Thank You Milady

Ladybugs also called ladybirds and lady beetles belong to the family Coccinellidae.

There are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs in the world.

They live all over the world, except in Antarctica and the far northern regions of North America, Europe and Asia.

The natural habitat for ladybugs is areas of dense vegetation, such as forests, meadows, weed patches and gardens.

The average lifespan of a ladybug is 2 to 3 years.

They range from 0.0315 to 0.708 inches.

They are commonly red, orange, or yellow with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, heads and antennae.

As well as the usual colors, some ladybug species are black, white, gray, brown, pink and blue. Also, some species can have stripes, or no markings at all.

A ladybug has two eyes but it doesn’t see very well. Ladybugs can only see the difference between dark and light.

The antenna is what helps a ladybug smell, taste, and feel its way around.

The six short little legs of a ladybug help it to walk, but they do more than that. The feet of a ladybug help it smell.

Ladybugs have two pairs of wings, but only one pair is used to fly. The front wings are strong and protect the back wings. A ladybug’s rear or back wings are its flying wings.

A ladybug beats its wings about 5100 times a minute or about 85 beats a second when it flies.

Scientists believed that anything over 7 feet was a long-distance flight for a ladybug – but the new data shows they can actually travel up to74 miles in a single flight. A detailed study has shown the creatures traveling at heights in excess of 3,600 feet and reaching speeds of 37 miles per hour.

As a cold-blooded species, ladybugs mainly are diurnal, utilizing as much sunlight as possible for feeding and mating.

Ladybugs in temperate areas usually hibernate through the winter. Thousands of ladybugs may gather in the same location, taking advantage of the collective warmth of a colony.

Ladybug communicate with each other mainly through chemical signals (pheremones).

Their distinctive spots and attractive colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators. When threatened, the bugs will secrete an oily, foul-tasting fluid from joints in their legs. They may also play dead.

Birds are ladybugs’ main predators, but they also fall victim to frogs, wasps, spiders, and dragonflies.

Ladybugs eat aphids, cabbage moths, mites and other tiny insects. Because of their appetite for plant-eating pests, ladybugs are a beneficial component for any garden and act as a natural pesticide.

Four stages exist in the ladybug life cycle – a process known as complete metamorphosis. As ladybugs feast on aphids and other plant-eating insects, following sexual mating, females deposit up to 300 fertilized eggs among these plants. After 2 to 5 days, newly hatched larvae have an immediate feeding source for the 3 weeks they remain in this stage. After bulking up on aphids, larvae enter a resting stage as pupae. Following a week of this growth process, the adult ladybug emerges, fully formed and ready to keep eating.

One ladybug can eat up to5,000 insects in its lifetime!

The term “lady” refers to the Virgin Mary. According to legend, crops in Europe during the Middle Ages were plagued by pests, and farmers began praying to the blessed Lady Mary. Ladybugs then appeared in the fields, miraculously saving the crops, causing the farmers to call them lady beetles.

Ladybugs aren’t true bugs – they’re beetles, as evidenced by their hard shells that hide a set of delicate wings.

A common myth is that the number of spots on the insect’s back indicates its age.

Many cultures consider ladybugs lucky and have nursery rhymes or local names for the insects that reflect this.

Ladybugs are, and have been for very many years, an insect of interest and favorite for children.

NASA sent a few ladybugs into space with aphids to see how aphids would escape in zero gravity.

Ladybugs are the official state insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The bold colors and simple shapes have led to use as a logo for a wide range of organizations and companies.

Source: JustFunFacts

Pucker Up!

Psychotria Elata: The Hooker’s Lips Plant

Psychotria Elata is one of the plants that will impress you with its rather unique visuals right from the start. Commonly known as the Hooker’s Lips Plant actually seems to be pretty similar to some very large lips. It’s basically a small tree found in Costa Rica and Columbia that has some very “alluring parts”.

It’s not easy to find this plant, that’s for sure. It constantly grows all the time. They are particularly fond of growing in damp soils, which makes them even harder to reach when compared to regular plants.

The downside is that this plant has now come close to extinction, mainly because its homeland was affected by constant deforestation. This is rather sad, considering that it is so unique.

There is a confusion though. People believe that the lips of this plant are the actual flower. No, this plant’s flower is separate from the “lips”.   In fact, the flowers come in between the lips. The overall lips are just modified leaves. They are actually named bracts.

