December 22, 2009 |
The world's largest collection of grasshoppers and crickets boasts drawer after drawer of winged rarities in vivid colors and drab, exotic specimens, as small as a thumbnail and larger than a candy bar. But perhaps none is so rare as the lanky, soft-spoken fellow whose job it is to study them. From his small office at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, Daniel Otte has quietly built a reputation as one of the foremost experts - some would say the foremost - in his field.
July 5, 2009 |
Visiting Italy proved to be a strange and amazing adventure, thanks to our three-night stay at a 700-year-old castle in the hills of Tuscany. After dropping off extra luggage at the St. Regis Hotel in Rome, my husband and I rented a car and headed north with another couple. We had been advised not to drive in Italy, but we thought it would be convenient. One of our traveling companions was from England, so we felt perfectly safe with a driver accustomed to being on the "wrong" side of road.
January 23, 2009 |
Whatever is killing the bats of New England appears to have arrived in Pennsylvania. And New Jersey officials are checking out reports that it might be there, too. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed that bats had tested positive for the same fungus found in New England bats that have been dying by the tens of thousands during the last two winters. Everyone agrees that the finding could have profound effects on the bat population here. One of the many mysteries is whether the fungus causes the deaths, now referred to as "white-nose syndrome," or is a symptom.
September 29, 2008 |
Seventeen thousand trees planted, thousands more to go, Louis Cantafio tallied while handing out tools at the Franklin Parker Preserve near Chatsworth. "When you unload 25,000 trees on 14 square miles, you think, 'Oh my God, I'll never get this done,' " said Cantafio, senior land steward of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. But thanks to volunteers from groups including the New Jersey Youth Corps in Camden, and Rutgers and Kean Universities, the preserve's former cranberry bogs off Route 563 in Burlington County are getting a boost in reverting to their natural swampy state.
August 21, 2008 |
Birds do it. Isn't that enough? Must we, the sophisticated species, eat insects too? Most emphatically yes, says David Gracer, an otherwise ordinary college-level writing instructor from Providence, R.I., who was showing off his bug cuisine at the Academy of Natural Sciences last Saturday. His part-time business, Sunrise Land Shrimp, aims at getting people to eat insects. Pound for pound, Gracer says, insects contain higher percentages of protein than our more conventional food favorite, the cow. Thus an insect-based diet is a healthful, sustainable diet.
August 14, 2008 |
THEY TASTE a little like shrimp. And have the texture of crunchy chips. And if you close your eyes, you won't notice that they have legs. And antennae. And some even still have wings. Welcome to entomologist Zack Lemann's wonderful world of bug cookery, where dozens of varieties of crawly creatures aren't your average everyday pests - they're breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sounds too disgusting to be true? Think again. This New Orleans scientist is trying to make Americans realize what other cultures the world over have known for a long time: Bugs can be tasty little treats.
August 12, 2007 |
On July 20, a mosquito sample carrying the West Nile virus was found in Thornbury Township in Chester County, in a residential neighborhood not far from Cheyney University. August and September are the peak seasons for West Nile, and infected mosquitos are often found in low-lying, marshy terrain, like where the insects were found in Thornbury, said Seth Lisinski, the Chester County Health Department's West Nile Virus Program Coordinator. Lisinski cautioned that the news that the virus has been found in Chester County was not alarming.
July 29, 2007 |
When the Chester County Health Department puts its restaurant inspections online in early January, the reports might offer a fuller appreciation of dining in the county. The Dilworthtown Inn is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the county. But consider a Nov. 16, 2006 report by the Health Department's Bureau of Environmental Health Protection. In response to a complaint, an inspector found "many dead roach-like insects observed on glue boards in the basement," but none in the kitchen.
July 14, 2006 |
To celebrate the release of their third CD for children, Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck will make their Philadelphia debut Saturday as part of the Peanut Butter & Jams series at World Cafe Live. The band will perform tunes from Tall and Small, as well as selections from their two previous albums. Frezza's performances, which incorporate singing and dancing, are designed to entertain toddlers to adults. A former dancer with touring shows like West Side Story and A Chorus Line, Frezza tapped into her music-writing abilities when she and her children began attending Music Together, an early-childhood music program where Frezza says she "loved the idea and practice of bringing music to children.
March 10, 2006 |
Dennis J. Joslyn, 58, of Villanova, a professor of biology at the Camden campus of Rutgers University whose research in the field of insect genetics helped advance mosquito control efforts in New Jersey, died of heart failure March 1 at home. Professor Joslyn's work in genetics included research that analyzed the DNA of mosquitoes and the development of cancer cells. He involved his students in his research. Together they foraged through marshes to collect insects they would later crush and douse with blue ink in order to study their genetic makeup.