Monthly Archives: February 2014


The Dung Beetle. Despite the bad reputation the Dung Beetle receives, mostly from its unappealing name, is an organism which deserves much more appraisal. Its generally unrecognized intelligence is what makes this creature suitable for my nature blog. Its innate capability of navigation is remarkably unique nor has not been seen anywhere else in the animal kingdom.

The Dung Beetle can thrive on any continent (besides Antarctica) and can live in a wide variety of habitats including grasslands, deserts, forests, wetlands, or farmlands. These beetles are known for searching for nearby dung with their acute sense of smell, and then rolling the feces into a ball to roll away. The Dung Beetles want to secure their fragment of the feces thereby rolling it into a ball and pushing it miles away–always in a straight line despite oncoming obstacles. Depending on the species of the Dung Beetle, the insect will either feed on the feces, live inside of it, or bury it into the ground. This insect plays a vital role in propagating dead matter for detrivores to feed off of. Some unique species of Dung Beetle can push up to 1414 times their own body weight, the equivalent to a human pushing six double-decker buses full of people. Despite all these astounding facts, these are not the reasons why I picked this insect for my blog.

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As stated early, the Dung Beetle is known to roll a ball out of feces and push it in a straight line for miles, even if obstacles stand in the way. After selecting their fecal matter and rolling it into a seemingly perfect sphere, the beetles are known to dance around the dung with their head and legs pointed into the sky. It has been very recently proven that this ritualistic dance is not a performance but reconnaissance. The beetle is looking up at the sky, specifically the light emitted by the Milky Way, sun and moon, to gain a grasp of their geographic/cosmic location. This beetle is the only known insect and, besides birds, seals, and humans, to use the stars as an internal navigation system.

The Dung Beetle is an extraordinary creature, with extreme importance in the animal kingdom. The insects utilize intellectual navigation skills to aid in the propagation of fertilizing the earth and detrivores with dead organic matter. Through years of evolutionary benefit, these celestial cartographers were somehow able to recognize the cosmic bodies and use them as road map.


Located in Southern Iceland, the Skogafoss waterfall has been one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in all of Iceland. The name comes from ‘skogur’ meaning forest and ‘foss’ meaing falls. This waterfall is one of the biggest in the country with a width of 82 feet, and a 200-foot drop-off. Because of its broad width and large amounts of falling water, the spray from the base of the waterfall consistently creates a double or single rainbow on sunny days. This is also one of the few handful of waterfalls in the world where you can walk behind it, due to mountain formation and shifting glaciers. This humbling waterfall is quietly nestled in a town near the southern coast of Iceland in between two snow-capped mountains.

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According to legend, the first viking to ever settle near Skogafoss waterfall, named Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure behind the waterfall, likely due to the fact that there’s always a treasure at the end of a rainbow. Years later locals attempted to pull the chest out of the spray of the waterfall, yet the handle of the chest broke off, dropping the chest. The treasure chest has never been found since, yet the handle was allegedly given to the local church. The ancient church door ring is now in a museum. Whether the folklore holds true is debatable, though.

The river below the falls is home to many salmon and char, a great fishing destination for many locals. This stretch of beautifully flowing water hosts one of the most alluring hiking trails in all of the world. The path follows the river upstream as it is said to have  dramatically extravagant waterfalls parallel to the hiking trails. Apparently, the farther and higher you ascend up the hiking trail, the more beautiful and humbling the view becomes.

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Iceland has always been an intriguing nation for me. With such a rich history, beautiful landscape, complex language, and overall peaceful economic and political procedures, this is one of the most unique countries in the world. Iceland is home to countless natural beauties as the nation takes pride in preserving the natural landscape that has taken millions of years to form. Skogafoss waterfall is only one example of the countless natural wonders the lay within the Icelandic borders.


Located on the central Flores Island of Indonesia, about 50 km east of the Indonesian capital of Ende, is a volcano. This volcano is called Kelimutu, towering over the local surrounding villages of this generally unindustrialized region of Indonesia. Yet, the volcanic focal point of this national park is quickly gaining recognition as one of the most beautiful natural phenomena throughout the south Pacific.

Kelimutu is one of the few volcanoes of Indonesia classified as ‘ribu’—meaning it is taller than 1000 meters—measuring around 1600 meters; yet this is not why I have chosen it for my blog. Rather, close to the summit of the volcano lies three crater lakes with outstandingly dynamic characteristics. Each of the three lakes are known to change colors, alternating between various shades of reds, blues, whites, blacks, and greens. The local villages believe that the lakes are the resting place of the souls of their ancestors, and therefore manifesting their anger, happiness, nostalgia, or love through the variety of magnificent colors they unknowingly cast.

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Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of the Old People) is the westernmost lake, slightly alienated from the other two, and usually emits a dark blue/black tint. This is where the spirits of the old go when they have lived a fully righteous life. The other two adjacent lakes, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Enchanted/Bewitched Lake), share one crater but are separated by a midway crater wall. Both of these bipolar lakes are usually blood-red, fluorescent green, shades of an aquatic blue, or olive-black.  Any young soul, male or female, if they have lived an unexpectedly short life, experiencing death at too soon of an age, will forever reside in the Lake of Young Men and Maidens. On the other hand, anyone young, old, male, female, if they have lived an amoral life, they will seek the Enchanted blood-red Lake. It is an anticipatory trek up the volcano, especially for the neighboring village members, who await to see the current mood of the spirits.

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The change in water color is due to volcanic activation underneath the cratered lakes, triggered by fumaroles. Fumaroles are literally openings of the planet’s surface from which various gases leak. Hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide all spontaneously seep out of the Earth’s crust, revealing the present gaseous emotions of the planet itself. Interestingly, the rim of the craters is loosely made up of unsteady rocks and minerals, occasionally resulting in people slipping into the volcanically steaming waters and boiling to death—physically joining the eternally restless souls who dynamically shape this natural beauty.