Interior growers turn to plants from around the world to add exotic touches to the home. Hot lips plant fits the bill but requires a tropical environment. For this reason, it is mostly a collector’s plant for much of the United States. Growing hot lips plants requires a heated greenhouse or solarium, high humidity, and shelter from harsh solar rays.

Amethyst: February’s Birthstone


Amethyst’s use in rudimentary jewelry can be traced back as far as the Neolithic period (approximately 4,000 BC) and samples of it set into gold rings have been uncovered in burial sites from around 2,400 BC.

Amethyst is the name given to purple Quartz and some believe that its name derives from the Greek word ‘Amethustos’, ‘a’ meaning ‘not’ and ‘methustos’ meaning ‘to intoxicate’. In ancient times, wealthy lords who wanted to stay sober were said to have had drinking glasses or goblets made from Amethyst. While pouring wine for their guests they could serve themselves water, as the dark purple hue of the gem would disguise the color of the drink so it looked like wine, thus allowing the lord appear to be partaking in a tipple! Following the same theme, it was thought in ancient times if you wished to save a drunkard from delirium you could mix crushed Amethyst into a person’s drink.

One legend from Greek mythology tells the tale of Dionysus, the god of intoxication, and a young beautiful maiden, named Amethystos, who refused his advances. Dionysus let loose fierce tigers while Amethystos was on her way to pray to the goddess Diana. Before they reached her, Diana turned her into a statue of pure crystalline Quartz to protect her from the advancing tigers. Humbled by Amethystos’ resolution, and horrified at what he had almost done to her, he wept tears of wine. Legend says his tears turned the colorless Quartz purple, thus creating Amethyst.

Amethyst is mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel and was also one of the twelve gemstones adorning the breastplate of the high priest Aaron (Exodus 39). With its association with piety and celibacy, Amethyst has been set into rings and worn by Cardinals, Bishops and Priests of the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages. Over the years, along with its use by the Church, the gem has also been cherished by royalty and several pieces can be found in the British Crown Jewels. Amethyst was also known as a personal favorite of Catherine the Great.

A bracelet worn by Queen Charlotte of England in the early 1700s was valued at £200 at that time. However, shortly after this a new discovery of Amethyst deposits was made in Brazil, which dramatically reduced the value of the Queen’s bracelet. This provides a good example of how the value of genuine gemstones (just like the stock market) can go up and down based on supply and demand. When mines are eventually exhausted prices tend to increase; as new deposits are found, gemstone prices generally decrease.

Amethyst is steeped in a rich and romantic history owing to its association with St Valentine. The patron saint of romantic love wore an Amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid and this lead to Amethyst becoming a birthstone for the month of February. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that Amethyst quickens the intelligence and helped to dissipate evil thoughts.


Amethyst is the birthstone of February, and is the official gemstone for Wednesday. It is also the official gemstone for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. The gem features a trigonal crystal system. Amethyst occurs in many shades, from a light, slightly lavender pinkish to a deep purple similar to that of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Amethyst can also be slightly pleochroic, which means that when light hits the gem, shades of different colors such as reds and blues can be seen from different angles. The color comes from iron impurities within the stone, without which it would be colorless. The amount of iron within each stone determines how deep the color is.

As a gemstone, it was once as expensive as Emerald, but in the 19th century Brazil came to dominate the gemstone landscape with their huge scale mining operations that have long since diminished. Amethyst still ranks as the most expensive and desired variety of Quartz due to its unique natural deep purple body color and exceptional clarity. Fine grade Amethyst is found in Brazil, Zambia and most recently an exquisite and completely distinctive variety was discovered in Morocco.

Amethyst still ranks as the most expensive and desired variety of Quartz due to its unique natural deep purple body color and exceptional clarity.

In Brazil this stone forms in hollow, crystal lined geodes and in other locations it forms over millions of years embedded in its host rock. The most desired color for the body color of Amethyst is a deep ‘Siberian’ purple reminiscent of the now depleted original source. Finest examples of Amethyst form in two distinct color groups; a deep purple with undertones of a cool blue or a reddish purple, sometimes referred to as ‘raspberry’.

