Before the age of the Internet, we used a thesaurus made of paper that we held in our hands. (For you younger folks, a thesaurus, despite its spelling, is not a kind of dinosaur.)
When writing, we often search for just the right word to convey our message. Or we find ourselves using the same words over and over. In situations like these, a writer would pull their thesaurus off the bookshelf. A thesaurus lists words in groups of synonyms and related concepts. A synonym is a word that means exactly or almost the same as another word, such as writer and author. These books were invaluable or indispensable to writers.
Nowadays, of course, thesauruses or thesauri are still used, but they are on found online. Whether hard copy or digital, the thesaurus is still necessary for composition. The English language is a diverse collection of words and it’s fun to learn them. As an author of over 25 scripts and books, I am grateful for the thesaurus that allows me to fully utilize, employ, or exploit as many interesting, informative, and appropriate words as possible.
I like to write about topics to educate or share an interest of mine. In today’s installment, I want to pose a question, one to which we may never know the answer. As part of native iguana conservation, a great deal of effort is currently spent eradicating invasive green iguanas. Green iguanas have been introduced, either accidentally or intentionally, in many places where they didn’t live. As a result, these lizards become pests, destroying the vegetation, out competing the native animals for resources, and even eliminating species through hybridization.
One such place is the island of Grand Cayman. Grand is the largest of the three islands that make up the country of the Cayman Islands, located south of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea. It is about 76 square miles in size. Green iguanas found Grand to be paradise and soon their population increased to 1.5 million invasive lizards on this island. If you do the math, that comes out to 20,000 green iguanas per square mile! There are only 53,000 people in that same area.
The removal of the iguanas is the topic of other posts here, but a question came up during the discussion of the invasive lizards the other day. On Grand Cayman, there are native predators of iguanas and other lizards, which include the endemic Cayman Racer (Alsophis cantherigerus caymanus). These snakes can grow to over four feet but are usually smaller. Fortunately, these snakes have been shown to enjoy the invasive iguanas in addition to their native lizard prey.
The question that arose is: With the increase in the number of prey lizards, did the population of racers increase as well? And if they did, how will removing the excess invasive iguanas affect the snake population? Unfortunately, racers are killed by people’s pets, their dogs and cats, like many other animals, but maybe the extra green-iguana food helped increased their numbers in spite of this. An interesting question, don’t you think? And what will happen to their populations when the invasives are under control? Will the snake numbers dwindle?
We may never know, but situations like this remind us of the impact we humans have on ecosystems. We introduce indiscriminate predators with our pets, we introduce invasive species that affect ecosystems, and we destroy habitats with our buildings. We need to be aware of what we are doing and pay attention to how we affect the natural homes and environments of the animals that called all of these places home before we did.
Is the cold weather keeping you indoors? Children will enjoy continuing their education by working the activity sheets and coloring pages in our fun, comprehensive and interesting supplemental workbooks, such as these pictured below.
Once a year I travel to an “exotic” location–not to play, but to work with the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, for iguana conservation. The IUCN is a democratic union comprised of influential organizations, both governmental and public, and top conservation experts, in a combined effort to conserve nature and enable sustainable development. There are more than 1300 member organizations and more than 15,000 experts. These members make the IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and what is needed to protect it.
I am thrilled to be part of this organization and hope I contribute in my own small way to the important work they do. Their website: https://www.iucn.org/.
Another important organization for the worldwide protection of wildlife is CITES, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. CITES publishes a voluntary international agreement that provides a framework for the parties to adopt their own domestic national legislation. So far, 183 parties have joined together. More information is available at: https://www.cites.org/eng/.
Thirty fun pages all about iguanas!
NOTE: Iguanas are among my very favorite animals because of their intelligence, strength, and when domesticated, their affection toward their caretakers. Their personalities are fascinating and unique, and sometimes I think they can read minds! To learn more about these amazing reptiles, please enjoy our comprehensive workbook and activity sheets, My Unit Study on Iguanas.
To see all of Lyric Power Publishing’s fun, educational workbooks, go to the Our Workbooks tab.
Photo by Terry. Incredibly, even fossilized scorpions glow under UV light!
I was asked if dead scorpions glow by a friend who found a dead scorpion on his patio. I confess, I didn’t know. My guess was that the scorpion wouldn’t glow after death because, I hypothesized, the fluorescent chemicals were actively produced by the living animal.
The part of the scorpion’s body that glows is located in the exoskeleton, the hard, protective covering. Within the cuticle of the exoskeleton is the hyaline layer, which reacts to black light or moonlight. Interestingly, scorpions don’t glow right after molting. The cuticle must harden first. So, is the glowing material part of the hardening process; or is it incorporated into the cuticle during the hardening?
Not much is known about the glowing material.
What is it made of?
Why do scorpions have it?
Several hypotheses have been put forth:
Detection of UV light and visible light, so they know when and where to hide.
Prey attraction and confusion so they are easier to catch.
Communication with other scorpions.
But, back to that original question: Does a dead scorpion glow? Surprisingly, it does!
Everyone knows that parents are their child’s first teachers. From teaching them how to say mommy or daddy, to counting on their toes, to learning how to walk, parents are the most important teachers of children. As kids grow into adults, they still look to their parents for guidance. On November 8, we’re celebrating that relationship.
While parents are teaching their children, they should include science. After all, November 8 is also National STEM/STEAM Day. Don’t know what those letters stand for? STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Math. Education in these four areas is critical for the future. STEAM includes the equally important Arts, including humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media.
