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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 05:00 pm:   

Move over orangutans, elephants and cats:

http://www.maggotart.com

Beats being fish bait, I guess!
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Tess
Posted on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 05:55 am:   

O_o

My first reaction was "ew!" Then I saw the art. It is quite striking, but all I can think is "run, Maggot, run!" Or crawl. Slither. Whatever it is maggots do to get around.
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J. Erik Lundberg
Posted on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 09:39 am:   

At first I thought this was art made out of maggots, instead of art made by maggots, which is much better and slightly less gross.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 12:52 pm:   

Tess - hmm, writhe? Squirm? Breakdance? Maybe they move differently when they're soaked in paint...

Jason - I once saw art made out of a snail. It was a piece of clear acetate hanging from the ceiling on a string, with a snail on it. The snail crawled around and around the acetate, leaving slime trails in the process. A girl sat in the room with a bucket of snails, so that the snail could be changed every 15 minutes or so. I'd have happily taken her place, so that I could put 'snail wrangler' on my CV. But I guess 'maggot wrangler' would have equal cachet.
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Luís
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 01:59 am:   

Speaking of gross stuff, don't you Aussies have art made from roadkill, especially squashed frogs?
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 02:23 am:   

there's a video floating round that they play in highschools that shows people smoking cane toads...
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 02:40 pm:   

Luis - there is indeed roadkill art:
http://www.alisonholland.com/newtimes.htm
The squashed frogs are cane toads, which are non-native and cause a lot of problems. And, I've heard, make an amusing popping sound when you run over them in a car...
And here is some cane toad art:
http://www4.tpgi.com.au/gavski/toadscape/toadscape.html
You can also buy souvenirs, such as purses, made out of dead cane toads.

Ben - one of those helful instructional videos, eh?
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 07:15 pm:   

kirsten: the later half of my teenager years are a blur of toad flashbacks.
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Luís
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 07:40 pm:   

Cane toads, that's right. I read about them some time ago but forgot what they were exactly, so thanks for joggling my memory.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 01:15 am:   

Today I came home to find that the neighbour's cat, who is staying with us, had raked all the sand in his litter tray, zen-garden-like, in patterns around the 'rocks'.
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Anna T
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 03:15 pm:   

Great maggots, Kirsten, Now, Luis, you are right. And Ben, you too. I have that video, which is hilarious.I highly recommend it. "Cane Toads: An unnatural history"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6302212812/102-0262493-3769766?v=g lance They fascinate me, too, so they featured top of the Irresistibles on my site a couple of weeks ago. They're now archived in "More"
http://www.annatambour.net/More.htm
See 17 Oct,
"The Unwanted Amphibian"
and
"Cane toad leather gifts 'for birthdays and Christmases, weddings and anniversaries'"
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 04:19 pm:   

Anna, this in your cane toad archive is very interesting:
' Some Queensland bird and rodent species have somehow learned how to eat cane toads without exposing themselves to the toxin. They kill the toad and turn it over onto its back. They pull away the soft belly skin and partake of the internal organs, leaving the skin and the deadly paratoid glands behind. This behaviour has only taken a mere 60 years to learn - very fast on the evolutionary scales.'

How are they passing on knowledge of this rather tricky skill to their offspring? And how did the birds and rodents know the toad was poisonous, and that the toxin was in the skin and the parotid glands?
(I'm always on the lookout for findings that suggest animals are smarter than we think they are.)

Meanwhile, my hat off to the kangaroo poo people. I was wondering what to send overseas for Christmas presents; now I know I need look no further. (But where are the dropbear droppings?)


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Anna T
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 07:59 pm:   

Kirsten,that was an interesting statement about some species having learned how to eat cane toads, but I think it should be read with some caution, if it is like many statements about Australian wildlife that are made, and taken as given. Firstly, say some individuals who are carrion eaters and opportunists, such as the large crow family, come upon some of the many dead cane toads. There's ample time to taste, and decide that the side with the poison tastes like ukh, and to turn it over. Just speculating here, by the way. But going on, just say--and then they teach their offspring. Still, it would be rash to jump to conclusions as to a species, though a group could have a certain way that it acts. But it would be natural for say, an animal to have gotten a part dose of nasty-tasting poison, and to have explored another way to skin a cat.
The kangaroos in our area are pretty shy showing themselves in the open, because there have been too many of them hunted, but in a golf course near the beach they find the grass and shade quite yummy, and barely look around when the balls are hit, close enough to brain them.
Given enough time, a species' change in behaviour can occur, such as in mongooses who are expert cobra-killers, or the roadrunnner in the US,who makes a meal of a rattlesnake--in both cases, by first observing the most stringent, pre-meal guidelines, passed down from generation to generation.
Since living in the bush, I have been lucky enough to be able to observe the difference between some species and their characterists, and some small communities of them. The honeyeater birds are hard-wired, I guess you could say, being able to feed themselves from an early age, and knowing just what to do. A baby eagle hunted with its parents for at least a year. A gang of teenaged magpies took up a game against our orchard chickens, divebombing them to see the chickens run. When the instigator of the gang died, the game stopped, and the magpies lived amicably in the same area as the chickens, as they had before. As to the parrots, a little over a year ago a single king parrot followed a lost pigeon to our balcony, and learned that the lost pigeon's food was okay, so when the pigeon recovered and flew off, the parrot decided to keep coming, so I fed it, too. Eventually, its mate came to visit, too, and then they had their clutch, and then a complex society of other relations came too, and now I'm still trying to figure out how their society works, and I'll be buggered if I can figure it out at all.
What I do know, though, from experience, is that some of the most repeated truths about the Australian bush are complete rubbish, and that includes the way the animals here live and what they do, and even how rare they are. So these government-funded tomes are good for the pictures, but I'm certain that if the animals and the plants (!) could read, you'd be able to hear them laughing at the truths stated therein, no matter where you live.

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