Happy Earth Day
3D RENDERING OF AN ANCIENT CLUBMOSS, Leclercqia scolopendra
Scientific Illustration beyond the call of duty: Jeff Benca
— grad student in the Department of Integrative Biology
and Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley.
When he submitted a paper describing a new (but extinct) species of lycopod for publication, instead of a line drawing Jeff Benca included a detailed digitally rendered color reconstruction of the plant. It was chosen as the cover illustration for the March 2014 issue of the American Journal of Botany.
Called Leclercqia scolopendra, or centipede clubmoss, the plant lived during the “age of fishes,” the Devonian Period.
At that time, lycopods – the group Leclercqia belonged to – were one of few plant lineages with leaves. Leclercqia shoots were about a quarter-inch in diameter and probably formed prickly, scrambling, ground-covering mats. (Phys.org)
Digital reconstruction of the centipede clubmoss, Leclercqia scolopendra sp. nov. (Protolepidodendraceae: Lycopsida) from the Middle Devonian Chilliwack flora of Washington state.
SCIENTIFIC PAPER: Benca et al.— Applying morphometrics to early land plant systematics: A new Leclercqia (Lycopsida) species from Washington State, USA, pp. 510–520 AJB March 2014.
A Crocodile fish or Flathead (Platycephalidae) resting on a red sea sponge in Buoy 4, Hoga Island, Indonesia.
Crocodile fishes are found on rocky or soft bottoms of the continental shelf from 20 to 200 m depth. This family is normally restricted to the Indo-Pacific area [source].
Photo credit: ©Alistair Bygrave
Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) gather in huge swarms to feed on the late-summer plankton bloom.
Peters’ Elephantnose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii)
The elephantnose fish is a freshwater fish native to the rivers of West and Central Africa. Their trunk-like protrusion is an extension of the mouth that is covered with sensitive electroreceptors. The fish is able to use these receptors, along with a weak electrical field that it generates through muscular contractions, to find hidden prey and navigate in low visibility conditions.