As there is no single dominant organization or ruling body relating to gemstones, there are often different approaches to how a gem is graded or named. Many organizations within the jewelry industry for instance refer to Green Quartz as Green Amethyst, while others refer to Green Quartz as Prasiolite, Amegreen or Vermarine. This is a really hot topic in the gem world, with some believing that the name Amethyst can only be applied to purple Quartz, others saying if a Quartz’s green color is derived from heat treated Amethyst then it should be named Green Amethyst and others saying it should be known as Green Quartz or Prasiolite. Prasiolite has been known to appear naturally in a small mine in Silesia, Poland, and claims of natural Green Amethyst discoveries have also been made in Namibia, the US state of Nevada, Zambia and Tanzania.

Different tones of Amethyst have different prefixes. ‘Siberian Amethyst’ refers to darker Amethyst regardless of whether they are from Siberia or not (though traditionally they were before the mines were exhausted), normally having a tone of 75-80%. Amethyst with a more pinkish tone (20-30% tone) is named ‘Rose de France Amethyst’. Amethyst is a hard and durable gemstone measuring 7 on the Mohs scale. In its rough state, the gem often forms in long prismatic crystals, making it ideal for cutting. Because its color can often appear banded, it is usually cut into round brilliant shapes which helps the gem display a more uniformed color when viewed through the table or crown facets.

One of the largest Amethyst mines in the world is in Maissau in Austria and is unusual in that it is open to the public. If you want to travel further, then the Amethyst mines in Brazil are considered to be the best in the world and as long as you don’t mind roughing it a little, you’re sure to have a great adventure visiting the local artisan miners.

The Gorgeous Bee-Eater

Bee-eaters birds are in the family Meropidae.

There are 27 species bee-eaters.

They are found from Europe to Australia. The center of diversity of the family is Africa, although a number of species also occur in Asia. Single species occur in each of Europe, (the European bee-eater), Australia (the rainbow bee-eater) and Madagascar (the olive bee-eater, also found on mainland Africa).

They inhabit a variety of habitats depending on what regional environments including forest, savanna, shrubland, grassland, and agricultural areas.

The average lifespan is 5 to 6 years in the wild.

Bee-eaters range in length from 6 to 14 inches.

They are characterized by richly colored plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers.

Brilliant plumage is characteristic; green predominates, but many species are partially colored with red, yellow, blue, or purple.

Male and female plumages are usually similar.

Bee-eater’s bill is moderately long, slightly down curved, and sharply pointed.

Bee-eaters have one of the most complex social systems of any bird species. Many species (but not all) are monogamous, cooperative breeders living in large colonies of over 100 birds, but can reach 200 birds if conditions are favorable.

Each bird lives in an extended family with members of four overlapping generations. They appear to recognize parents, siblings, offspring, friends, and nesting neighbors, likely from voice recognition. This cooperative behavior vastly improves survival of chicks. Females leave their natal group to join her mate’s family.

Many bee-eater names reflect their flashy feathers if not the lack of imagination of the namers: red-throated, blue-headed, black-headed, red-bearded, purple-bearded, blue-cheeked, and cinnamon-chested, white-fronted, rosy, and little green bee-eaters.

They form colonies, nesting in burrows tunneled into vertical sandy banks, often at the side of a river or in flat ground. As they mostly live in colonies, large numbers of nest holes may be seen together. The eggs are white, with typically five to the clutch.

All bee-eaters are earth-hole nesters, digging their tunnels with an oval chamber at the end for eggs. They lay a single clutch annually.

As their name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat flying insects, especially bees and wasps, which are caught in the air by flights from an open perch. The stinger is removed by repeatedly hitting and rubbing the insect on a hard surface. During this process, pressure is applied to the insect, thereby extracting most of the venom.

One white egg is laid each day until the typical clutch of about five eggs is complete. Incubation starts soon after the first egg is laid, with both parents sharing this duty in the day, but only the female at night. The eggs hatch in about 20 days, and the newly hatched young are blind, pink and naked. For most species, the eggs do not all hatch at the same time, so if food is in short supply only the older chicks survive. The chicks are in the nest for about 30 days.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assesses species vulnerability in terms of total population and the rate of any population decline. None of the bee-eaters meet the IUCN vulnerability criteria, and all are therefore evaluated as “Least-concern species”.

Bee-eaters were mentioned by ancient writers such as Aristotle and Virgil, who both advised beekeepers to kill the birds.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that bee-eaters had medical properties, prescribing the application of bee-eater fat to deter biting flies, and treating the eyes with the smoke from charred bee-eater legs to cure an unspecified female complaint.

In Hinduism, the shape of the bird in flight was thought to resemble a bow, with the long bill as an arrow. This led to a Sanskrit name meaning “Vishnu’s bow” and an association with archer gods.

