Nature – The Eyes Have It

Have you ever really considered how the eye works?

According to the National Eye Institute, light passes through the cornea and is bent to help the eye focus. Some of this light then enters through the pupil. The iris controls how much of the light is let in, and that light passes through the lens. The lens works together with the cornea to focus light correctly on the retina. And finally, when the light hits the retina, photoreceptors turn it into electrical signals. These signals travel from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain, and the brain turns the signals into an image. And all this happens instantaneously and continuously. Whew! Did you get all that? Source:

Of course, in nature, we find all kinds of eyes, each of which works in ways specific to the creature they dwell in. Let’s look at a few examples.

The eyes of a prairie dog are positioned on the side of its head. This appears to provide it with the ability to focus in a wide arc. The lenses of their eyes are also tinted amber, like having built-in sunglasses.

Good eyesight is essential for a bird’s safe flight. Birds have the largest eyes relative to their size, but have limited movement in the bony eye sockets. Eyes located on the sides of the head have a wide field of view while the eyes located on the front of the head provide binocular vision. Birds of prey have high-density receptors to maximize visual acuity. The placement of their eyes gives them good binocular vision enabling accurate judgment of distances. Nocturnal birds have tubular eyes, with less color detectors, but high-density rod cells that function better in poor light.

Birds’ eyes are protected by two eyelids, and a third transparent, movable membrane. The eyelids are not used for blinking. The third membrane (nictitating membrane) lubricates the eye as it passes side to side across it, much like a windshield wiper. This membrane also covers the eye in many aquatic birds when they are under water. When sleeping, the lower eyelid rises to cover the eye in most birds, but the horned owl is an exception. Its upper eyelid closes down to meet the lower eyelid.

Hippopotamus eyes, along with the ears and nostrils, are placed high on the roof of their skulls so they can submerge and still see above water, but when they swim underwater, nictitating membranes cover the eyes.

Most spiders can have eight, though some have six, eyes, each a single lens above the retina rather than multiple units like the fly or other insects. The specific arrangement and structure of the eyes is one of the features used to identify and classify the different species and genus. Most spiders’ eyes detect little more than brightness and motion, playing a pretty minor role in spider behavior. Species such as jumping spiders or wolf spiders have more developed eyes and can even perceive color.

But Did You Know? Cave spiders have no eyes at all.

One of the defining features of the common house fly is its compound eyes. Their eyes can often be so large that they take almost all the space on their head. These compound eyes comprise an array of tiny sensors—ommatidia—around 3,500 of them. The ommatidia are many tiny lenses all bunched together in a globular shape to form the eye. The large, round shape gives the fly almost a 360-degree view of its surroundings. It contains a corneal lens to focus light and pigments that sense color. The fly eye has the ability to process images at a speed more than six times faster than the human eye. That probably explains why they get away so often when we try to swat them. However, their ability to focus as clearly as the human eye has been sacrificed in order to have such big eyes. They also have excellent peripheral vision, few blind spots, and a better range of focus. And flies can actually see in slow motion. This ability has inspired scientists and engineers to develop cameras that mimic the eye of the fly in the creation of surveillance systems that can act just like the proverbial fly on the wall.

Human eyes, when working together, have a field of view approximately 200 degrees wide and 135 degrees tall, and when they work together correctly, they give you depth perception and 3D vision, as well as color vision.

Sight and vision, terms often used interchangeably, are not necessarily the same thing. Sight is what the eyes do and vision is the process that starts with sight and ends with the brain’s interpretation of what the eyes have seen in a way that it can use and understand. The human eye is one of the most important organs in the body.

The Bible talks about the eyes, too.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.” Proverbs 4:25

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19:8

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help?” Psalm 121:1

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 21:4, first part

Yes, we need only to look at the eye, in whatever creature we see, to be assured of the truth in David’s declaration, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14



It’s March and spring is on the way. I thought we could look at some of the things that start to happen in nature as winter’s cold hand finally lets go and the warmer breezes of spring begin to blow.

Crocuses, daffodils, and tulips begin to bloom in early spring. Hyacinths begin to bloom in mid-spring. And when late spring arrives irises begin to bloom.

