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July 3, 2016

Glowing Termite Mounds of Emas National Park in Brazil

From Atlas Obscura:

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Termites thrive all over the world, building sprawling nests and wreaking occasional havoc on local lumber supplies. 

In Brazil, they build tall towers of cement-like Earth.

These termite mounds can grow quite large with diameters of up to 30 meters and towers reaching heights of 7 meters or more.

Not only do they provide a home for up to several million termites, but they are also used as nesting sites for the Buff-Breasted Paradise-Kingfisher and as home to hundreds of glowing Pyrophorus nyctophanus beetle larvae.

At night, the termite mounds look like they're wrapped in Christmas lights.

A Unesco World Heritage site, Emas National Park is a wonderland of waterfalls, mountains, and savannah. You can find maned wolves, rhea (large, ostrich-like birds), tapirs, toucans, and jaguars roaming here. And while any of these is worth a visit, the most breathtaking nocturnal site is the series of glowing termite mounds.

The Pyrophorus nyctophanus beetle (also known as the Headlight Beetle) is bioluminescent as an adult, but it's the larvae that truly shine.

Adult beetles lay their eggs in the sides of termite mounds.

When they young hatch, they glow with a green light bright enough to read by.

The adults eat plants but the young are carnivorous and their lights are a lure.

Unsuspecting insects will make their way towards the lights only to be seized as a meal by the voracious larvae.

And yes — termites are a favorite food.

In fact, the larval growth cycle is timed to take advantage of termite migrations, and many a termite will meet its end in the jaws of an inconsiderate houseguest.

The glowing mounds are best seen in the savannas during the summer, though they can be found in jungles as well.

The terrain can be quite rugged, but there are several private tour outfits who can guide you.

July 3, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mizuhiki Rubber Bands — How do you spell "kawaii?"

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From the website:

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A simple rubber band re-imagined with a bow, designed by Yu Aso.

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These rubber bands incorporate the Japanese art of mizuhiki, a decorative knot often used for celebratory occasions.

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Each rubber band has a cute bow and is sure to inspire happiness and hopes for good times in anyone who receives it.

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It's an easy way to make a gift extra special!

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Features and Details:

• 1.7" (44mm) Ø

• Silicone

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Set of 14 (7 red, 7 green): $13.

July 3, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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