Insects or Insecta are hexapod invertebrates and the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Definitions and circumscriptions vary; as used here, the term Insecta is synonymous with Ectognatha. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body, three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. Insects are the most diverse group of animals; the total number of extant species is estimated at between ten million. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species reside in the oceans, which are dominated by another arthropod group, crustaceans. Nearly all insects hatch from eggs. Insect growth is constrained by the inelastic exoskeleton and development involves a series of molts; the immature stages differ from the adults in structure and habitat, can include a passive pupal stage in those groups that undergo four-stage metamorphosis. Insects that undergo three-stage metamorphosis lack a pupal stage and adults develop through a series of nymphal stages.
The higher level relationship of the insects is unclear. Fossilized insects of enormous size have been found from the Paleozoic Era, including giant dragonflies with wingspans of 55 to 70 cm; the most diverse insect groups appear to have coevolved with flowering plants. Adult insects move about by walking, flying, or sometimes swimming; as it allows for rapid yet stable movement, many insects adopt a tripedal gait in which they walk with their legs touching the ground in alternating triangles, composed of the front & rear on one side with the middle on the other side. Insects are the only invertebrates to have evolved flight, all flying insects derive from one common ancestor. Many insects spend at least part of their lives under water, with larval adaptations that include gills, some adult insects are aquatic and have adaptations for swimming; some species, such as water striders, are capable of walking on the surface of water. Insects are solitary, but some, such as certain bees and termites, are social and live in large, well-organized colonies.
Some insects, such as earwigs, show maternal care, guarding their eggs and young. Insects can communicate with each other in a variety of ways. Male moths can sense the pheromones of female moths over great distances. Other species communicate with sounds: crickets stridulate, or rub their wings together, to attract a mate and repel other males. Lampyrid beetles communicate with light. Humans regard certain insects as pests, attempt to control them using insecticides, a host of other techniques; some insects damage crops by feeding on sap, fruits, or wood. Some species are parasitic, may vector diseases; some insects perform complex ecological roles. Insect pollinators are essential to the life cycle of many flowering plant species on which most organisms, including humans, are at least dependent. Many insects are considered ecologically beneficial as predators and a few provide direct economic benefit. Silkworms produce silk and honey bees produce honey and both have been domesticated by humans.
Insects are consumed as food in 80% of the world's nations, by people in 3000 ethnic groups. Human activities have effects on insect biodiversity; the word "insect" comes from the Latin word insectum, meaning "with a notched or divided body", or "cut into", from the neuter singular perfect passive participle of insectare, "to cut into, to cut up", from in- "into" and secare "to cut". A calque of Greek ἔντομον, "cut into sections", Pliny the Elder introduced the Latin designation as a loan-translation of the Greek word ἔντομος or "insect", Aristotle's term for this class of life in reference to their "notched" bodies. "Insect" first appears documented in English in 1601 in Holland's translation of Pliny. Translations of Aristotle's term form the usual word for "insect" in Welsh, Serbo-Croatian, etc; the precise definition of the taxon Insecta and the equivalent English name "insect" varies. In the broadest circumscription, Insecta sensu lato consists of all hexapods. Traditionally, insects defined in this way were divided into "Apterygota" —the wingless insects—and Pterygota—the winged insects.
However, modern phylogenetic studies have shown that "Apterygota" is not monophyletic, so does not form a good taxon. A narrower circumscription restricts insects to those hexapods with external mouthparts, comprises only the last three groups in the table. In this sense, Insecta sensu stricto is equivalent to Ectognatha. In the narrowest circumscription, insects are restricted to hexapods that are either winged or descended from winged ancestors. Insecta sensu strictissimo is equivalent to Pterygota. For the purposes of this article, the middle definition is used; the evolutionary relationship of insects to other animal groups remains unclear. Although traditionally grouped with millipedes and centiped
The snowshoe hare called the varying hare, or snowshoe rabbit, is a species of hare found in North America. It has the name "snowshoe" because of the large size of its hind feet; the animal's feet prevent it from sinking into the snow when it walks. Its feet have fur on the soles to protect it from freezing temperatures. For camouflage, its fur turns white during rusty brown during the summer, its flanks are white year-round. The snowshoe hare is distinguishable by the black tufts of fur on the edge of its ears, its ears are shorter than those of most other hares. In summer, it feeds on plants such as grass and leaves, it can sometimes be seen feeding in small groups. This animal is active at night and does not hibernate; the snowshoe hare may have up to four litters in a year. Males compete for females, females may breed with several males. A major predator of the snowshoe hare is the Canadian lynx. Historical records of animals caught by fur hunters over hundreds of years show the lynx and hare numbers rising and falling in a cycle, which has made the hare known to biology students worldwide as a case study of the relationship between numbers of predators and their prey.