The animals that have hibernated through the cold winter months start waking up. Soon bears, ground squirrels and chipmunks, groundhogs, hedgehogs, woodchucks, prairie dogs, skunks, bats, box turtles, bumblebees, garter snakes, snails, lizards, ladybugs, and moths will be popping out of their sleeping places to welcome the sunshine and warmer temperatures.

Did you know? In Florida, it rains lizards. When the temperature drops below 45 degrees F, the lizards undergo a temporary cold shock and fall out of trees and off walls and fences. But don’t worry, once the temperature gets warm again, they wake right up. Source:

Every spring, it is estimated that 3.5 million birds fly back home from the south where they have found food and warm temperatures during the winter months. These include meadowlarks, robins (though some robins do stick around), certain sparrows, bald eagles, ducks and geese, bluebirds, finches, and killdeers. Who hasn’t seen flocks of Canada geese flying overhead on their way to warm southern fields. Some birds fly as much as 1,000 miles to reach their winter home. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, when you hear the backyard birds—robins, sparrows, and the like—singing, that is one of the best predictors that spring is not far away.

“Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle southern breezes they bring.”

Did you know? The Baltimore oriole and the meadowlark are related. The bald eagle cruises at a leisurely 30 mph, but can dive up to 100 mph. A Ruppel’s griffon vulture holds the record for the highest flying altitude at 37,000 feet (that’s seven miles). The Arctic tern flies 49,700 miles in a year during their round-trip to and from the Arctic to their breeding grounds in the Antarctic. The bird lives 30 years, so that is the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back!

My favorite spring song is from the spring peepers. Frogs! Tiny amphibians singing loudly around dusk.

The barren trees and bushes show signs of life—the eastern redbud, southern magnolia, flowering dogwood, rhododendron and azalea, lilac (my personal favorite), flowering cherry, crabapple, and forsythia. Oak, elm, maple, and sycamore will begin to leaf-out later in mid-April.

As winter’s cold begins to give way to warm spring temperatures, we can praise God for His marvelous handiwork.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1–4

Spring and summer bring the beautiful flowers of so many varying colors and green leaves that wave gently in the breezes, along with the fruits and vegetables that can be harvested and eaten during summer and fall or stored away for winter and spring.

Fall brings the bright red, gold, and orange leaves that signal the end of summer and the soon onset again of winter.

But even in winter, we are reminded that spring will soon come again by the beautiful evergreen trees—the spruce, cypress, juniper, fir, redwood, and cedar. The needles of the evergreen can change color in the winter, but they do not drop from the tree.

Did you know? The true definition of an evergreen is simply a tree that doesn’t lose its leaves.

“The beauty of [the man who loves God is] his well-ordered life and godly conversation [that] inspires faith and hope and courage in others. This is Christianity in practice. Seek to be an evergreen tree.” My Life Today, 50

Other sources:;;

Nature – Dragonflies

There are approximately 5,000 known species of dragonflies, identified as a part of the Odonata order of insects. Of those species, 3,000 extant species of true dragonflies are known. Most are found in tropical regions and begin life in the water. The nymphal stage of its development can last up to five years, but its adult lifespan is only five weeks to one year.

The adult dragonfly’s body has three distinct segments: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. It has an exoskeleton made of hard plates held together with flexible membranes. The head is large with short antennae, and is nearly all eye, a wrap-around compound containing more than 30,000 lenses providing a 360-degree field of view. Two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs are attached to the thorax. It rarely uses its legs for walking; instead they are used for perching and climbing plants.

Dragonflies are predatory insects with serrated teeth. Once they enter the larval stage, which can last for up to two years, it will eat just about anything—tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, and even each other. It can eat hundreds of mosquitoes per day. Using its feet, it captures its prey while flying. In fact, it only eats what it catches while flying. It is such a proficient hunter that, according to a Harvard University study, it catches 90-95% of what it aims for.

