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  • Beautiful Spring-time Butterflies! | BEYONDbones
    others One of the most distinct characteristics of the Gulf Fritillary is the spectacular silvery almost mirror looking spots on the underside of the wings The males and females look very similar but the black stripes on upper side of the female s wings are thicker and more pronounced Although this butterfly is not here in the Butterfly Center very often take advantage of its beauty outdoors right here in Houston The goldrim butterfly Battus polydamas is a member of the swallowtail family Papilionidae but it does not have the typical tails that many of these butterflies have The name gold rim comes from the golden yellow crescent shaped markings on the upper edges of both the fore and hind wing Caterpillars of this species are gregarious living together in the early stages but become solitary when older The caterpillars are a dark reddish gray color with paired fleshy tubercles along the back of the body I am very fond of these cute caterpillars and was fortunate enough to take this adorable picture in our butterfly garden right outside of the museum Adults are mainly associated with disturbed areas of the forest and can be seen visiting gardens throughout the city They are nectar feeders and especially like Lantana Like many swallowtails this butterfly flutters constantly while feeding instead of stopping to rest This butterfly is fairly common in Florida and South Texas and will at times stray to Kentucky and Missouri photo credit tlindenbaum Once spring time hits I seem to see this next butterfly all the time As a native of heavily populated areas such as parks yards gardens and road edges the cloudless sulphur Phoebis sennae can be seen almost anywhere along the gulf coastal states It is characterized by its pure bright yellow to greenish yellow wings The males use strong rapid flight to search for a receptive female The eggs are laid singly on leaves of Cassia which the caterpillars happily consume and hide underneath to rest The pupae are oddly shaped compressed from side to side with a greatly distended chest and belly They use a silken girdle to attach themselves to the leaf during pupation These butterflies are harmless to plant life and are a welcome visitor to any garden One of the largest butterflies that I see around town is the Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes This fantastic butterfly is native to large portions of North Central and South America It very common in Houston and can be seen gracefully fluttering and sipping the sweet nectar of flowers such as Lantana Azalea and Honeysuckle Characterized by the striking diagonal yellow band across its forewing and its long yellow filled tails this butterfly is a joy to see in one s garden The larvae feed strictly on citrus plants and are commonly called orange dogs As a defense they cleverly disguise themselves as bird droppings as they sit motionless during the day and feed at night As with other swallowtails these caterpillars posses a

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/beautiful-spring-time-butterflies/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Our baby beardies have new homes! | BEYONDbones
    everyone who entered the drawing in hopes of winning one of the HMNS baby beardies It was exciting to see how many reptile lovers there are between HMNS staff members volunteers and patrons I wish we had a clutch of babies large enough to provide a baby for each of those entering the contest Though we are truly sad to see them leave the Volunteer Office we are very thankful to know our eight babies have each found a nice home and nurturing parents to take care of them Congratulations to the winners of the first generation of HMNS baby beardies Kenneth Collins Gladys Arakelian Jeremy Gray Rhian Farley Jeanene Goza Nadine Mc Clary Bob Hopkins Dee Sorrick Thank you so much for your support towards the HMNS Capital Campaign 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science and tagged adopting animals bearded dragons clutch eggs hatching HMNS lizard eggs lizards pet lizards by Steven Bookmark the permalink About Steven Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations and on top of that working for one of the top museums in the country After all he majored in History at Vassar College Within

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/announcing-the-winners-of-the-baby-beardies/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Museum closed March 7: It’s Gala Time | BEYONDbones
    held that night our annual Gala This event helps fund the museum so that everyone can enjoy our exhibits lectures and science classes for the other 364 days a year This year s gala is called The Wrecking Ball because in addition to funding our standard educational programs and operations proceeds will also go to support the Museum s Capital Campaign HMNS 100 Building For A Second Century of Science The funds raised will enable to museum to expand our education and exhibition spaces to accommodate both our swelling numbers of visitors and the community s escalating interest in thought provoking exhibitions and informative educational programs If you would like to hlp support the future of science education please consider a donation to the museum for more information or to donate online simply click here 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science and tagged dr bakker Ernesto Moreira Gala HMNS Wrecking Ball by Steven Bookmark the permalink About Steven Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations and on top of that working for one of the top museums in the country After all he majored in History at Vassar College Within

