Threads in the Web.com is an appreciation of our natural world. Natural History is the broadest of disciplines, reaching from the distant past to the future, the sub-atomic to the cosmic, the larvaceans to the cetaceans. Reflections upon its various facets are expressed here through narratives on topics from the wild. This web site features those descriptions, from Steve Daubert’s books and essays. The style there is narrative non-fiction. References to the primary scientific source material are appended in the notes after the stories.
A picture may tell a thousand words, but these narratives cannot be told in pictures. They involve ecological relationships, or evolutionary pathways. Some are set in outer space, others in the darkness of the ocean’s depths. They are stories better imagined than seen. Nonetheless, pictures have their place. They showcase landscapes a viewer may never have traveled; they serve to describe settings. A few such pictures follow, here below, as part of the introduction to this website. Welcome.
Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum) on a volcanic peak ten thousand feet above sea level in Polynesia. The Silversword plant was once a low-growing, nondescript, leafy shrub native to the continental mainland. It has since adapted to a montane desert landscape overlooking the tropics, thousands of miles across the ocean from its primary origin. The path of the Silversword along its evolutionary shifts in habitat and growth habit is described in chapter 15 of “Threads from the Web of Life.”
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus), a member of an order of birds that includes the motmots, bee-eaters, and kingfishers. Birds are the topics of many of the stories listed on this website. Avian behaviors and relationships are readily studied, since the birds are so readily observed. As such, they serve as representatives of the rest of the (more cryptic) creatures in the wild. One of the stories in the essays section of this website describes a bird — the Red-throated Caracara.
The Paper Kite (Idea idea) displaying courtship behavior. This is a large butterfly (sometimes almost 6 inches in wing-span). It is a member of the Danaids, the butterfly subfamily that includes the Monarch. Larval Paper Kites feed on latex-producing Indo-Pacific vines in the same plant family as the milkweeds. Like the birds, the butterflies are the most readily observable and studied representatives of their phylum. The first story in “Between the Rocks and the Stars” describes an association between butterflies and the army ants.
Image at the top of the page: Blue Fusiliers (and some Yellow Fusiliers) mid- ocean, South Pacific.