Bee-eaters may be killed by raptors; their nests are raided by rodents and snakes, and they can carry various parasites.

Wake Up, Phil!

Groundhog Day is a popular tradition celebrated in Canada and the United States on February 2nd. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck is a rodent.

It belongs to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.

The groundhog is the most widespread North American marmot species.

It is found through much of the eastern United States across Canada and into Alaska.

This species inhabits many different ecosystems. It is typically found in low elevation forests, small woodlots, fields, pastures, and hedgerows.

In the wild, groundhogs can live up to 6 years with 2 or 3 being average. In captivity, groundhogs reportedly live up to 14 years.

Groundhogs are stocky in appearance and often stand up on their hind legs, making them look tall.

Adults measure from 16.5 to 27 inches in total length including a tail of 3.7 to 7.4 inches.

Weights of adult groundhogs, typically at least, fall between 4.4 and 13.9 lbs.

Male groundhogs average slightly larger than females and, like all marmots, they are considerably heavier during autumn than when emerging from hibernation in spring.

Thick fur on the upper parts ranges in color through various shades of brown; the feet are darker, and the underparts are buff. Melanistic (nearly black) and albino individuals sometimes occur in some populations.

Groundhogs are territorial and non-social.

They are mostly diurnal, and are often active early in the morning or late afternoon.

Groundhogs are good swimmers and can climb tall shrubs and sizable trees.

Mostly herbivorous, groundhogs eat primarily wild grasses and other vegetation, including berries and agricultural crops, when available. In early spring, dandelion and coltsfoot are important groundhog food items. Groundhogs also occasionally eat grubs, grasshoppers, insects, snails and other small animals, but are not as omnivorous as many other Sciuridae.

Groundhogs have four incisor teeth which grow 0.06 inch per week. Constant usage wears them down again by about that much each week. Unlike the incisors of many other rodents, the incisors of groundhogs are white to ivory-white.

Groundhogs are excellent burrowers, using burrows for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernating.

They are one of the few species that enter into true hibernation, and often build a separate “winter burrow” for this purpose. This burrow is usually in a wooded or brushy area and is dug below the frost line and remains at a stable temperature well above freezing during the winter months.

The breeding season extends from early March to mid- or late April, after hibernation. A mated pair remains in the same den throughout the 31- to 32-day gestation period. As birth of the young approaches in April or May, the male leaves the den.

One litter is produced annually, usually containing two to six blind, hairless and helpless young. Groundhog mothers introduce their young to the wild once their fur is grown in and they can see. At this time, if at all, the father groundhog comes back to the family. By the end of August, the family breaks up; or at least, the larger number scatter, to burrow on their own.

The groundhog is classified as a species of “least concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The groundhog has many lesser-known names including chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistlepig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, redmonk and, among French Canadians in eastern Canada, siffleux.


The etymology of the name woodchuck is unrelated to wood or chucking. It stems from an Algonquian (possibly Narragansett) name for the animal, wuchak. The similarity between the words has led to the popular tongue-twister:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could
if a woodchuck could chuck wood!


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine.

Ginger originated in the tropical rain forests from the Indian subcontinent to Southern Asia.

It is now cultivated in the U.S. (including Hawaii), India, China, the West Indies, and other tropical regions.

Ginger is one of the world’s more well-known and useful plants, being used for centuries as a spice for flavoring food and as a medicinal plant.

Chinese and Ayurvedic practitioners have relied on ginger for at least 3,000 years for its anti-inflammatory properties, and have used it as a “carrier” herb, one that enables other herbs to be more effective in the body.

As one of the first spices exported from the Orient, ginger arrived in Europe during the spice trade, and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans.

By the 11th century, it was a common trade article from the East to Europe.

The Spaniards brought it to the West Indies and Mexico soon after the conquest, and by 1547 ginger was being exported from Santiago to Spain.

Jamaicans and early American settlers made beer from it; and today, natural ginger ales made with fresh ginger are available as a digestive tonic.

Ginger is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, about 3 to 4 feet tall. It produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation of the plant to warm climates, it is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes.

The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young.

There are 80 calories in 3.5 ounces of Ginger.

Ginger contains a diverse array of many important vitamins and minerals. It also contains gingerol, a compound with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that has been linked to many unique health benefits.