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/museum-closed-march-7/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 100 Years – 100 Objects: Giant Armadillo | BEYONDbones
    would have been nearly 6 feet long and weighed nearly 500 pounds Like its modern cousin this ancient animal was an immigrant to North America from the south slowly migrating northward and subsisting of a diet of mostly plants and perhaps insects The giant armadillo roamed and rooted along the Gulf Coast and as far north as southern Oklahoma but disappeared about 10 000 years ago The Museum s Giant Armadillo is a Houston fossil discovered in 1955 by Florence Dawdy a teacher with her school age son and a friend near the old Scott Street Bridge on Brays Bayou Her family s curiosity and concern about the fossil brought the find to the attention of the geology department at the University of Houston This decision saved the fossil from further erosion or looting UH students and volunteers excavated the fossil and provided the initial curation It was described as part of a Masters Thesis at UH and then later published by Gideon James in the Journal of Paleontology Vol 31 No 4 pp796 808 July 1957 An Edentate from the Pleistocene of Texas For over 30 years the Museum s Giant Armadillo was the best example of Holmesina septentrionalis known to science and it is still one of the most complete The Giant Armadillo was given to the Museum by the University of Houston and was mounted by proceeds raised from the Museum s 1991 armadillo themed Guild Gala The specimen was mounted in two dimensions as a plaque so visitors would experience the fossil as it was originally found Wander among prehistoric beasts in the Paleontology Hall a permanent exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science You can see larger and more detailed images of this rare specimen as well as the others we ve posted so

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/100-years-100-objects-giant-armadillo/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Go Stargazing! March Edition | BEYONDbones
    planet rises at sundown and sets at sunup it is visible literally all night long Saturn is nowhere near as bright as Venus but it is in a relatively dim star field and therefore is just as easy to see Face east at dusk south at midnight or west at dawn to see it Mars and Jupiter emerge from the Sun s glare this month Jupiter in the southeast at dawn is the brightest thing in that part of the sky unless the Moon is nearby as it is on March 22 23 and 24 Mars moves faster than Jupiter and therefore seems to keep pace with the Sun s apparent motion As a result Mars remains close to the horizon at dawn much of the spring and takes longer to fully emerge into the morning sky photo credit makelessnoise Dazzling Orion is due south at dusk His belt points up to Aldebaran the eye of Taurus the Bull The Dog Stars Sirius and Procyon are below Orion in the east Sirius is the brightest star we ever see at night Look for a fairly bright star just to the right of Sirius and then drop your gaze straight down to the horizon The bright star just above the horizon possibly shining through trees is Canopus the second brightest star we see at night This star is so far south that it never rises for people north of 37 degrees north latitude Houston is at just under 30 degrees north To Orion s upper left are two stars of similar brightness less than five degrees apart These are Castor and Pollux marking the heads of Gemini the Twins Look in the east at dusk for stars in the shape of a backwards question mark with a right triangle below that

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/go-stargazing-march-edition/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Constructing the Genghis Khan Exhibit | BEYONDbones
    translation Here is some of what they shared with me about a few of the artifacts in the exhibit Near the beginning of the exhibit there s a replica of a Mongolian ger or yurt In it are a variety of household items and common possessions I saw a woven basket and a hand made rake which didn t really register with me However I soon learned that these are handy items used to gather and carry dried animal dung which is used for fuel And for what it s worth because there s not an example of this in the exhibit wet manure is used for building shelters for the animals Also in the ger is a wooden object that resembles an old fashioned butter churn Its actual function is more of a mortar and pestle to smash tea leaves One of the young Mongolian women fondly remembered that her grandmother had one In the center along the ger s wall for lack of a better word are two painted boxes These would have been used to store valuables a nomadic version of a safe On the floor of the ger is a board game made from animal bones which look like vertebrae although I didn t get the opportunity to look closely This game is played by both adults and children but mostly children and it can also be used to predict fortunes One of my favorite objects in the exhibit is glass encased box with a miniature nature scene The Mongolians had a hard time coming up with translatable words for it and finally decided on family treasure We would probably call it a family heirloom This box contains a tall figurine of a rotund elderly man with a long white beard and he is called The

