Just how small can a small snail be?

Alison Campbell Feb 03, 2016

When I was a kid I used to collect shells on the beach – got my Girl Guides ‘collectors’ badge & everything 🙂 So I really enjoyed reading this post over on Sciblogs NZ. And that in turn reminded me of an article I saw recently on microsnails. According to that article, “Microsnail” is the term for the … Read More

the strange s*x lives of leopard & banana slugs

Alison Campbell Jan 30, 2016

Following on from the private lives of snails, I bring you: slugs! (The first part of this post is largely a repost of something I wrote back in 2009.)   Leopard slugs, like other terrestrial slugs & snails, are hermaphrodites. They produce both eggs & sperm, but must exchange sperm with another slug in order to … Read More

Words and ecology, ecology and words

Alison Campbell Jan 29, 2016

I love words (to the extent that I’ve been known to peruse dictionaries for pleasure). The Story of English was one of my favourite TV programs, back (long way back) in the day. So, of course, when I saw positive reviews for Robert Macfarlane’s book, Landmarks, I had to get hold of a copy. For, as the … Read More

More moo woo

Alison Campbell Jan 28, 2016

Once I started paying attention to the woo around milk I realised how much of it there is. And how ready people are to accept it. I’ve written about the notoriously non-scientific Food Babe before. Someone with a high pain threshold could probably manage a daily blog post on this young woman and the way she manipulates opinion, and sometimes … Read More


Snail s*x toys

Alison Campbell Jan 22, 2016

This morning when I went out to feed the goldfish, I encountered a pair of snails in flagrante delicto. I resisted the urge to step on them 🙂   However, I was reminded of a post that I wrote several years ago, on the sexual habits of snails, and thought it was worth a repost. So here goes: Copulation in … Read More

Critiquing another thesis on vaccination

Alison Campbell Jan 19, 2016

Given the fuss occasioned by her PhD thesis, I was interested to look at the document produced for Judy Wilyman’s MSc (available here on-line), largely to see what attention had been given to the science content and perspectives. Having examined or adjudicated a number of Masters theses in the sciences, I’ve a reasonably good idea of the standards … Read More

Dragonfly eyes

Alison Campbell Jan 17, 2016

Dragonflies are ancient: with damsel flies, they were among the earliest flying insects. An analysis based on molecular data and fossil evidence suggests a date of 480mya for the first insects, around the same time that land plants evolved, and includes a rather impressive family tree for the taxon; the earliest dragonfly fossils are around 325my old. Read More