Some dragonflies migrate—like the green darner and globe skimmer. Scientists have tracked their migratory habits by attaching tiny transmitters to their wings with a combination of eyelash adhesive and superglue. They found that they fly an average of 7.5 miles per day, although there was one over-achieving dragonfly that traveled 100 miles in one day. A globe skimmer dragonfly has the longest migration of any insect—11,000 miles back and forth across the Indian Ocean.

Dragonflies are technically cold-blooded, but they have ways to keep themselves warm or cool. Patrolling dragonflies use a rapid whirring movement of their wings to raise their body temperature. Perching dragonflies rely on solar energy and position their bodies to maximize the surface area exposed to sunlight. Other species use their wings as reflectors, tilting them to direct the solar radiation toward their bodies. Conversely, when the weather is hot, they position themselves to minimize sun exposure and use their wings to deflect the sunlight.

Modern dragonflies have a wingspan of two to five inches, but fossil records tell us that before the worldwide flood of Genesis, some dragonflies had wingspans of about 30 inches.

They’re strong too! About half of their body mass is devoted to flight muscles, giving them the ability to lift more than twice their bodyweight—a feat that no manmade aircraft has ever come close to matching.

Among the fastest of all insects, the dragonfly has been clocked at more than 25 mph. It can take off backward, accelerate quickly, and then stop in an instant, execute an unbanked turn as if on a pivot, somersault in the heat of combat, and fly virtually any maneuver using seemingly endless combinations of its four wings. Using wind tunnels, the United States Air Force has studied the amazing flight versatility of dragonflies hoping to uncover the secret to their incredible aerodynamic abilities.

“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ ” Revelation 5:13


The Duck-billed Platypus

The duck-billed platypus is a unique mammal, very unlike any other mammal. They make their homes in the freshwater creeks and rivers of Tasmania and the eastern and southeastern coasts of Australia. They grow to about 20 inches in length—15 inches of head and body and 5 inches of tail. Full grown they will weigh about three pounds. They are relatively long-lived, and live in the wild for an average of 12 years, 20 years in captivity. They are nocturnal, being most active from dusk to dawn, sleeping during the day.

Their thick fur is dark brown on top and tan on their bellies and repels water to keep them warm and dry even after hours of swimming. They have a soft, duck-like bill, and are similar to a beaver in that they have webbed feet, a paddle shaped tail, and spend much of their time in the water. However, unlike the beaver, they can only stay submerged in the water for a little over two minutes. They are excellent swimmers, using their front feet for propulsion and their back feet and tail for steering. When not swimming, the platypus retires to a short, straight resting burrow in the riverbank not far above water level, hidden in a tangle of roots. They sleep an average of 14 hours per day.

Their body resembles an otter. Both male and female are born with ankle spurs, but the male’s spurs located on the back of the ankles delivers a toxic venom comprised of molecules called defensin-like proteins, three of which are unique to the platypus. When stung by one of these spurs, a victim is effectively, and painfully, incapacitated. And while the venom might kill a small dog, it won’t actually kill a man, but it can be excruciatingly painful. Edema (fluid build-up in tissue) will rapidly develop around the wound and the pain can develop into a long-lasting hyperalgesia (heightened sensitivity to pain) that could persist for days or even months. The venom is only produced during mating season, so it is not to be a form of defense, but rather is used in competition with other males for mating rights. Interestingly, studies have found that the venom might be useful in the treatment of diabetes.

The platypus is considered a carnivore, eating insects, larvae, worms, shellfish, freshwater shrimp, and yabby (crayfish) found in the water. But what is fascinating is how it finds its fooda true miracle of God’s creation. When in the water, the platypus closes its eyes and ears, and flaps close over its nose, so it sees, hears, and smells nothing. Electroreceptors (which detect electric fields) are located in the skin of its bill with mechanoreceptors (which detect touch) uniformly distributed across the bill. These receptors detect the electrical impulse when muscular contractions cause a shrimp or yabby to move its tail. This is called electrolocation.

This mammal feeds from the bottom of the water bed. It scoops up the food along with bits of gravel and mud from the riverbed with its snout. All this material is stored in cheek pouches and mashed for swallowing. While the platypus is born with teeth, these fall out at a very early age, leaving horny plates behind upon which the gravel helps to grind up their food. The food is carried to the surface, where it is eaten. A platypus must eat 20% of its weight every day, so it spends most, if not all, of its time awake looking for food.

