Beavers back in World Series (plus Chinese mantids)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Courtesy: Oregon State Sports Information Earlier tonight, the Oregon State University Beavers advanced to their third straight College World Series with an 8-2 win over Michigan in the NCAA Super Regional. I caught a couple of innings from the parking lot next to Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Congratulations to the Beaver baseball team! They have been quite good at winning elimination games and coming through in the postseason when it matters. (Also, thanks to Michigan for taking out No. 1 Vanderbilt in the previous round of the NCAA tournament.) Perhaps OSU will even be able to defend their national championship in Omaha at the College World Series this month.

In other news, a friend of mine (who has a house full of creepy crawlies posing as pets) is giving away baby Chinese mantids. I’ve previously turned down his offers to share Huntsman slings and baby Haitian giant centipedes (among others), for obvious reasons. They look quite evil and my girlfriend isn’t cool with that.

Praying mantis eats hummingbird Speaking of which, my girlfriend is not excited about the prospect of having a praying mantis in the house. She says they hiss like cats. Though she did adjust to (and even enjoy) the idea of having black widow spiders as pets (she justified this because the spiders were “refugees,” accidentally imported on grapes). But she thinks mantids are creepy. She’s never been a fan of insects capable of eating mammals and birds. (See the 2005 classic praying mantis eats hummingbird. And another one.)

Which reminds me . . . I have a YouTube problem.

I can’t stop watching “vs.” insect videos. What do I mean by “vs.” videos? I mean scorpion vs. centipede. And giant centipede vs. tarantula. And giant centipede vs. bat. And giant centipede vs. mouse. And praying mantis vs. mouse. And giant hornet vs. mantis. And giant hornets vs. honey bees. And camel spider vs. scorpion. And more camel spider vs. scorpion. And so on and so forth.

It’s very addictive. I especially like the battles where each insect combatant has a decent chance of winning, like a giant hornet fighting a praying mantis or a camel spider wrestling a scorpion. And I prefer to see these clashes of nature being documented in the wild, as opposed to the more sadistic human-facilitated terrarium deathmatches. But I find those rather compelling too (unless one of the poor creatures is a mouse or frog or something without any real defense mechanisms).

And wow . . . camel spiders (AKA wind scorpions, or solpugids) are vicious.

Check the Arachnoboards forums for in-depth information on all things creepy and crawly.

Lastly, here are a couple more YouTube links: parasite vs. snail and parasite vs. cricket. And oh, there are so many horrifying and tragic YouTube videos involving parasites and fungi . . . inside of, and partially destroying, human and animal bodies.

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