The health benefits of ginger include reduce hypertension, inflammation, DNA breakage, nausea, migraines, and amyloid beta build-up, which is involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger may also reduce DNA damage from radiation and provide some protection from industrial pollutants.

Ginger has a sharp, pungent taste and aroma.

Ginger rhizomes are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can be steeped in boiling water to make ginger herb tea, to which honey may be added. Ginger can be made into candy or ginger wine.

The spice has a slightly biting taste and is used, usually dried and ground, to flavor breads, sauces, curry dishes, confections, pickles, ginger ale and ginger beer.

Its generic name “Zingiber” is derived from the Greek zingiberis, which comes from the Sanskrit name of the spice, singabera.

In Japan and elsewhere, slices of ginger are eaten between dishes or courses to clear the palate.

In Burma, ginger is used in a salad dish called gyin-tho, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds.

In China, sliced or whole ginger root is often paired with savory dishes, such as fish.

The oil of ginger may be used for perfume and medicine.

Source: JustFunFacts

Unusual Plants: Monkey Orchids

In doing research for another open, I came across of whole slew of unusual plants and flowers and I thought I’d present one of them every month.  Today’s entry is Monkey Orchids.  (There are quite a few orchids on the list—they are very unusual as a group—but not all are.)

There are many orchids that bear flowers looking like animals and birds. But the one that is really amazing is the one that looks like the face of a monkey. This orchid called Monkey orchid is aptly named because of its striking resemblance to the simian primates. It is really surprising but Mother Nature has literally dittoed the details with two dark eyes, eyebrows that are fuzzy and dotted, a nose that is furry, and even the beard that one sees on the face of the simians. This is a very rare orchid so chances are that you might not see it in person. It grows at a high altitude of 3000 feet and more in the Cloud Mountains of Peru and southeastern Ecuador.

However, for those interested in having this prized addition to their home garden is that this rare orchid can be grown in cold to warm weather and it blooms year round. The most interesting fact about the Monkey faced orchid is that it smells like ripe oranges to easily make it the center of attraction of any garden where it is grown. However, it is a little ironic that its flower smells like ripe oranges as with a face like a monkey, you would expect the flower to smell like bananas, right?

The Dracula part of the name of this orchid comes from two long spikes from the sepals that look like fangs of Dracula as described in movies and fiction. One fact that many people are not aware of is that the scientific name Orchis Simia derives from the fact that this orchid plant grows from two oval shaped tubers that look like the testicles of a primate. The Greek word Orchis means testicles.

Monkey orchid is a perennial orchid and it has a very long life of many years. However, a plant starts to flower after 7 years of its germination requiring the owners to be patient to see the monkey faced flowers. But once it starts to flower, you can expect the plant to flower every year for nearly 19 years.

Leaves of Monkey Orchid are green in color and linear in shape. These leaves are rhizome and fleshy. A lot has already been said about the monkey faced flowers of this orchid. Interesting fact is that the flower of monkey orchid can be in different colors like red, purple, pink, blue, orange, white, green, and even brown. The three petals of the flower can have dots, stripes or bear no particular pattern yet look like the face of the monkey.

The best conditions for growing monkey orchid in your garden are temperatures of 42-46℉ at night and not more than a temperature of 68℉ during day time. This orchid requires a high humidity level of more than 65%. The soil should be made up of bark and sphagnum moss. Choose a pot that is large and has many holes in it. You can grow this orchid by planting the seed or through vegetative reproduction. The best thing with this species of orchid is that it can be grown any time of the year as it is perennial in nature. The size of the monkey orchid remains between 7 and 20 inches. It requires a heavy amount of water and shady conditions.


Dolphins are amazing mammals!  I visited Surfer Today to find 50 fun facts about them.

Dolphins evolved from a four-legged terrestrial animal that started spending more time in the water around 50 million years ago.

The name “dolphin” comes from the Greek words “delphis” and “delphus,” meaning “fish with a womb”.

There are around 40 different species of dolphins swimming in the oceans of the world.

Dolphins range in size from 5.6 feet to 31 feet long and weigh between 110 pounds and 10 tonnes, depending on the type of animal and species.

The killer whale is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family.

The most common species – the bottlenose dolphin – inhabits all regions of the planet, except for the Antarctic and Arctic oceans.

The differences between dolphins and porpoises can be found in their body shapes, fins and faces.

Dolphins live in relatively shallow waters, but they can dive up to 900 feet.