At Lyric Power Publishing, LLC, we encourage both kinds of learning, investigative and creative, and we like to make learning fun! Check out our books here and our workbooks here, and enjoy learning about science!
38 Pages of Turtle Facts, Traits, Diet, Survival, Label the Parts, True or False, Cut and Paste, Reading Comprehension, Color by Math, Write the Differences, Vocabulary, Word Definitions, Cause and Effect and More!
In the human world, red eyes are usually reserved for people possessed by demons. However, in reptiles, red eyes are not unusual and serve an important purpose.
It’s usual for males of a species to be more colorful than the females, because the females need the protective coloration of camouflage. In box turtles, the males often have bright red irises. That makes it easy to determine that he’s a he. Females have brown eyes. I think this Eastern Box Turtle’s eyes are quite attractive.
Equally impressive are the red eyes of rock iguanas. Both males and females have red sclera. Rock iguanas live on Caribbean islands made of white limestone. It’s thought that the red coloration protects the iguanas’ eyes from damage of the bright sunshine reflecting off the rock. So, the red sclera is like us wearing sunglasses. Everyone needs to protect their eyesight.
Silent Rocksis published by Lyric Power Publishing, about the disappearing Sister Isle Rock Iguanas. We hope to inspire the native people and visitors alike to do all they can to save them.
I once wrote a poem that included the line “reptilian allure.” One of the meeting participants commented that he couldn’t see how reptiles had any allure.
Even if you don’t feel the need to cuddle reptiles as I do, they are worthy of our admiration. Their body type has been very successful throughout the ages. Their tough outer scales are very utilitarian, providing great protection. They also gleam in the sunlight, which is known as iridescence. I like to use the Rainbow or Bahamian boas as examples.
They do, however, have what we might consider drawbacks in their physiological design. Being cold-blooded, ectothermic, they rely on the environment to regulate their body heat. While man’s construction may seem like a good thing, basking on those nice warm roads is fatal for far too many reptiles.
Many people don’t see the benefits of reptiles, but they serve us in many ways. They help control rodents and the diseases they carry (and let us not forget the pack rats in Southern Arizona that chew the wiring in our cars); they help plants to disperse and germinate, and some of them have provided molecules that have been turned into medicines.
And, our reptilian friends are fascinating. We don’t have to fear them and a good place to learn why is in a book I’ve written called Don’t Make Me Rattle. Everything you need to know about rattlesnakes is in this dramatically illustrated, fun book written in rhyme.
Help protect our reptilian friends and watch the road ahead.
People fear rattlesnakes because they don’t understand them. Come inside and learn about these amazing snakes, how they help people, and why the rattlesnake should be respected, not exterminated.
Last post, I wrote about my adventures with script-writing and the short, comedic audio scripts of Conversations with Dudley Dewlap. In this excerpt from “First Noel,” Miles and Molly Monitor decide there should be a day honoring water monitors, because Dudley has March 17 or Green Iguana Day (as he calls it). However, Dudley manages to turn the conversation toward himself, as usual. He does give some pretty good advice and I hope you enjoy this tidbit from the script.
MILES: So what would you be celebrating on Dudley Day?
DUDLEY: I’ve been thinking about that.
MILES: Of course, you have.
DUDLEY: The celebration of the perfection of the green iguana.
MILES: ‘Cuse me?
DUDLEY: All animals should strive to seek the perfection that is the iguana. I realize I need to provide instruction in how to achieve ig-ness.
MILES: You came up with instructions? What are they?
DUDLEY: First, always look for a sunbeam to bask in.
MILES: Sounds delightful. Next?
DUDLEY: Swimming in warm water helps you find contentment.
MILES: I agree one hundred percent.
DUDLEY: Always reach for the top.
MILES: Does is have to be a tree?
DUDLEY: Of course not. Never be content with what you’ve achieved – always try for more.
MILES: Excellent advice. Never tolerate mediocrity.
DUDLEY: Bright colors make you look your best.
MILES: But the predators might see you more easily….
DUDLEY: It’s not easy being green.
MILES: Uh, Dudley, I think an amphibian already uses that phrase.
DUDLEY: Are you sure?
MILES: Yeah, he has his own TV show, has been in movies, quite famous. Dates a glamorous pig.
DUDLEY: Really? Give ‘im a call. We’ll do lunch.
MILES: Any other instructions?
DUDLEY: Be different and people will notice you.
MILES: It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
DUDLEY: A diet with lots of vegetables is good for you.
MILES: Maybe for you herbivores and omnivores, but what about us carnivores?
DUDLEY: And last, but most important, look for the warmth in people.
There you have it–a short bit from one of the scripts in Conversations with Dudley Dewlap. Click the link below to check it out for your school or theater group. Purchase of any of the audio script books includes performance rights.
Conversations with Dudley Dewlap: The World from a Lizard Point of View is a collection of short comedy, small cast, audio scripts. Most roles are gender neutral. The primary characters are talk show hosts who discuss various amusing topics. The scripts can be combined or used individually. Additional cast can be used for the sound effects. Along with being entertaining and family friendly, many of the scripts are also educational. The scripts are amenable to radio theater, readers theater, or may be adapted for stage. Approximate running times vary with each script, ranging from 5-20 minutes.
CURTIS CURLY-TAIL COMES ALIVE ON YOU TUBE!
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Learn about our latest science-based children’s books and workbooks. Read here about reptiles, birds, cats in a variety of locations. Read the blog to learn how the books come to be, what inspires an author to write, and many more interesting aspects of the publishing business.
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