01 April 2011

Circus of the Spineless #61: Legs!

Welcome to the 61st edition of the monthly celebration of the little (and occasionally not so little) animals that run the world!

When hosting a blog carnival, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to organize the posts.  Last time I hosted the Circus, over at the Marmorkrebs blog, I sorted by presence or absence of exoskeleton – that is, into crunchies and squishies.

This time, the circus is larger, and I needed something with a little more resolution. Something a little more complex than a simple binary division. So...



No legs


Reporting from the lower mainland, Wanderin’ Weeta has some sea squirts in her camera lens lens.

Meanwhile, out on my old stamping grounds of Vancouver Island, Island Nature has some meadow slugs for you.

Okay, I’m homesick now.

One leg... okay, a stalk


This fun post at Uncharted Atolls features two kinds of echinoderms, including crinoids. Which are not to be confused with Krynoids.


Cool invertebrate. Deadly galactic weed. Know the difference!

Six legs


Six legs means hexapod, which means insects, which means a lot of beetles!

The Pashford Pot Beetle? Lovely! Also in serious trouble, according to Dave Hubble’s Ecology Spot. Dave also examined how beetles in Britain are responding to climate change.

Beth Jones, stepping in at the SciAm Guest Blog looks at whether the Asian long-horned beetle can be contained.

There are some lovely little butterfly at Wild Sri Lanka and Trees, Plants and More.

Bees in Art has an artistic representation of wood boring wasp.

Six legs and a pair of nasty-ass raptorial appendages


Real Monstrosities describes some stompatopods thus:

Superheroes usually arrive in ridiculous costumes resplendent in triumphant, “look-at-me, look-at-me, I-really-want-you-to-look-at-me” colours. Many Mantis Shrimps do the same, while others are best described as “brown”. I wonder if they’re the bad guys?

Honestly, the things you learn doing a carnival. I had no idea that stomatopods’ raptorial appendages were modified mouthparts. Embarrassing for a crustacean biologist to admit.

Eight legs


Don’t look, Mom! (My mom hates spiders.)

Hey! That's not a beetle! Well, you can see how a blog title like Beetles in the Bush might give a person the wrong impression when you suddenly come across a jumping spider.

Here on NeuroDojo, I started off the month examining whether very small spiders with very small brains could make very complicated webs.

Okay, Mom. You can look now.

Despite the title of this post – “Entomology of Star Wars. Episode III: Bears in Space” – tardigrades are not insects: wrong number of legs.

If you think it would be tough to keep track of eight legs, it can be: it’s very hard for octopuses to learn how to coordinate their legs and their eyes. Oh, this is one of my own posts here at NeuroDojo.

And yes, horseshoe crabs have eight legs– it’s just hard to tell in these pictures from Rebecca in the Woods.

Nine legs


Don’t be silly. That would violate the law of bilateral symmetry.

Ten legs


While true crabs have ten legs, I focus on just the big, sexy claw of fiddler crabs in this NeuroDojo post, and ask if the boys’ll wave them at any female. Even the wrong species.

Several decapods get caught in fishing nets at Trees, Plants and more. Yup, this would be one of those “More” posts in the blog title.


Many legs


I put this section in to prove that myriapod bloggers are slackers. Thirteen thousand species, and you can’t even give me one post, guys? Sheesh.

The next edition of Circus of the Spineless will be hosted by Squid a Day. The circus is looking for the next stop on its tour after that, so if you would like a chance to be a part of this show, email ringmaster Kevin Zelnio.

4 comments:

beetlesinthebush said...

Love the organization!

rebeccainthewoods said...

Great way of organizing, and the Doctor Who reference also got a chuckle out of me - that's one of only a few "classic" Doctor Who stories I've seen, and I remember that at one point the Doctor almost got composted to death.

Kevin Zelnio said...

Thanks for hosting Zen! Sorry I missed it on opening day, teaching has got my brain up a wall somewhere.

davesbrain said...

Thanks for hosting and adding my scribblings!