Photography and Departing to the Other Side of the World

Dearest readership, hear ye hear ye: I finally updated my Canada photography on this blog! Sounds like a cute little task, but has actually been the cumulative effort of the past several weeks, sorting through all the old photos I have fermenting on my computer and deciding which are worthy to start a new fermentation process here on the internet. See below a sampling of oldies-but-goodies that I found, plus some new stuff from a recent weekend trip to Saguenay (a region in northern Québec that is currently a winter wonderland).

Well, that collage has no unifying theme and I love it.

In other news, I am off to New Zealand this Saturday(?!?!) WHAT yes you did read correctly! I am headed thither to begin my field work for my Masters, which will involve frequently touching these:

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Sure why not?

That guy is the Wellington tree weta, otherwise known as Hemideina crassidens, otherwise known as a very fucking LARGE cricket who is my study species. I am studying their evolutionary biology, specifically trying to figure out why the males sport three different sizes of head. Erm, well, not simultaneously (although: hydra weta. Nature, make it happen). Males can be of one of three morphs, ranging from having a tiny head and looking a bit like a female, to having a giant head with big crazy mandibles (see above). We think it’s possible that the smaller males employ some other kind of mating behaviour from the larger males; typically, large males wrestle face-to-face with those jaws of doom, and whichever male has the bigger jaws wins and gets to keep all the ladies. (I mean, as much as we’ve got a long way to go with this feminism thing as humans, it’s nice to reflect on the progress we have made as a species.) Obviously the small males are not going to be doing great with those kinds of contests, so we’re thinking that they have some other strategies for finding mating opportunities. We shall see!

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