Dolphins are piscivores and eat around 35 pounds of fish every day, including squid and crustaceans.

Dolphins don’t drink water because they get it from the food they eat.

Although dolphins have teeth, they swallow food without chewing it.

Dolphins have two stomachs – one for storing food and another one for digestion.

Dolphins have a skeleton with light, highly flexible, yet weaker bones compared with land animals.

Dolphins are “equipped” with highly effective healing processes, which means that they don’t hemorrhage to death easily.

Dolphins are believed to have the longest memory in the animal kingdom.

Dolphins use their echolocation/sonar for navigating through the water and obstacles and hunting prey.

Dolphins’ hearing system is so sophisticated and advanced that even a blind individual can survive.

Dolphins have no sense of smell and do not have a good sense of taste.

Dolphins can use their noses to kill sharks.

Dolphins have smooth skin to reduce drag while swimming – their outer skin layer can regenerate in only two hours.

Although dolphins have lungs and breathe like humans, they can’t live on land because they become dehydrated and overheat out of the water.

Dolphins sleep eight hours per day and spend the rest of the day swimming.

Dolphins typically resurface to breathe three to five times per minute, but they can hold their breath for up to 15 minutes.

Dolphins sleep with only one brain hemisphere at a time, in slow-wave sleep, to maintain enough consciousness to breathe and to watch for possible predators.

During the gestation period, female dolphins carry one baby at a time, but sometimes they may deliver twins.

After giving birth, female dolphins carry their calves for between 11 and 18 months.

Dolphin mothers feed their babies with extremely rich and fat milk.

The average life expectancy of a dolphin is 25 years, but they can live up to 50.

Dolphins are highly intelligent marine creatures – they can learn, play, socialize, and grieve just like humans.

Dolphins are altruistic individuals and tend to stay with ill or injured individuals for prolonged periods of time.

Dolphins communicate through whistles, clicks, and other nonverbal forms of communication.

Dolphins call out to each other by their names.

Dolphins usually travel in pods of up to 1,000 individuals.

Dolphins are not monogamous.

Dolphins usually swim at between 3 and 8 miles per hour, but their top speed is around 20 miles per hour.

A dolphin can travel up to 60 miles per day.

Dolphins not only know, but they also enjoy catching and surfing waves like humans do.

Scientists have not yet understood why dolphins jump out of the water – some of them leap over 20 feet in the air.

Dolphins have few enemies – only the great white shark, tiger shark, dusky shark, and the bull shark can be considered serious threats.

Dolphins only bite if they’re furious, angry, frustrated, anxious, or afraid.

Dolphins are trained by military forces to spot mines and find lost humans.

Japan, Peru, Solomon Islands, and the Faroe Islands are known for killing dolphins for human consumption.

The coat of arms of Anguilla and Romania feature dolphins.

India, Hungary, Costa Rica, and Chile have declared dolphins “non-human persons,” meaning that they can’t be captured and used for entertainment purposes, for example, in dolphinariums.

The desert city of Petra, established as early as 312 BC in Jordan, has images of dolphins carved in the rocks.

A group of dolphins is named a “school.” Female dolphins are “cows,” male dolphins are “bulls,” and juveniles are “calves”.

According to several animal welfare organizations, there are around 3,000 dolphins in captivity worldwide.

The most famous movies about dolphins are “Flipper,” “The Day of the Dolphin,” “Zeus and Roxanne,” “The Cove,” and “Dolphin Tale”.

In 2010, director Greg Huglin released a 20-minute film called “Surfing Dolphins,” featuring some of the world’s finest wave riding performers.

Nana and Nellie are the longest-living dolphins on record. They lived 42 and 61 years, respectively.


Carnation flowers are symbolic of love, fascination, and distinction and are scientifically known as Dianthus. They are also known as “The Flowers of God.” According to a Christian legend, Carnations first appeared on earth as Jesus carried the Cross. Carnations sprang up from where the Virgin Mary’s tears fell as she cried over her son’s plight.

So, whether you love giving flowers or are an avid gardener, there’s something quite special about carnation flowers.

About the Carnation Flower and Plant

The single flowers of the Carnations species, Dianthus caryophyllus have 5 petals and vary from white to pink to purple in color. Border Carnation cultivars may have double flowers with as many as 40 petals.

When grown in gardens, Carnations grow to between 6 and 8.5 cm in diameter. Petals on Carnations are generally clawed or serrated.

