Wayne's Trivia Notes #7
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Wayne's Trivia Note #233 (14 February 2015)

Honeypot ants (Myrmecocystus) and a solpugid in a fight to the finish. I found them in this position in southern Arizona. This battle was not staged!


Wayne's Trivia Note #234 (15 February 2015)

I haven't seen my dear friend "Phyllis the Pheasant" lately, I hope she hasn't met with "Fowl" play! By the way, my 234 Facebook Trivia Notes can be accessed at the following URL: Facebook Index"


Wayne's Trivia Note #235 (25 February 2015)

I rephotographed Elaine's bullet ant from Costa Rica. This is a really big ant with a very painful sting!


Wayne's Trivia Note #236 (28 February 2015)

This native shrub is blooming all over Owens Peak & the hummingbirds are very happy!


Wayne's Trivia Note #237 (2 March 2015)

It is important to keep an open mind in biology. Although this plant was considered an introduced, naturalized weed many years ago, it is now listed as a native (indigenous) wildflower endemic to California!


Wayne's Trivia Note #238 (4 March 2015)

This ant species has no queen. Its life cycle includes a foraging phase and a reproductive phase where it lays unfertilized diploid eggs that typically develop into more females. I don't think sex has disappeared in this species, at least not yet! On a more positive note, the rare occurrence of haploid males indicates that it has not lost the potential for sex. Reference in Molecular Ecology: Get This Article On-Line


Wayne's Trivia Note #239 (10 March 2015)

My dear Diane & Jim gave me this challenging puzzle to keep my mind active during my retirement from Palomar College. Click on above hippo pieces to see completed puzzle.


Wayne's Trivia Note #240 (11 March 2015)

Regarding the privacy of email messages...


Wayne's Trivia Note #241 (12 March 2015)

Its crane fly season again. These long-legged flies emerge from moist, grassy soils & lawns and enter your house. Contrary to a local news station, they are not mosquito hawks. In fact, they do not prey on anything. During their short life as adults, they simply fly around looking for a mate, hopefully without breaking their fragile legs! More About Crane Flies


Wayne's Trivia Note #242 (13 March 2015)

My 1st rattlesnake encounter of 2015 on Owens Peak. This year it is a large, dark-colored Southern Pacific Rattlesnake under a shrub along the trail. See Last April's Red Diamond-Back Rattlesnake


Wayne's Trivia Note #243 (17 March 2015)

With warm, dry weather, the Borrego Valley wildflowers are fading rapidly. Hungry caterpillars of the white-lined sphinx moth are devouring the dune primrose. See White-Lined Sphinx Moth


Wayne's Trivia Note #244 (21 March 2015)

My 2nd rattlesnake encounter on Owens Peak in a week. Probably not a good idea to walk off trails & cut through the brush!


Wayne's Trivia Note #245 (23 March 2015)

From the Bakersfied Area Skeptic Society: A honeypot ant "replete" engorged with nectar. Like a living larder, It remains deep in the nest and supplies other workers with liquid food during times of drought. Running fast is no longer an option for this ant! This tasty, sweet morsel is highly prized by aborigines in several countries where honeypot ants live.


Wayne's Trivia Note #246 (24 March 2015)

Although only observed in southern Calif. since early 2000, the South African brown widow has finally made its way to my patio cover in Twin Oaks Valley, San Marcos. The unmistakable egg sac is covered with pointed protuberances, unlike the smooth sac of our native black widow.


Wayne's Trivia Note #247 (26 March 2015)

I finally made it to the Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain in South Pasadena. It has been on this site since 1915. Although I grew up in the nearby city of Arcadia, I never visited this historic landmark!


Wayne's Trivia Note #248 (27 March 2015)

A trip down memory lane: This is the little house in Arcadia where I grew up & played with ants during the 2nd millennium. It was built by my father, a U.S. Navy Seabee during the 2nd World War. My 1st Affair With Ants


Wayne's Trivia Note #249 (28 March 2015)

An amazing "ant plant" at my recent visit to Huntington Botanical Garden. The plant has tunnels & chambers in its enlarged base: Living quarters for symbiotic ants which in turn provide the plant with nutrients & protection!


Wayne's Trivia Note #250 (30 March 2015)

My father, a Navy Seabee, built a 2-story quonset hut cabin on this 4 acre parcel in the 1950s. It was later destroyed by fire and it took almost 50 years for the pinyon woodland to fully recover. I finally found this old black & white print of our cabin before it was painted!


Wayne's Trivia Note #251 (31 March 2015)

Depending on the load, it takes 5 large 100 ton engines to pull a train with 100 cars up this 2.2 percent Cajon Pass grade. The train is over a mile long and weighs thousands of tons! This area is along the San Andreas Fault. One track has a section with a 3 percent grade which is the limit for long freight trains.