Snowshoe hares occur from Newfoundland to Alaska. Locations of subspecies are as follows: Lepus americanus americanus – Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and North Dakota L. a. cascadensis – British Columbia and Washington L. a. columbiensis – British Columbia and Washington L. a. dalli – Mackenzie District, British Columbia, Yukon L. a. klamathensis – Oregon and California L. a. oregonus – Oregon L. a. pallidus – British Columbia L. a. phaeonotus – Ontario, Saskatchewan, Michigan and Minnesota L. a. pineus – British Columbia and Washington L. a. seclusus – Wyoming L. a. struthopus – Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Maine L. a. tahoensis – California, western Nevada L. a. virginianus – Ontario, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee L. a. washingtonii – British Columbia and Oregon Snowshoe hares are found in boreal forests and upper montane forests. In the Pacific Northwest, snowshoe hares occupy diverse habitats, including mature conifers, immature conifers, alder /salmonberry, Sitka spruce /salal, cedar swamps.
In western Oregon, snowshoe hares were present in brush patches of vine maple, willows and other shrubs. In Utah, snowshoe hares used Gambel oak in the northern portion of the Gambel oak range. In the Southwest, the southernmost populations of snowshoe hares occur in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico, in subalpine scrub: narrow bands of shrubby and prostrate conifers at and just below timberline that are composed of Engelmann spruce, bristlecone pine, limber pine, and/or common juniper. In Minnesota, snowshoe hares use jack pine uplands, tamarack bogs, black spruce bogs, sedge and scrub fens. In New England, snowshoe hares favor second-growth aspen -birch near conifers, but other forest types occupied by snowshoe hares include aspens, paper birch, northern hardwoods, red maple, balsam fir, red spruce -balsam fir, eastern hemlock, northern red oak, oak -pine, eastern white pine -northern red oak-red maple, eastern white pine. Snowshoe hares use shrub swamps dominated by buttonbush and silky dogwood.
Further details on plant communities used by snowshoe hares in different regions are in Bittner and Rongstad. Snowshoe hares are crepuscular to nocturnal, they are shy and secretive and spend most of the day in shallow depressions, called forms, scraped out under clumps of ferns, brush thickets, downed piles of timber. They use the large burrows of mountain beavers as forms. Diurnal activity level increases during the breeding season. Juveniles are more active and less cautious than adults. Snowshoe hares are active year-round; the breeding season for hares is stimulated by new vegetation and varies with latitude and yearly events. Breeding begins in late December to January and lasts until July or August. In northwestern Oregon, male peak breeding activity is at the minimum in November. In Ontario, the peak is in May and in Newfoundland, the peak is in June. Female estrus begins in March in Newfoundland and Maine, in early April in Michigan and Colorado. First litters of the year are born from mid-April to May.
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat
Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Though the term Western Europe is used, there is no agreed-upon definition of the countries that it encompasses. Significant historical events that have shaped the concept of Western Europe include the rise of Rome, the adoption of Greek culture during the Roman Republic, the adoption of Christianity by Roman Emperors, the division of the Latin West and Greek East, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the reign of Charlemagne, the Viking invasions, the East–West Schism, the Black Death, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Protestant Reformation as well as the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Church, the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the two world wars, the Cold War, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the expansion of the European Union. Prior to the Roman conquest, a large part of Western Europe had adopted the newly developed La Tène culture; as the Roman domain expanded, a cultural and linguistic division appeared between the Greek-speaking eastern provinces, which had formed the urbanized Hellenistic civilization, the western territories, which in contrast adopted the Latin language.
This cultural and linguistic division was reinforced by the political east-west division of the Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire controlled the two divergent regions between the 3rd and the 5th centuries; the division between these two was enhanced during Late antiquity and the Middle Ages by a number of events. The Western Roman Empire collapsed. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire known as the Greek or Byzantine Empire and thrived for another 1000 years; the rise of the Carolingian Empire in the west, in particular the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, enhanced the cultural and religious distinctiveness between Eastern and Western Europe. After the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, by the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, the gradual fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire, the division between Roman Catholic and Protestant became more important in Europe than that with Eastern Orthodoxy.