Carnations are bisexual flowers and bloom simply or in a branched or forked cluster. The stamens on Carnations can occur in one or two whorls, in equal number or twice the number of the petals.

The Carnation leaves are narrow and stalk less and their color varies from green to grey-blue or purple. Carnations grow big, full blooms on strong, straight stems.

Growing Carnations

Carnations grow readily from cuttings made from the suckers that form around the base of the stem, the side shoots of the flowering stem, or the main shoots before they show flower-buds.

The cuttings from the base make the best plants in most cases.

These cuttings may be taken from a plant at any time through fall or winter, rooted in sand and potted up.

They may be put in pots until the planting out time in spring, which is usually in April or in any time when the ground is ready to be handled.

The soil should be deep, friable and sandy loam.

Carnation Plant Care

Carnations need some hours of full sun each day and should be kept moist.

Avoid over-watering as this may tend to turn the foliage yellow.

Spent flowers should be removed promptly to promote continued blooming.

The quality of the bloom depends on the soil and irrigation aspects for growing carnations.

Those who grow carnations should know the importance of pinching, stopping and disbudding.

At the time of plucking carnations, leave three to four nodes at the base and remove the stem.

The plant foliage should not be exposed to the direct heat of a stove or the sun.

Carnation Meaning

These flowers are one of the oldest cultivated flowers across the globe. As such, they have a rich history associated with symbolism, and there are several different meanings. The three most loved colors are pink, red, and white carnations.

Pink carnation flowers are known to reflect a mother’s love and gratitude. However, dark pink ones represent tenderness and are sometimes associated with the feeling of love that could bloom on a first date. Light pink carnations are the ones that most dearly express the love of a mother.

Red carnations are most commonly associated with feelings of deep love and affection. Light red ones symbolize admiration – the lightness of their hue enunciates a softer expression of the portrayal of love. While red roses are the ultimate in romance, red carnations are great if you want to convey something a bit less serious.

When it comes to pure love and good luck, white carnations are your best bet. White is a color of purity and luck. When gifting someone white carnations, you convey messages of good wishes for a prosperous life.

The Symbolism of The Carnation Flower

Believe it or not, carnations exude strong symbolism. Although these flowers could easily be taken for granted, they actually have a lot to teach us.

Carnation flowers have a different symbolic meaning in various cultures around the world.

Chinese culture: Carnations are typically used at weddings.

Rome and Greece: Carnations were used in ceremonial crowns, and the name was believed to derive from the Latin word for “wreath” or “garland.”

Korea: People wear pink and red carnations on Parents Day to express admiration, love, and gratitude.

Japanese culture: Carnation flowers are the most loved flower for Mother’s Day, and the red carnation is symbolic of love.

American culture: Carnations are the official Mother’s Day flower and are commonly used for special occasions such as weddings for corsages and boutonnieres for proms.

Victorian era: The colors of the carnation symbolized an answer to a secret question. A yellow carnation was indicative of ‘no,’ and a solid color meant ‘yes, and a striped carnation communicated rejection in a diplomatic way.

Growing Tips for Carnations

Carnation flowers are known to thrive in humid environments. This means that they flourish best in moist conditions. They also grow better when placed fully in the sun with soil that is either slightly alkaline or more neutral in alkalinity.

Caring for them requires little effort, and when stems are cut, they can last for a few weeks. This is what makes them so ideal for growing and using in flower arrangements and bouquets. To make sure that they grow well, it’s best to make sure that they get about four to six hours of sunlight a day.

Take care not to over water carnations. Watering them two to three times a week should suffice. If you notice that the petals or foliage turn yellow, you’re probably over watering them.

If you want to try growing them from seeds, it’s best to plant them in early spring or late fall. It’s also a good idea to grow them indoors. Allow the seedlings some time to grow, and when they are around five inches tall, you can transfer them into a bed that is well prepared or into a pot.

Carnation flowers will form small side shoots (or suckers) around their stems to allow for growth from their cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in the summer. During this time, the plant cells divide at a faster pace, which promotes root growth. You can also use peat to add more nutrients to the soil to help your carnations grow better.

Uses Of Carnations

Throughout history, there have been several uses of carnations. A common use was to brew the flowers in tea. This is thought to help reduce stress and boost energy levels. Carnation tea can also be used to treat fevers and stomach aches.

In the beauty industry, some products include carnation oil as an ingredient to help moisturize the skin. In addition to this, carnation flowers have also been used in massage oils to help soften and heal the skin while providing a calming scent.