Wayne's Trivia Note #252 (1 April 2015)

While standing on this grassy overlook photographing freight trains, I noticed a reptilian railfan at my feet also enjoying the view. See The Size Of This Snake!


Wayne's Trivia Note #253 (2 April 2015)

The famous Tehachapi Loop maintains a gradual 2 percent grade so that mile-long freight trains can climb the steep grade from Bakersfield to Tehachapi. The engines actually pass under boxcars in this image. A white cross atop the hill in the center of the loop commemorates two Southern Pacific Railroad employees killed on May 12, 1989, in a runaway train derailment in San Bernardino.


Wayne's Trivia Note #254 (3 April 2015)

The windmill-covered ridge overlooking Tehachapi at dusk (2 April 2015). I must confess that I repositioned the full moon slightly!


Wayne's Trivia Note #255 (6 April 2015)

My longest Tehachapi train, I lost count after 100 cars. It had 10 large engines, 8 in front and 2 at the rear. With a conservative estimate of 5,000 horsepower per engine (large engines may have 6,000 hp), this train generates at least 50,000 hp. With engines that weigh over 100 tons each and freight cars with load capacities of over 100 tons, this train has a potential total weight of over 11,000 tons. I doubt if 50,000 horses could pull this load up theTehachapi grade!


Wayne's Trivia Note #256 (7 April 2015)

Seychelles Island Palm (Lodoicea maldivica): Largest and most provocative seed on earth. Photographed at Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino (7 April 2015). Wayne's Word Botanical Record-Breakers


Wayne's Trivia Note #257 (12 April 2015)

Instructions for a suicidal insect: How to close a Venus' flytrap leaf on your body. Touch one of the 3 trigger hairs twice or touch any 2 hairs in succession. See Wayne's Word Carnivorous Plants


Wayne's Trivia Note #258 (16 April 2015)

I take road trips to find & photograph interesting creatures (and trains). After driving 900 miles on my latest trip, I found this handsome fellow on nearby Owens Peak.


Wayne's Trivia Note #259 (17 April 2015)

Another serpent encounter today (17 April 2015) on Owens Peak. Thankfully, I am not a small rodent! This handsome reptile is a California whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis).


Wayne's Trivia Note #260 (24 April 2015)

Living within the corrugations of a cardboard packing box is rather crowed quarters; however, moving your entire colony to another country undetected is pretty easy!


Wayne's Trivia Note #261 (30 April 2015)

Greetings from Joshua Tree National Park. I am searching for one of my favorite ants--the elusive Myrmecocystus mexicanus . I have switched from plants to ants in my old age.


Wayne's Trivia Note #262 (27 April 2015)

As I ponder how to conserve water in my backyard and which plants must go, I can't help thinking about the uncontrolled population growth of coastal southern California. I know this is a complex and controversial subject, but maybe with a moratorium on high density housing developments our reservoirs could sustain us during this severe drought cycle--just as thought.


Wayne's Trivia Note #263 (1 May 2015)

After searching the Salton Sea view area of Joshua Tree National Park, I finally found Myrmecocystus mexicanus, a sweet-loving honeypot ant. Here they are enjoying a Werther's butterscotch candy which they match in color! These are large, nocturnal ants with big eyes.


Wayne's Trivia Note #264 (7 May 2015)

Silene verecunda in the San Jacinto Mountains. The flowers are suffering from a full-blown case of anther smut (Ustilago violacea). This debilitating, sexually transmitted disease is spread by promiscuous insects. See Plant Sexuality & Political Correctness


Wayne's Trivia Note #265 (7 May 2015)

The smallest ant I have ever seen is still the "Little Yellow Ant" on Maui. In fact, I didn't even know it was in my ant sample until I examined them under a microscope! See Names Of 6 Species A - F


Wayne's Trivia Note #266 (15 May 2015)

Did you know that huge dispatching centers in Omaha, Neb. & Fort Worth, Tex. control movements of Union Pacific & BNSF freight trains in our western states? This includes sharing of tracks & spacing of trains through tunnels and over Tehachapi Pass.


Wayne's Trivia Note #267 (16 May 2015)

My big-headed ant friends on Owens Peak weren't prepared for yesterday's deluge. Here they are frantically moving their larvae & pupae to higher ground. These immatures are the vital link to the next generation. I created a sturdy rock shelter for them. See Queen & Eggs In Ant Farm


Wayne's Trivia Note #268 (18 May 2015)

Proponents of intelligent design have scoffed at how this amazing adaptation could have evolved by natural selection. The remarkable pathway is well documented. See MIT News


Wayne's Trivia Note #269 (18 May 2015)

Another reptile encounter today on Owens Peak. For a hill in an urbanized area, this peak has a lot of wildlife and should be preserved.


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