Unlike most mammals whose offspring are delivered by live birth, the platypus is a monotreme, a species of mammal that lays eggs. There are only five species of monotremes—the platypus, and the four species of echidnas. Mating occurs between June and October. Females have two ovaries, but only the left is functional. She lays one to three small, leathery eggs, similar to reptile eggs. The eggs develop in utero for about 28 days, and once laid, she will curl around them and they incubate externally about ten days more. Once hatched, the young platypus is blind, hairless, and extremely vulnerable. Being warm-blooded, the female feeds her young with milk. She does have mammary glands, but has no teats, so her milk is released through milk patches found in the pores of the skin in a manner very similar to sweating. She nurses in the burrow for three to four months, then the babies are ready to swim. They are considered fully mature by the age of two. There is no official term for the platypus young, but the terms platypup or puggle are often used unofficially.

The Aboriginal peoples used the platypus for food and fur until 1912 when it was prohibited by law.

As of 2019, with the exception of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California, all platypus held in captivity are exhibited in Australian zoos. Syd the platypus was one of three mascots for the Sydney 2000 Olympics along with an echidna and a kookaburra. Expo Oz was the mascot for the World Expo 88, held in Brisbane in 1988. The platypus also has appeared on Australian postage stamps and currency.

What a sense of humor our God has in creating the duck-billed platypus which looks like a duck, a beaver, and an otter combined into one mammal!

Resources:;; Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution, part 1; The Dodo, Platypus Facts by Alina Bradford – Live Science Contributor August 04, 2014; kids.nationalgeographic/animals/mammals/facts/platypus

The Black and Yellow Garden Spider

The Argiope aurantia (black and yellow garden spider) has distinctive yellow and black markings on the abdomen with a mostly white head and chest. Males range in size from 0.20–0.35 inches and females range from 0.75–1.10 inches and can be up to 2 inches across. They are found throughout the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America.

The spider eats flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web the female spins. The web can be as much as two feet across. When threatened, she will shake the web like a trampoline as a warning to not come near. If the warning is not heeded, she may bite. Her bite is harmless, much like a bee sting, however, if you are allergic, you should seek medical attention.

These spiders have amazingly efficient, even miraculous, chemical factories within their little bodies. They are capable of making up to seven different types of webbing and they have an inboard chemical plant that produces chemicals necessary for their survival.

The web is circular shaped made of sticky strands that are suspended on non-sticky spokes, which she uses to run along the web without getting stuck. The sticky webbing serves to catch an unsuspecting meal. It has a distinctive and conspicuous dense white zigzag structure in the middle called the stabilimentum. Because of this, they are often called zipper spiders. However, the exact function of the stabilimentum is unknown. Some speculate that since the web is very big, it might alert birds so they don’t fly through it.

When a bug is caught, the spider emits sheets of webbing to encircle the bug. Somehow it knows when to use sheets versus the fine strands of webbing that make up the web structure. All spiders are carnivores and prey primarily on insects, and will eat anything that doesn’t tear itself loose from the web. These garden spiders know that they have a potential meal when they feel vibrations in their web.

This garden spider mates in late summer or early fall. The male builds a small web near or inside the female’s web. He courts her by plucking strands on her web. Spider mating doesn’t always turn out so well for the male of the species, so when he approaches her, he comes prepared with a safety drop line at the ready, just in case she does not see him as the spider mate of her dreams and attacks him. However, once he is assured of her acceptance, he uses the two palpal bulbs on his pedipalps (located in front of his front legs) to transfer sperm to her. Once he has delivered both bulbs, he dies; and sometimes, she eats him.

The female lays her eggs at night on a sheet of silky material of her making, then covers them with another layer of silk, and finally a protective brownish silk which she then forms into a round, brown cocoon, like a ball with an upturned neck. This ball is about an inch in diameter. When depositing the eggs in the sac, she dusts each egg with a fine powder to keep them from sticking together. This is one of the chemicals made in the chemical factory within her body. That may not seem like much work, but considering that each female produces one to four sacs with as many as 1,000 eggs inside each, that would be quite a job.