In A Nutshell

Carnation flowers are unique and special, and they should be given credit for their rich history and symbolism. They are robust plants – making them the perfect flowers to grow in your garden. Also, they pair well with other flowers and have a pleasant, calming smell.


Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that makes up the family Pelecanidae.

With 8 different species of pelicans, they can be found on all continents except for Antarctica.

Pelicans live throughout the world in tropic and temperate zones, and always near bodies of water.

Average life span in the wild is 10 to 25 years or more and up to 54 in captivity.

It is easy to identify pelicans, because they are one of the only birds with a pouch under their bill.

Along with the giant pouch, pelicans are a large bird with short legs, and they appear rather clumsy on land. Once in the water, they are strong swimmers, thanks to their webbed feet.

The largest is Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) measuring from 5.2 to 5.9 feet in length.

The heaviest is great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) weighing from 20 to 33 pounds.

The smallest and lightest is brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) measuring from 3.4 to 5 feet in length and weighing about 7.7 pounds.

The wingspan can range from 6.7 to 11.8 feet, depending on species.

Pelicans are splendid fliers and can soar like eagles with their giant wings.

Getting UP in the air can be challenging without the help of the wind. Pelicans must run over the water while beating their big wings and pounding the surface of the water with both feet in unison to get enough speed for takeoff.

They are social birds and typically travel in flocks, often strung out in a line.

Pelicans are carnivores (meat-eaters) and diurnal (hunt during the day).

While most pelicans eat fish exclusively, they can be opportunistic feeders, eating lizards, frogs, crabs and lobsters.

Many pelicans fish by swimming in cooperative groups. They may form a line or a “U” shape and drive fish into shallow water by beating their wings on the surface. When fish congregate in the shallows, the pelicans simply scoop them up.

The brown pelican, on the other hand, dives on fish (usually a type of herring called menhaden) from above and snares them in its bill.

Pelicans do not store fish in their pouch, but simply use it to catch them and then tip it back to drain out water and swallow the fish immediately.

When not eating, pelicans spend hours preening, snoozing, or sunbathing.

At dusk, pelicans all settle down for the night. Their head rests back on their shoulders, their eyes close and their feathers ruffled against the cold.

They nest in colonies in trees, bushes, or on the ground, depending on the species.

Breeding colonies often consist of hundreds of these birds all crowded onto one small island.

Males will use certain tactics to attract females during the breeding season. Certain males have colorful feathers and some others have the ability to change the color of their bill, pouch and neck into brighter colors during the interesting courtship.

Both females and males contribute to the making of the nest.

Pairs are monogamous for a single season, but the pair bond extends only to the nesting area; mates are independent away from the nest.

Females will usually lay 1 to 3 eggs and on some occasions 4 or 5 eggs. Incubation period lasts between 28 and 36 days.

The parents take turns incubating 1 to 5 bluish-white eggs, laid days apart, on the top of their feet.

The eggs hatch in the order laid, and the first chick to hatch is always larger and often attacks its younger siblings to get the most food.

The young are not fed from the pouch; instead, the parents open their mouth wide to allow the young to reach down into the gullet to get regurgitated food. The poor parents must feed their chicks up to 30 times a day for the first month of so!

By 6 to 8 weeks, they wander around, occasionally swimming, and may practice communal feeding.

Young of all species fledge 10 to 12 weeks after hatching. They may remain with their parents afterwards, but are now seldom or never fed.

They are mature at three or four years old.

Pelicans are a large bird, which makes them harder prey for most predators in their natural environment. Because of this, most animals do not hunt them. However, a wounded pelican that cannot fly is easy prey for wild dogs, feral cats and larger mammals. Humans are also predators of the pelican, hunting them for their feathers and eating the meat.

A gull often sits on a pelican’s head, trying to steal a meal when the pelican opens its bill slightly to empty out the water.

All pelicans have long bills, but the Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspkillatus) has the longest bill of any bird. The record-sized bill was 20 inches long.

The American white pelican can hold some 3 gallons of water in its bill.

Pelicans and their relatives—cormorants, gannets, and boobies—are the only birds with totipalmate feet (fully webbed; all four toes are united by ample webs).

Fossil evidence of pelicans dates back to at least 30 million years to the remains of a beak very similar to that of modern species recovered from Oligocene strata in France.

Source: JustFunFacts