Feelys Creature Feature

i wanted to make my own dedicated thread and just realized it'd be easy to make one about critters i see and tell fun facts about them, so welcome to my creature thread.
first creature is!!

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this weird guy!!
Now the most prominent organism in this photo is the pill bug (Armidillidium vulgare) but you may be wondering why he ourple.
the answer is that he has a virus.
invertebrate iridescent virus 31, or isopod iridovirus, is a virus that affects isopods (suborder Oniscidea). there is also an invertebrate iridescent virus 6 that affects mosquitos but it doesnt have any visual affect.
isopod iridovirus makes the isopod blue/purple because of the way light bounces off the actual virus particles in the tissue of the isopod!
its basically a virus that does this [Image: What_if_it_was_Purple__0-15_screenshot.jpg]
and then makes isopods die
fucked up and cool!
Pikmin - Oatchi 


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this is tripod! She's a very well known coyote in 29 palms and joshua tree park. No one really knows how she lost her leg, but I've seen quite a few think it must've been amputated cause of how clean it looks. She's able to hunt well by herself, and though she's never been spotted with other coyotes it's likely she's still part of a pack.
unfortunately her popularity is also causing a problem, as she has taken to coming up to cars to beg for food. This is what she was doing when we spotted her on our way to one of our research sites. While she hasn't attacked anyone yet, feeding wild animals can cause them to become habituated and attack people for food, and then the park services has to capture and euthanize them, which sucks for everyone involved. so remember to appreciate wild life from a distance, never feed them, and clean up any food you take out to a park!

have you ever heard that red m&ms and other red foods are dyed with a bug? Or that lip sticks are dyed using bugs?

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fun fact: that bug is native to my area! Cochineal (genus Dactylopius) is a group scale bugs thats native to the american southwest, mexico, and south america. They cling onto prickly pear cacti (genus Opuntia) and have piercing/sucking mouth parts that they use to drink the fluids inside the cactus. As nymphs, they excrete a white waxy substance that helps protect them from the sun and evaporation. After finding a cactus to feed on, they pretty much just stay in the same spot except if alarmed or to spread out for mating purposes. In order to spread to other cacti, they move to the edge of the cactus pad and let the wind pick them up with the waxy filament they make and then hope to land on another cactus.
These guys have been used for dye by indigenous peoples to dye fabric and later became a popular export in the 16th century. The dye comes from carminic acid, which the cochineal bug evolved to deter predation from other insects. The carminic acid can be extracted and then mixed with aluminum or calcium salts, creating carmine dye, also listed as natural red 4 or E120 on ingredients lists.
I jumped out of my car in an in n out dive through to get pictures of the population i found. whats neat is that different species of cochineal have preferred host species. the in n out had 2 different prickly pear species in the same patch, and yet only one of those species was covered in cochineal!

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