The egg sac, or shell, normally stays intact all through the winter with the baby spiders emerging in the spring. As these spiderlings begin to grow inside this shell, they soon must exit it or die. At just the right time a fluid, called moulting fluid, is deposited at just the right place and a trap door is made in the shell that allows the spiderlings to crawl out. This is yet another chemical that is made in its chemical factory. This moulting occurs two or three times as the spiderlings are growing to adulthood.

As the spiderlings exit the egg sac in spring, some of them take up residence close to home, while others shoot out a strand of silk that is caught by the breeze, carrying the spiderlings to a distant new home.

What amazing little creatures these spiders are!!

They make seven different strands of webbing with the knowledge to know when and how to use each one of them. They make the powder that prevents the eggs from sticking together and make moulting fluid, with the knowledge of exactly when to deposit it inside the sac to make the trap door so the spiderlings can escape.

One has to ask if this could have evolved by chance over thousands of years. No, this is another creature that shows that it had an all-wise Creator who planned with infinite knowledge and care for all of its needs. What a wonderful Creator God we serve!

Sources: Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution, Volume 1 by Dr. Jobe Martin; NC State Extension Publications;;;

The Lion

A large, powerful cat, second only in size to the tiger, the lion has been given the title, “king of beasts.” They can live in a variety of habitats, but they like grassland, savannah, and scrubland the most.

A full-grown male is six to seven feet long and stands about four feet high at the shoulder. They can weigh as much as 500 pounds. The female, called a lioness, is typically five feet long and stands about three feet at the shoulders. She can weigh up to 400 pounds.

The coat is short and can be a buff yellow, orange-brown, silvery gray, or dark brown. The males have the shaggy mane around the neck just behind the ears, but the females do not. The mane can make the males look larger and more intimidating to rivals and more impressive to a potential mate. However, the mane is a product of high hormone levels in the lion, and if the hormone level decreases, he will lose the mane.

Lions live in prides made up of several generations of lionesses, breeding males, and their cubs. One might find a pride with as many as 37 members, but the average is around 15. They live in well-defined territory. If prey is abundant, that territory can be about eight square miles, but if prey is sparse, the territory could expand to as much as 250 square miles. That involves a lot of walking to find some lunch. Lions lay stake to their territory by roaring and scent marking.

Did you know? A lion’s guttural roar can be heard five miles away.

Living in an open savannah, the lionesses of a pride will do most of the hunting, and the males will take their meal from the lionesses’ kill. But don’t let that fool you, or make you believe that the male lions are lazy. They are actually adept hunters and in the scrubland or wooded habitat, they will spend less time with the pride and hunt their own food. Lions eat medium to large-sized animals such as zebra, antelope, and wildebeests, but you might find them taking on a hippo or elephant if the victim is young or sick. They often steal carrion or even fresh kills from hyenas.

A hunting pride is potentially nature’s most formidable predatory force on land. Once they have acquired their meal, they tend to gorge themselves and then rest for several days before hunting again. A male lion can consume more than 75 pounds of meat at a single meal and then rest for a week before resuming the hunt. If prey is abundant, both the lion and lioness will only hunt for two or three hours per day, spending the remaining hours of the day resting.

Lions are polygamous (meaning more than one lioness), but the lionesses typically stay with the one or two adult males in their pride. Breeding is a busy time, and once pregnant, a lioness will give birth in about 108 days, with a litter of one to six cubs.

Cubs are born helpless, blind, and wearing a thick coat marked with dark spots to provide camouflage. Once they reach maturity, the spots disappear. They begin to follow their mothers at three months, are weaned by the sixth or seventh month, and are participating in the hunt by 11 months. However, they probably cannot live on their own until about two years of age. They are considered fully mature at three to four years old.


The Bible identifies both Jesus and Satan as lions, though with entirely different characteristics.

