As I visited with a neighbor this morning, some bright pink/purple blossoms caught my eye. Ah! Strawberry hedgehog cactus blossoms: one of my favorites. It doesn't matter whether I find them in the desert proper or in the neighborhood. They are amazing. Regal. Above is one example. There will be more.
Is it: et al? et. al? et al.? or et. al.? Why do people use the phrase et al.? And incidentally, what I just wrote is the right way to punctuate it. A period after the letter “l.” Merriam Webster’s says the phrase is an abbreviation for “and others.” Same for The Chicago Manual of Style and The Gregg Reference Manual. This phrase has a somewhat similar meaning to “etc.,” and means there’s a list of names somewhere. It comes from the Latin et alii (masculine plural), et aliae (feminine plural), or et alia (neuter plural). Lots of options, but most style guides and legal documents seem to prefer just plain “et al.” with a period following the letter “l.” You may wonder why it’s punctuated. Because each word, "alii," "aliae," and "alia," is abbreviated, while “et” is just “et.” Other than in legal documents, you’ll probably find et al. used mostly in bibliographies. The APA and MLA style guides use “et al.” when referring to specific numbers of people. Thus, for everyday writing in the personal or business world, you probably can’t go wrong if you use, “et al.” References The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition The Gregg Reference Manual, Tenth Edition Wikipedia
Have you ever been accused of being a sloth? Above is a picture I took this week at the zoo: a sweet little sleeping sloth. Cute, yes? And there are good reasons that sloths move slowly. Very slowly. It's all about their metabolism and digestive process. Sloths are classified as folivores as the bulk of their diet consists mostly of buds, tender shoots, and leaves, mainly of Cecropia trees. Some two-toed sloths have been documented as eating insects, small reptiles and birds as a small supplement to their diet. Yum! Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrition and do not digest easily. Sloths therefore have very large, specialized, slow-acting stomachs with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves. As much as two-thirds of a well-fed sloth's body-weight consists of the contents of its stomach, and the digestive process can take a month or more to complete. Wikipedia.
Joy! My next-door neighbors discovered a magnificent dragonfly on a hanging plant. It was kind of upside down and very still. I ran for my camera, and was able to get several good pictures. It never moved, although two of us and our cameras surrounded the poor little thing. Later, my neighbor moved the plant, and off it went. My guess is that this little guy was near the end of his adult stage, as he was more blue than pink, and was very lethargic. I'm pretty sure my dragonfly is a Roseate Skimmer: The Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) is a common southern dragonfly. The male of the species has a rose pink and red/maroon colored abdomen. Females of the species have orange-brown abdomens with clear orangish veins and a brownish thorax with a light stripe down back. The young have a bright pinkish or purple abdomen and when they are mature adults their thorax will develop a pale bluish tint. Wikipedia: It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Dragonflies possess six legs (like any other insect), but most of them cannot walk well. Dragonflies, says Wikipedia, are valuable predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, and very rarely butterflies. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs," are aquatic. Wikipedia continues: The larval stage of large dragonflies may last as long as five years. In smaller species, this stage may last between two months and three years. When the larva is ready to metamorphose into an adult, it climbs up a reed or other emergent plant. Exposure to air causes the larva to begin breathing. The skin splits at a weak spot behind the head and the adult dragonfly crawls out of its old larval skin, pumps up its wings, and flies off to feed on midges and flies. In flight the adult dragonfly can propel itself in six directions; upward, downward, forward, back, and side to side. The adult stage of larger species of dragonfly can last as long as five or six months. Wikipedia continues: The wings are normally clear except for the narrow brown tips at the edges. The juveniles are brown initially in both sexes with pale stripes as well as the abdomen being uniformly brown. A compound eye is a visual organ found in certain arthropods. The compound eye consists of between 12 and 1,000 ommatidia, little dark/bright sensors. The image perceived by the arthropod is "recalculated" from the numerous ommatidia which point in slightly different directions. In contrast to other eye types, there is no central lens or retina. Though the resulting image is poor in resolution, it can detect quick movements and, in some cases, the polarization of light. Dragonflies have about 30,000 facets to their compound eyes, giving them nearly a 360° field of vision.