Sailing The Arachnosphere
June 14, 2024 5:46 AM   Subscribe

the only aeolian zone beings i’d really known were monarchs, until now. thanks for this! []
posted by HearHere at 6:30 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]

Favorite new insect name (band name? sockpuppet name?):
Dispirited Tiger Beetle (Cicindela depressula depressula)
posted by MtDewd at 7:00 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

Amazing to think of the Common Swift (of Afro-Eurasia) and the Black Swift (of the Americas) as macropredators of the Aeolian Sea, landing only during breeding and feeding entirely on the wing {Now I have the term for it! Aeolian}.
posted by rubatan at 9:08 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

Amazing articles, and amazing how life-encrusted out planet is!

When I lived near the bottom of NZ our field would often have a layer (about 5metres up) of single spider threads across it - each many metres long, I don't know the species but each spider seems to use it as a sail, ballooning as the Bugs on Ice articles says - far to faint to photograph, but tens of thousands of them.

A ubiqutous sight at least in southern inland NZ is spiders using fences to catch whatever is in the wind, this fence was like this for kilometres.
posted by unearthed at 12:24 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

This is a very cool article, thank you, however it makes a common mistake at the beginning, saying that air is invisible. It's not. It's blue and almost, but not quite, entirely transparent. That's why the sky is blue and why distant mountains appear as through a blue haze, because of all the air in between.
Cool article, though.
posted by signal at 8:16 PM on June 14

Terrific read, thanks lucidium!
posted by rory at 12:57 AM on June 15

Unearthed, I used to bike to work in Central California, and after the fields were plowed, and in the early morning, the sun would illuminate a silvery sheen of spider silk over the soil that went on for miles. It made me realize how much was in the world that we normally never notice.
posted by acrasis at 7:03 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]

Here in London I haven't seen any swifts yet this year. Last year I saw quite a few overhead, but this year, none.

I went to visit a friend in Oslo over a weekend in June, and there were swifts there-- indeed, much more bird and insect life than I've seen in UK cities. Fieldfares everywhere, blackcaps, oystercatchers at the shoreline-- I saw them hovering over the water, looking for food. Magpies and hooded crows being fought off by the fieldfares, who nest together and who fly to the defence at the sound of an alarm call. And swifts, cutting through the air in the way they do, shrieking their high cries.

But here, many UK birds are in decline, especially insectivores. Over last winter I installed swift bricks on my eaves, and I hoped for some swifts this spring, but it seems there were no takers.

The cold wet spring hasn't been good for them, it seems. Neither has the years-long decline in Britain's insect population. I hope we'll see both birds and bugs bounce back in future years.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:03 AM on June 15

Gee, I'm glad 4:20 has almost got here. I wanna take off for this aeolian zone. Sounds more interesting than the O-zone.
posted by Goofyy at 1:13 PM on June 15

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