In East Asia, Western Europe was known as taixi in China and taisei in Japan, which translates as the "Far West". The term Far West became synonymous with Western Europe in China during the Ming dynasty; the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci was one of the first writers in China to use the Far West as an Asian counterpart to the European concept of the Far East. In Ricci's writings, Ricci referred to himself as "Matteo of the Far West"; the term was still in use in the late early 20th centuries. Christianity is still the largest religion in Western Europe, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 71.0% of the Western European population identified themselves as Christians. The East–West Schism, which has lasted since the 11th century, divided Christianity in Europe, the world, into Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity. With certain simplifications, Western Europe is thus Catholic or Protestant and uses the Latin alphabet. Eastern Europe uses the Greek alphabet or Cyrillic script.
According to this definition, Western Europe is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, including countries which are considered part of Central Europe now: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. Eastern Europe, meanwhile is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine for instance; the schism is the break of communion and theology between what are now the Eastern and Western churches. This division dominated Europe for centuries, in opposition to the rather short-lived Cold War division of four decades. Since the Great Schism of 1054, Europe has been divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Christian churches in the east. Due to this religious cleavage, Eastern Orthodox countries are associated with Eastern Europe. A cleavage of this sort is, however problematic.
During the four decades of the Cold War, the definition of East and West was rather simplified by the existence of the Eastern Bloc. Historians and social scientists view the Cold War definition of Western and Eastern Europe as outdated or relegating. During the final stages of World War II, the future of Europe was decided between the Allies in the 1945 Yalta Conference, between the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, the U. S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Premier of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. Post-war Europe would be divided into two major spheres: the Western Bloc, influenced by the United States, the Eastern Bloc, influenced by the Soviet Union. With the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain; this term had been used during World War II by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk in the last days of the war.
Bulgaria the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and North Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, the Black Sea to the east; the capital and largest city is Sofia. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country. One of the earliest societies in the lands of modern-day Bulgaria was the Neolithic Karanovo culture, which dates back to 6,500 BC. In the 6th to 3rd century BC the region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians and ancient Macedonians; the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire lost some of these territories to an invading Bulgar horde in the late 7th century. The Bulgars founded the First Bulgarian Empire in AD 681, which dominated most of the Balkans and influenced Slavic cultures by developing the Cyrillic script; this state lasted until the early 11th century, when Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered and dismantled it. A successful Bulgarian revolt in 1185 established a Second Bulgarian Empire, which reached its apex under Ivan Asen II.
After numerous exhausting wars and feudal strife, the Second Bulgarian Empire disintegrated in 1396 and its territories fell under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 resulted in the formation of the current Third Bulgarian State. Many ethnic Bulgarian populations were left outside its borders, which led to several conflicts with its neighbours and an alliance with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 Bulgaria became part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc; the ruling Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power after the revolutions of 1989 and allowed multi-party elections. Bulgaria transitioned into a democracy and a market-based economy. Since adopting a democratic constitution in 1991, the sovereign state has been a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political and economic centralisation; the population of seven million lives in Sofia and the capital cities of the 27 provinces, the country has suffered significant demographic decline since the late 1980s.
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe. Its market economy is part of the European Single Market and relies on services, followed by industry—especially machine building and mining—and agriculture. Widespread corruption is a major socioeconomic issue; the name Bulgaria is derived from a tribe of Turkic origin that founded the country. Their name is not understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD, but it is derived from the Proto-Turkic word bulģha and its derivative bulgak; the meaning may be further extended to "rebel", "incite" or "produce a state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers". Ethnic groups in Inner Asia with phonologically similar names were described in similar terms: during the 4th century, the Buluoji, a component of the "Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Neanderthal remains dating to around 150,000 years ago, or the Middle Paleolithic, are some of the earliest traces of human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria.