“We are approaching the end of this earth’s history, and Satan is working as never before. He is striving to act as director of the Christian world. With an intensity that is marvelous he is working with his lying wonders. Satan is represented as walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He desires to embrace the whole world in his confederacy. Hiding his deformity under the garb of Christianity, he assumes the attributes of a Christian, and claims to be Christ Himself.” Last Day Events, 155

“Once again the Saviour was presented to John, under the symbol of the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ and of ‘a Lamb as it had been slain.’ These symbols represent the union of omnipotent power and self-sacrificing love. As the Lion of Judah, Christ will defend His chosen ones and bring them off victorious, because they accepted Him as ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ Christ the slain Lamb, who was despised, rejected, the victim of Satan’s wrath, of man’s abuse and cruelty—how tender His sympathy with His people who are in the world! And according to the infinite depths of His humiliation and sacrifice as the Lamb of God will be His power and glory as the Lion of Judah, for the deliverance of His people.” The Home Missionary, November 1, 1893

Christ’s representation as a lion ready to defend and protect His children should give us all comfort in times of difficulty, fear, and discouragement.

The Message of the Fungus

Decay is a part of nature that we don’t like to think about. But it is an essential part as long as there is death. Have you ever thought how you would walk through the woods if the trees that had died never decayed? The trees would be piled up over your head. Decay is a merciful provision of the great Creator to take care of the effects of death.

“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” was part of the curse after sin entered the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:19). Nature demonstrates this fact. There are several agents which are used in this process of building rich loamy soil out of dead vegetation. We will look especially at the fungus. When trees die they would never decay were it not for fungi and bacteria that break down organic compounds and return them to air and soil.

Let’s take a walk and see some of these fungi. The dead logs are sprinkled with several kinds. Some are shaped like sea shells. Others are cup-shaped. The colors are lovely. It is hard to remember they are part of the process of decay.

As I have observed these fungi from time to time, my mind has been impressed with this thought: The Creator could have made these formations ugly. But in His great love I can hear Him say, “Death and decay are so hard for My children to bear. I will make some lovely fungus to work on these dead trees. As they see that, they will think of My love and know that I will soften life’s hard experiences for them.”

I can serve a Creator like that, can’t you?

The Journal of Health and Healing, Vol. 7, No. 4, ©1982, 17

What Creature Kills the Most Humans?

That’s not a trick question. Truth is, when you factor in all the ways human beings are capable of killing themselves and each other, it is likely that more people are killed by humans, than any other creature on the planet.

But other than human beings, there is one creature that kills more humans than any other.

There is, however, one creature that kills more humans than any other.

You might think it would be snakes, lions, elephants, the hippopotamus, or sharks. You’d be right that any one of these creatures kill quite a few humans each year.

But none of these animals, bugs, or reptiles kill more than the itsy-bitsy mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit life-threatening diseases that kill 725,000-1,000,000 people every year.

The word mosquito comes from the Spanish meaning “little fly.” Their bodies are slender and segmented, with one pair of wings, a pair of halteres (two small club-shaped organs that help with body stabilization during flight), three pairs of long, hair-thin legs, and elongated mouthparts.

There are four stages to the mosquito’s life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The female lays her eggs by flying over the surface of the water, bobbing up and down to drop eggs as she goes. A female mosquito can lay 100-200 eggs during the course of the adult phase of her life cycle.

Adult mosquitoes typically mate within days after emerging from the pupal stage. It is a rather impersonal process, as the males simply swarm together around dusk and the females fly into the swarm to mate.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the algae and other organic material in the water. During this stage, the larvae can become a meal for freshwater animals, such as dragonflies, fish, and ducks.

The female mosquito is equipped with a proboscis—a tube-like mouthpart that can pierce the skin of its host and feed on their blood. The protein and iron they get from the blood helps in the production of eggs and thereby, the perpetuation of the species.

Male mosquitoes live for about five to seven days. Females live about a month in nature. Their lifespan is determined by temperature, humidity, and their ability to find a continual supply of hosts without becoming a meal themselves.

Mosquitoes don’t live or function well in temperatures below 50° F and are most active in temperatures between 59°-77° F. There are thousands of species of mosquitoes all around the world feeding on mammals (including humans), birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even fish.

