Doing My Bit for Science

You never know where your pictures will end up!  So far people have been pretty good about asking for permission (as far as I know).

About four years ago I was experimenting with macro photography, taking pictures of odd bugs I found in our back yard in Namibia, when I came across this odd black-and-yellow bug that appeared to be feeding on one of the huge millipedes that appear there (locally called “shongololo” which is way cooler than “millipede”) certain times of the year.  I thought it was interesting because it seemed to be carrying a smaller bug on its back.

Image 20111030221258

I uploaded it to Flickr and thought little else of it.  Maybe I put it in a blog post, no idea.

As it turns out, however, this bug is an “assassin bug” – one of about 7,000 species.  All of which are of intense interest at the University of California, Riverside, where Dr. Christiane Weirauch and her fellow entomologists study these bugs to learn everything there is to know about them.  And despite my not knowing (and not tagging)  the name of this bug on Flickr they managed to track it down.

So in the interest of science, I gave permission (the journal insisted on a signed release) so this photo could be a part of a paper called, “Evolution of the assassin’s arms: insights from a phylogeny of combined transcriptomic and ribosomal DNA data (Heteroptera: Reduvioidea)”, in a journal called Scientific Reports.  It was published yesterday and I don’t understand a word of it but I’m glad I was able to do my bit for science.


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