Friday, October 7, 2011

An ID Spree 2: The Geek-quel

(originally posted August 23, 2011)

It seemed that the first ID Spree was rather popular (and by "popular" I mean 13 people read it) so I thought I’d have a go at a sequel. And like Derek, if you have any suggestions on an ID Spree that you’d like to see or suggestions for any blog topic, let me know!

Wasp vs. Bee vs. Hornet
To tell these three apart, just look at the “waist” of the insect; the part between the thorax and abdomen. If the waist is so small it practically looks pinched, you’re looking at a wasp. If the insect does not look like a runway model, then it’s a bee. There are no hornets native to the US (the yellow jacket is actually a wasp), although there is a European species starting to spread on the east coast. It has a waistline between a bee and wasp.

Snag vs. Log
If it’s a dead tree and it’s still standing, it’s a snag; if it’s lying on the ground, it’s a log. (Both are provide invaluable habitat for wildlife!)

Turtle vs. Tortoise
Turtles usually live in or around water, are omnivores (eating both plants and animals), and when walking their back foot is in the shape of the letter “L”; tortoises usually live in arid climates, are herbivores (eating only plants) and their hind feet look club-like, much like elephant feet.

Male vs. Female Land Turtles and Tortoises
If you want to know the sex of a tortoise or box turtle, just look at the underside of its shell, called the carapace. If it is flat, you have a female. If the carapace is concave, it’s a male—the curved shape helps the male fit on top of the female during mating!

Hare vs. Rabbit
In general, hares are very slender with long faces and even longer ears; rabbits are more rotund and cuddly-looking. And because nature always likes to make exceptions, the snowshoe hare, due to its thick coat of fur to keep warm in its mountain habitat, more resembles a rabbit.

Vulture vs. Buzzard
Although in the US “buzzard” is used as a nickname for a vulture, true buzzards are actually a variety of hawks found in Europe and Africa.

Feline Scat vs. Canine Scat (because I knew you were dying to know)
Feline poo has pinches between each of its segments; canine poo does not. Hey at least I spared telling you why cat scat has the pinches!

And due to popular demand:

Geek vs. Nerd (from The Nature Geek Dictionary)
Geeks are people who are very passionate and oftentimes knowledgeable about a particular subject; nerds may also possess the same knowledge, but are considered to be lacking in coordination, social skills, and basic fashion sense (think Steve Urkel).

Whether or not I fit into the nerd category, I’ll leave that one up to you.

Got any cheese?

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