Mosquitoes are known as vectors of parasitic diseases. That means they are a living agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen to other living organisms. While biting an infected host, they ingest pathogens and then through their saliva, transfer that pathogen to the next host. Only the females of certain species of mosquitoes spread these pathogens. In the United States, those species are: Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex. According to the World Health Organization, some of those diseases include: chikungunya, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, Rift Valley fever, Yellow fever, Zika, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile fever.

The worst disease carried by mosquitoes—simply because it kills so many people—is malaria, caused by a single-cell parasite called Plasmodium. It kills “more than 600,000 people every year; [with] another 200 million incapacitated for days at a time. It threatens half the world’s population, and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually.” This little parasite infects the mosquito, and once it reaches the mosquito’s midgut, the parasites multiply and migrate back to the salivary glands.

Many of the diseases spread by mosquitoes are endemic [restricted] to particular areas of the world and not often found in the United States and Europe, except perhaps in the case of the hapless traveler. Malaria, for example, is found mainly in areas with climatic factors like temperature, humidity, and rainfall—northern South America, Saudi Arabia, most of Africa, and Asia. African countries make up about 96% of all malaria deaths. In high altitude areas, colder seasons, and deserts, malaria does not occur or is less intense and more seasonal.

But why doesn’t the mosquito get sick from the infectious pathogen/parasite she picks up? Awanish Mishra at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Guwahati believes that it might be because the pathogen/parasite itself never comes into direct contact with the mosquitoe’s circulatory system. And El-Desouky Ammar at the University of Florida, IFAS & ARS-USDA suggests that the mosquito and the pathogen/parasite have a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to both.

To reduce the chances of becoming an early-evening snack for a group of lady mosquitoes this summer, follow these, and other, common sense guidelines:
•   Monitor and disrupt standing water in gutters, uneven concrete, potted plants or spare tires on a weekly basis

Discard waste in sealed plastic bags and ensure trash is collected regularly

Fit water storage containers with tight lids and use fine-mesh coverings on storage vessels

Wear light-colored, long-sleeve clothes, use insect repellent and sleep under a bed net

Fit windows and doors with screens

Use insecticide sprays or vaporizers in and around houses


Animal people killed note
Snake 50,000  
Dog 25,000 mainly from the transmission of rabies
Assassin Bug 10,000 includes the tsetse fly, a primary carrier of malaria
Freshwater Snail 10,000 parasitic worm that carries the disease schistosomiasis
Scorpion 2,600  
Roundworm &Tapeworm 2,000-2,500  
Crocodile 1,000  
Hippopotamus 500  
Elephant 100  
Lion 100  
Shark 10  


The Megapode

The megapode, also called the Australian incubator bird, is a medium-to-large sized, chicken-like bird with a small head, heavy legs, and big feet with sharp claws. The name literally means large foot. They typically live in wooded areas, and are browsers—herbivores that eat leaves and the fruit of shrubs. There are 20 living species of the bird. Found in Oceania—a geographical region including Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and surrounding Pacific islands), Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia—their eggs are considered a delicacy. The egg is twice the size of a chicken egg, weighs about half a pound, and the yolk is about four times bigger, making up 50-70% of the egg’s weight. The megapode itself weighs about 3.5 to 4 pounds.

The male megapode builds the nest—a massive nest as much as 50’ across and 20’ high—out of decaying vegetation, like a huge mulch pile.

The female has only two jobs: approving the nest and laying eggs. She digs around in the nest and if it meets with her approval, good for her mate. But if it doesn’t, he builds a new one. Keep in mind the size of the nest in relationship to the size of the bird; this is major craftsmanship. Once the nest is approved, the female will lay 25 to 30 eggs, one egg every 3 days for up to 7 months. The shell is very thick with pores that are shaped like ice cream cones. Once the eggs are laid, she leaves.