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/constructing-the-genghis-khan-exhibit/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 100 Years – 100 Objects: Bailer Shell | BEYONDbones
    curator of malacology She has chosen a selection of objects that represent the most fascinating shells and animals in the Museum s collections that we ll be sharing here and on hmns org throughout the year This very large species of the Volutidae Family can reach lengths in excess of 500 mm and is found along the northern coast of the Australian continent There are also documented populations along the southern coast of New Guinea These shells were used by native peoples to bail the water from their dugout canoes as they traveled and are therefore commonly referred to as Bailer Shells The animals that construct and live in these large shells are a source of food for local peoples and can weigh from three to five pounds without their shells They inhabit shallow areas in the littoral zone down to ten meters in depth The females lay eggs in clusters with each newborn hatchling fully formed and ready to begin life These babies are between 18 to 25 mm at hatching and begin the hunt for food almost immediately Since they are predators in their environments Melo amphora will even prey on their own species M amphora can produce pearls in much the same way that South Sea pearls and cultured pearls are produced They are extremely rare and tales of fabulous sets of them have been written about However very few have been documented and few are in public collections such as Museums Learn more Dive into the Malacology Hall a permanent exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science You can see larger and more detailed images of this rare specimen as well as the others we ve posted so far this year in the photo gallery on hmns org 0 0 0 This entry was posted

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/100-years-100-objects-bailer-shell/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Making Bearded Dragons, Part II: Up for Adoption | BEYONDbones
    had created So incredibly satisfied with the birth of this baby beardie little were we expecting the revelation that took place through out the rest of the week Like clockwork each new life chose his or her day to enter this world The second hatchling chose Wednesday Feisty inquisitive and full of energy we decided this one was a boy The third chose Thursday and two chose to hatch on Friday We were elated by the end of the week five babies had entered our world At the arrival of the first baby I contacted Kathy and Leo This incredible team a mother and her son who have been sharing their passion of the animal world through their volunteer commitment at HMNS for years now It was their incubator they shared with me along with the guidance and knowledge from their own personal experience in breeding and raising not only bearded dragons but a multitude of critters My first concern was how long these babies could exist without eating What else could I offer them since days after introducing mini crickets the babies were still not eating I learned that surprisingly newborns can exist for days while still absorbing the yolk for nutrition from which they developed It was truly astonishing to see how active these little guys were in their first days of life without even consuming their first real meat and potato meal on earth Kathy and Leo supplied me with a tiny pot of gold consisting of a live assortment of tiny beetles and mini worms that were the most active I ve ever seen Now I know from my own experience that crickets even the tiniest of all are too fast for newborn beardies or possibly it could be those wiggly cricket antennas are just plain frightening I think it could just be something about the wiggle of a worm that attracts baby beardies That first meal for our first babies was consumed Saturday that time was truly monumental They had chosen to live after all The hatchlings seemed to adapt well to their new habitat a 10 gallon aquarium layered with calcium enriched reptile sand featuring a prominent rock that dwarfed the little critters as its scale appeared mountainous to their newborn size We soon found this little mountain would become the corner stone of life for the new beardie clan Friday afternoon the incubator the new beardie habitat and the mighty miracle mister headed back home with me for the weekend Positioned in the same spot on my kitchen counter the once quiet incubator seemed to have come to life in the past days Though it still sat so quietly in the same spot it seemed to have taken on a whole new song As it had become so at work the incubator and the remaining eggs were all that seemed to exist in our minds By Monday morning February 9 the new beardie clan was welcomed back at the Museum as a family

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/03/makign-bearded-dragons-part-ii-up-for-adoption/ (2016-02-12)
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