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Slithering Creatures

Snakes have slithered across the surface of the Earth for millions of years. They are part of the reptile group, primitive beings in the evolution of life. They have always captivated the imagination of humans, who give snakes a leading role in various mythologies.

Snakes are members of the subgroup ''serpents'' and, according to scientific classification, are divided among some 20 families for a total of more than 2,900 species.

The most numerous family is the colubridae, but the most remarkable are cobras, rattlesnakes, or the enormous constrictors, like the anaconda.

Though serpents appear frequently in our cultures and legends, they tend to be rejected by our collective unconscious. Many people fear snakes because some are truly very dangerous, capable of biting and injecting their victims with deadly venom.

But there are those of the opposite opinion, evident in the fact that most Internet websites about snakes are maintained by people who keep these creatures as pets. And they assert that there are plenty of reasons to promote the peaceful coexistence between snakes and humans.

Thesnake.org
Snakes
Snakebite Emergency Information
Scientific Classification
Rattlesnake Museum
Anacondas: Biggest Snakes

A Big Little World

Ants appeared on Earth some 100 million years ago, and even became one of the planet's most representative inhabitants, with social practices that continue to amaze children, strategists, engineers, psychologists and scientists alike.

These small creatures are the object of study in the scientific discipline known as myrmecology. And it is no accident that they are the target of investigation because the word ''ant'' describes approximately 20,000 species.

According to the scientific classification, they are members of the family Formicadae, of the order Hymenopteron. But their best-known trait is that they belong to a group known as ''social insects.''

Ants build amazing homes - ant's nests or anthills - where they establish communities in which each member serves a purpose. Some theorists say that these insects have thus been able to put the idea of ''super-organism'' into practice.

Ant colonies begin with the fertilization of the queen ant. The fascination produced by the abilities, loyalty, specificity and perfection of the ants' work has led some people to develop the hobby of creating artificial ant colonies in an attempt to get a closer look at how they function.

On the Internet, there are portals on ants, educational websites that cover the complex existence of these tiny creatures, and some sites that focus on certain species, such as the fire ants, considered a plague in the United States.

Portal: Myrmecology.org
Portal: Antcolony.org
Ants: Photo Encyclopedia
Nova: The Little Creatures Who Run the World
Ant Information
Fire Ants in the United States: Pest and Health Hazard

Light Gives Life

Photosynthesis is essential for all plant life on Earth. Millions of years ago, this complex process arose as the key for triggering the proliferation of organic life - and it is repeated everywhere and every day.

Photosynthesis is the transformation of solar energy and other compounds, such as carbon dioxide and water, into the chemical energy that sustains life. The resulting products are oxygen, which we all know is vital for all living beings, and ATP (adenosine triphosphate), source of energy for all organisms.

Plants play a leading role in this process by storing chlorophyll, the compound that makes the transformation of light into chemical energy possible.

Information on photosynthesis can be found long and wide on the Internet. Some sites focus on simple explanations of the amazing process, aimed at schoolchildren, while others provide a more detailed look.

Directory: Photosynthesis on the Internet
What is Photosynthesis?
Hypertextbook: Photosynthesis
International Society for Photosynthesis Research
Alien Explorers: Photosynthesis


 

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Credit: Freestockphoto.com
Credit: Freestockphoto.com