The man of the nest now takes over responsibility for the nest and eggs. He tends his nest by adding or removing litter to regulate the internal heat while the eggs develop, keeping the temperature at about 91° F and 99.5% humidity. If the temperature varies much more than 1°, the chicks will die. If it gets too dry, the chicks will die. So much pressure! So each day he digs in the nest and checks the temperature and humidity. If the mound is too hot, too cold, or too dry, he goes to work to cool it off or warm it up or increase the humidity. Once the chicks are hatched, his work is done.

In the egg, as the chicks grow, it eventually can’t get enough air and begins to scrape off the inside of the egg to make the ice-cream-cone-shaped air holes bigger. Unlike other chicks, a megapode chick does not have an eggtooth, the sharp, temporary projection at the end of the beak to chip away at the eggshell until it is able to breathe and ultimately break free. Instead, the chick uses its powerful claws, and once free from the shell, lays on its back, tunneling its way through the sand and vegetable matter to the surface of the mound. It does this by packing the sticks and dirt that fall on its chest under its wings, repeating this for up to three days, until it has reached the surface.

Chicks hatch fully feathered, ready and able to fly, and to live independently of their parents because, well, they’ve already left. So they start to search for and find food. They raise themselves to maturity with no training, and go on to either build a nest or make eggs for the next generation.

So did the megapode evolve or was there some master plan to their design and very specific habits? Let’s see.

How does the female know if the nest is just right? Why is she not involved in caring for the eggs like most other bird species?

How does the male know how to build this complicated nest, and have the ability and knowledge to keep the temperature and humidity precisely controlled?

How were the air vents shaped like ice cream cones with the tip pointing toward the chick? And how does the chick know to scrape at these vents to get more air as it chips away to finally hatch out of the shell?

How does the chick know to dig out of the nest, which way to dig, and how to pack the debris beneath it? How does it know to hunt for food and catch it? Then the next year, the cycle begins again with the mature chicks taking on their roles with no training.

How could all of this be a product of mindless, random, accidental, purposeless chance over a massive time period? These physical attributes, instincts, skills, and knowledge had to be designed and instilled in these birds by a Creator or the whole species would have been extinct with the first pair of birds. Only God, the Creator, could do this.

Sources: Adapted from materials by Dr. Jobe Martin D.M.D., TH.M.;;

Nature – Out of the Fire – Knobcone pine

On the west coast of the United States grows an amazing example of “beauty from ashes”—the Knobcone pine. This tree does not attract a second glance; however, observing it for any length of time, one would see what makes this tree so special.

The pinecones of most species maintain the natural cycle of life by dropping their seeds in the fall of each year which then germinate with the coming rains, thus perpetuating the species, but the Knobcone doesn’t do this. Its cones cling to its branches year after year, closed firmly against the environment, glued shut with resin, a phenomenon called serotiny. An extremely determined squirrel may chew through a pinecone or two, but for the most part these cones resist predators and remain unharmed.

Things may continue this way for years, 50 or more. The possibility of the Knobcone pine’s extinction looks real. The situation appearing hopeless until one day, a forest fire sweeps through the forest, reducing all in its path to smoking ashes. The Knobcone pine is now a charred stump with no possibility of reviving. To our logical minds this looks like the end for this tree; but God created something miraculous when He formed it.

The fire melts the resin, allowing the heavily armored and insulated cones to open, releasing its seeds. These areas of burn are soon covered in dense carpets of seedlings, thriving because there is reduced competition from other plants. Over a period of time, lasting up to four years after a burn, they will still be scattering seeds, replanting what was lost, and more.

The seeds of a Knobcone pine grow best in soil with a higher pH level. A fire temporarily creates this condition. All the cones produced since the tree was a sapling, or since the last fire, are caused to open by the heat and discharge their seeds soon after a forest fire. Fire is essential for the completion of the pinecone’s life cycle. Thus fire, the destroyer of these trees, is directly responsible for the new growth that follows. In the aftermath of destruction, seedlings of life are born, springing up out of the ashes.

The Heartbeat of the Remnant, Spring 2017, Angela Zimmerman;

The Refiner’s Fire

There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will

I’m learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire’s embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I’m not sure that I’ll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive

The Refiner’s fire
Has now become my sole desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner’s fire

Written by: Jon Mohr and John Randall Dennis