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It is a symbol of climate change, standing against the rampant consumerism which is rife among us; equipped with a mechanical movement, the Moser Nature Watch is made to last, to be passed on like a baton in a relay race on the sole condition that the owner knows how to take care of it. The Moser Nature Watch is a symbol of H. They have therefore been rethinking their ways of working, to take a responsible global approach in the areas of supply, manufacture and sales.

Finally, because they are aware that these initiatives have a limited impact outside their industry, and because they are convinced that education is the key to eco-friendly sustainable development, as the first vehicle for change and the 'lever' which will enable us, together, to 'lift the world', they are committing to supporting organisations spearheading ambitious educational initiatives.

Through a partnership with Room to Read —an international organization dedicated to improving literacy and gender equality in education—, H. Looking forward to seeing this original creation in person at the SIHH in less than four days. Kudos to H. For more info on H. Case is therefore constantly growing and is made of stainless steel, succulents, moss, mini Echeveria, cress, spiderwort, onion sets.

Requires watering twice a day. Case measures 42 mm in diameter by 9. Strap: Made of natural glass with stainless steel buckle. Requires trimming with a mini clipper. Moser Nature Watch. As Alive as Nature itself in a Mechanical Timepiece. Specifically, their commitments are threefold: 1 to fullfil the certification conditions of the Responsible Jewellery Council during —the process has already begun; 2 to use Fair Trade materials as often as possible —from , their new collections in gold will be created using Fair Trade gold; 3 to guarantee a zero carbon footprint in manufacturing of their timepieces by using more efficient methods and procedures, and by offsetting the residual footprint by buying carbon credits.

Technical Specifications of the H. Sapphire crystal for front and display case back. Dial: Natural mineral stone and lichen from the Swiss Alps. With a wingspan of up to 6 inches, its upperside is mottled dark brown to grayish-brown with hints of iridescent purple and pink, and females, which are slightly larger and lighter in color than males, have a pale almost lavender-pink median band through both fore and hind wings.

In June and July, summer monsoons in Mexico trigger this fabulous creature to migrate north through Texas, where it is often found roosting in garages, under eaves, or under bridges. It has the ability to migrate great distances over bodies of open water, such as the Gulf of Mexico, and one specimen was recorded in in Leadville, Colorado, caught in a snowstorm on the Fourth of July!

Primarily nocturnal, the adult Black Witch is attracted to light and fermenting fruit. Its larvae feed at night on a variety of cassias, acacias, ebony, mesquite, and other woody legumes, and rest during the day hidden under bark and branches. Up to 3 inches long, its caterpillar is dark gray tinged with brown, with a pale stripe down the back and dark stripes down the sides, and it relies on this natural camouflage to make it difficult to spot. Pupation occurs on the ground in scattered leaf litter within a fragile cocoon. Black Witches breed year round in overlapping generations, and their adult stage is thought to last only three or four weeks.

At first glance, this very large moth is often mistaken for a small bat hovering around a porch light, but it will eventually land and linger for several hours if undisturbed. Labels: Austin , Balcones Canyonlands , black witch , ecology , environment , hill country , insect , lepidoptera , mariposa de la muerte , moth , nature , night , nocturnal , Texas , Travis County , wildlife.

Sunday, May 19, Poisonous or Venomous? Often used interchangeably when describing some plants and animals, in reality poisonous and venomous mean two different things. Poisonous describes plants or animals that are harmful when consumed or touched. Venomous refers to animals that inject venom into their prey, by means of a bite or sting, when hunting or for self-defense. To add to the confusion, all venoms are a poison but not all poisons are venoms! Poisonous species typically produce a toxin that can range from irritant to fatal.

Plants such as Poison Ivy Toxicodendron radicans and some members of the Spurge family are considered irritants when they come in contact with skin, but this effect is produced through different mechanisms. Nearly all parts of the Poison Ivy plant contain urushiol, which is a substance that gives us contact dermatitis, or a severely itchy and painful inflammation of the skin. These plants have trichomes on their leaves and stems that have bulbous tips that break off and reveal needle-like tubes that pierce the skin.

They can cause an itching, burning rash by emitting onto the skin a mix of acetylcholine, formic acid, histamine, and serotonin. One local native plant, Jimsonweed or Sacred Datura Datura wrightii goes well beyond irritant to hallucinogenic and even fatal if ingested. All parts of this plant contain toxic alkaloids, and the narcotic properties of this plant have been known by humans since before recorded history. They once figured prominently in important religious ceremonies of various southwestern Native American tribes. Animals that are poisonous include most amphibians frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts , that have some amount of toxins on their skin and within other tissues.

