device on this planet! I must confess that I have always used tweezers, but this device sounds pretty good. See Video: www.tickkeycompany.com/


Wayne's Trivia Note #128 (10 April 2014)

My 1st rattlesnake encounter in 2014 (10 April): A beautiful, large, slightly agitated red diamondback (Crotalus ruber). See Crotalus viridis at my home: Crotalus viridis


Note: I will no longer upload all of my image files under Facebook's current policy: By posting your pictures and videos, you grant Facebook "a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to to use any (IP) content that you post on or in connection with Facebook." In other words, Facebook can use your images any way they want for free and without your permission. They can give them away or sell them to other persons or websites! As a published author and photographer this policy is not acceptable.