Special skin glands produce useful proteins, some for use in respiration, others for fighting bacterial or fungal infections, and at least one in each species that is used for defense. For example, many toad species will release their toxins when they feel threatened, such as when they are caught by a dog or cat, and can trigger drooling, vomiting, and respiratory or cardiac problems. While some snakes are the most commonly known venomous animals, all spiders, some lizards, and many bees, ants and wasps are venomous as well.

The venoms they inject through a bite or sting contain various classes of toxins designed to perform specific biological effects such necrosis or death in multiple cells necrotoxins or individual cells cytotoxins , disruption of the nervous system neurotoxins , or damage to muscle tissue myotoxins. The venom of our Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Crotalus atrox carries both necrotoxins and myotoxins, Black Widow spiders Latrodectus macrons carry both neurotoxins and cytotoxins, and Striped Bark Scorpions Centruroides vittatus and Texas Redheaded Centipedes Scolopendra heros carry neurotoxins.

While the vast majority of snake toxins are transferred by bite, one exception includes garter snakes Thamnophis sp. In our area, these snakes include the Black-necked Garter Snake T. It is important to keep in mind that many plants and animals that are poisonous or venomous are not necessarily a guaranteed threat to humans, as much depends on how the plant or animal is encountered, its toxicity level, and the amount of toxin absorbed. Regardless, respecting these species and giving them their space is the cardinal rule.

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Interestingly, the medicinal use of venoms for therapeutic benefit in treating diseases dates back to B. Today, the venoms produced by different organisms, which contain hundreds of different bioactive elements, are isolated, purified, and screened, then studied to identify components that may have desirable therapeutic properties. This research is often the starting point for developing a therapeutic drug, and those types of drugs on the market today are used to lower high blood pressure, relieve severe pain, act as blood thinners, treat Type 2 diabetes, and stop bleeding during surgical procedures.

Labels: animal , Austin , Balcones Canyonlands , datura , ecology , hill country , jimsonweed , nature , nettle , nose burn , plant , poison , poison ivy , poisonous , snake , Texas , toad , venom , venomous , wildlife. Sunday, April 7, Royal Ruse. Monarch As spring unfolds in Central Texas, butterflies begin to appear ever present in our gardens and landscapes.


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A subfamily of the Brushfoot butterflies, milkweed butterflies are a group of butterflies whose larva feed only on various milkweed species, and these plants provide the adults with certain chemicals that make them naturally distasteful to most predators. The well-known Monarch is probably the most famous butterfly in North America, but it often confused with the Queen and Soldier. Monarchs have rich cinnamon-orange wings with distinctive bold black veins and white dots on the black wing borders and on the black body, and look remarkably similar on the underside.

Its larva are striped with yellow, black, and white, and they have two sets of black tentacles rising from their bodies. While the underside of the Queen butterfly can look a lot like a Monarch, it is its upperside that allows for a definitive identification. Queens can appear almost solid orange compared to stained glass pattern of the Monarch, having rich dark orange wings that lack the black veining and white spots toward the dark wing tips and along their black edges.

While adult Queens seek out ageratum, eupatorium, and heliotrope as preferred nectar flowers, adult Monarchs are much broader generalists in terms of their use of many types of nectar plants. Soldiers typically occur where Queens are common and are often overlooked due to their very similar appearance. They can be properly identified by fewer white spots and more obvious dark wing veining on the forewings than on the Queen, but less defined veining than on the Monarch. Another clue is that Soldiers generally fly in our area in late summer and fall.

Both Soldier and Queen larva are Monarch look-alikes, sporting yellow, black, and white stripes, but with three sets of black tentacles instead of two. In an action intended to deceive, the Viceroy Limenitis archippus is a milkweed butterfly mimic, using its similar patterning and color to trick predators into thinking it is just as distasteful.

Viceroys are smaller than Monarchs or Queens and usually have a black band across the middle of each hindwing. This band can be faint or missing, but it can also be identified by its flying style of quick flaps and flat-winged glides, rather than flying strongly with wings in a shallow V-shape like the Monarch and Queen.

The Nature Watch Collection: Book One by Gerry Rising (Paperback / softback, 2012)

Take a closer look the next time you see an orange butterfly on the wing. It might just be a Monarch heading north, or a Queen or Soldier nectaring on mistflower, or maybe even a Viceroy trying to pull off a royal ruse! Labels: Austin , Balcones Canyonlands , butterfly , ecology , insects , lepidotpera , milkweed , monarch , nature , queen , soldier , Texas , Travis County , viceroy , wildlife. Thursday, March 28, Day Fliers. As part of the larger groups of moths known as the Noctuidae and Thyrididae, Forester and Window-Winged moths are day fliers that commonly have white-spotted black forewings and either similar or bright orange hindwings, and are often found in open woodlands and flowery meadows.

This time of year, you can frequently spot them nectaring on early blooming trees and shrubs, including Mexican Plum, Escarpment Black Cherry, Texas Redbud, and Mexican Buckeye. In our area, the Eight-spotted Forester Alypia octomaculata , Grapevine Epimenis Psychomorpha epimenis , and Mournful Thyris Pseudothyris sepulchralis are the more typical species to be found. It has a wingspan of about one and a half inches, and its legs are adorned with showy orange tufts where they attach to its body. Flying from March to June with a second brood in August, the larva of this moth have broader orange bands with black dots, alternating with fine black and white stripes, and an orange head and hind end.

They feed mainly on Virginia Creeper and other various grapevines. Grapevine Epimenis is another Forester moth that also has velvety black wings, but each forewing has one bold white patch near the outer edge, and each hindwing has a broad orange-red band. With a wingspan of about one inch, it flies from February to April, and sometimes has a second brood in October. Its larva feed on various grapevines, most notably Mustang Grape in Central Texas, and are mainly black and white striped with an orange head and hind end.

Mournful Thyris is a Window-Winged moth, a chunky-bodied small moth with just under a one inch wingspan, that habitually spreads its wings when alighting on flowers or on wet sandy soils along forest trails. Contrary to popular belief, a surprising number of moth species are day fliers, and many are as beautifully patterned as, and often mistaken for, butterflies.

Labels: Austin , Balcones Canyonlands , biology , botany , early spring , ecology , environment , hill country , lepidoptera , life cycle , moths , nature , seasons , Texas , wildlife , wildscaping. Monday, March 11, Plant Natives!

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Spring is the ideal time to think about planting, and how you manage your garden or landscape can have an effect on the overall health of the soil, air, water and habitat for native wildlife as well as our human community. Help conserve and improve the quality of these resources by using sustainable gardening practices such as mulching and composting, reducing or eliminating lawn areas, xeriscaping planting native, drought-tolerant plants , installing rain barrels, and removing non-native invasive plants and restoring native ones.


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The U. Some can be easily transported long distances, and every year millions of our tax dollars and thousands of volunteer hours are spent trying to eradicate them. Many of these plants have already invaded our preserves and greenbelts in Austin, originating in our landscapes, escaping cultivation and spreading into the wild. Invasive species may grow faster, taller, or wider and shade out native species. Many stay green later into the season or leaf out earlier, giving them an advantage over natives. They can change the vertical and horizontal structure of ecosystems, alter hydrology, and disrupt nutrient cycles, all of which can have devastating effects on native plants and animals.

Although invasive exotics may offer birds fruit, squirrels nuts, and hummingbirds and butterflies nectar, they do not provide the entire range of seasonal habitat benefits that an appropriate locally native species will provide. If we want not only to satisfy our desires to attract wildlife, but also to restore the critical, often unseen, small pieces in our ecosystems, we need to bring back our locally native plants.

These plants are not only attractive to humans, they also meet the food and cover needs of all wildlife species: bees, wasps, butterflies, grasshoppers, bugs, beetles, spiders, and thousands of others that sustain and support food webs which songbirds, salamanders, bats, toads, and box turtles more visibly demonstrate. Aside from attracting a diversity of wildlife, the use of native plants minimizes the impact our landscapes have on the natural environment around us. They reduce water consumption, eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and limit the competition from invasive exotics.

This results in a much healthier habitat—water, soil, and air—for humans and animals alike, and is less costly, too. Invite wildlife to put on a show in your backyard by replacing the invasives in your landscape, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Wax Myrtle Morella cerifera. Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria.

Bamboo Muhly Muhlenbergia dumosa. Chinquapin Oak Quercus muehlenbergii. Texas Red Oak Quercus buckleyi. Chinese Tallow Tree. Bigtooth Maple Acer grandidentatum.

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Lacey Oak Quercus laceyi. Elephant Ear. Arrowhead Sagittaria latifolia. Crinum Lily Crinum americanum. Pigeonberry Rivina humilis. Frogfuit Phyla nodiflora. Horseherb Calyptocarpus vialis.

Giant Cane. Roughleaf Dogwood Cornus drummondii. Japanese Honeysuckle. Coral Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens. Passion Vine Passiflora foetida or incarnate or lutea or tenuiloba. Rock Rose Pavonia lasiopetala. Holly Fern.