The Karanovo culture arose circa 6,500 BC and was one of several Neolithic societies in the region that thrived on agriculture. The Copper Age Varna culture is credited with inventing gold metallurgy; the associated Varna Necropolis treasure contains the oldest golden jewellery in the world with an approximate age of over 6,000 years. The treasure has been valuable for understanding social hierarchy and stratification in the earliest European societies; the Thracians, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, appeared on the Balkan Peninsula some time before the 12th century BC. The Thracians excelled in metallurgy and gave the Greeks the Orphean and Dionysian cults, but remained tribal and stateless; the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered most of present-day Bulgaria in the 6th century BC and retained control over the region until 479 BC. The invasion became a catalyst for Thracian unity, the bulk of their tribes united under king Teres to form the Odrysian kingdom in the 470s BC.
It was weakened and vassalized by Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, attacked by Celts in the 3rd century, became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 45. By the end of the 1st century AD, Roman governance was established over the entire Balkan Peninsula and Christianity began spreading in the region around the 4th century; the Gothic Bible—the first Germanic language book—was created by Gothic bishop Ulfilas in what is today northern Bulgaria around 381. The region came under Byzantine control after the fall of Rome in 476; the Byzantines were engaged in prolonged warfare against Persia and could not defend their Balkan territories from barbarian incursions. This enabled the Slavs to enter the Balkan Peninsula as marauders through an area between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains known as Moesia; the interior of the peninsula became a country of the South Slavs, who lived under a democracy. The Slavs assimilated the Hellenized and Gothicized Thracians in the rural areas. Not l
Melanin is a broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms. Melanin is produced through a multistage chemical process known as melanogenesis, where the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine, is followed by polymerization; the melanin pigments are produced in a specialized group of cells known as melanocytes. There are three basic types of melanin: eumelanin and neuromelanin; the most common type is eumelanin, of which there are two types -- black eumelanin. Pheomelanin is a cysteine-derivative that contains polybenzothiazine portions that are responsible for the color of red hair, among other pigmentation. Neuromelanin is found in the brain. Research has been undertaken to investigate its efficacy in treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's. In the human skin, melanogenesis is initiated by exposure to UV radiation, causing the skin to darken. Melanin is an effective absorbent of light; because of this property, melanin is thought to protect skin cells from UVB radiation damage, reducing the risk of folate depletion and dermal degradation, it is considered that exposure to UV radiation is associated with increased risk of malignant melanoma, a cancer of melanocytes.
Studies have shown a lower incidence for skin cancer in individuals with more concentrated melanin, i.e. darker skin tone. However. In humans, melanin is the primary determinant of skin color, it is found in hair, the pigmented tissue underlying the iris of the eye, the stria vascularis of the inner ear. In the brain, tissues with melanin include the medulla and pigment-bearing neurons within areas of the brainstem, such as the locus coeruleus and the substantia nigra, it occurs in the zona reticularis of the adrenal gland. The melanin in the skin is produced by melanocytes, which are found in the basal layer of the epidermis. Although, in general, human beings possess a similar concentration of melanocytes in their skin, the melanocytes in some individuals and ethnic groups produce variable amounts of melanin; some humans have little or no melanin synthesis in their bodies, a condition known as albinism. Because melanin is an aggregate of smaller component molecules, there are many different types of melanin with different proportions and bonding patterns of these component molecules.
Both pheomelanin and eumelanin are found in human skin and hair, but eumelanin is the most abundant melanin in humans, as well as the form most to be deficient in albinism. Eumelanin polymers have long been thought to comprise numerous cross-linked 5,6-dihydroxyindole and 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid polymers. Pheomelanins impart a pink depending upon the concentration. Pheomelanins are concentrated in the lips, glans of the penis, vagina; when a small amount of brown eumelanin in hair, which would otherwise cause blond hair, is mixed with red pheomelanin, the result is strawberry blonde. Pheomelanin is present in the skin, redheads often have a more pinkish hue to their skin as well. In chemical terms, pheomelanins differ from eumelanins in that the oligomer structure incorporates benzothiazine and benzothiazole units that are produced, instead of DHI and DHICA, when the amino acid L-cysteine is present. Trichochromes are pigments produced from the same metabolic pathway as the eumelanins and pheomelanins, but unlike those molecules they have low molecular weight.
They occur in some red human hair. Neuromelanin is a dark insoluble polymer pigment produced in specific populations of catecholaminergic neurons in the brain. Humans have the largest amount of NM, present in lesser amounts in other primates, absent in many other species. However, the biological function remains unknown, although human NM has been shown to efficiently bind transition metals such as iron, as well as other toxic molecules. Therefore, it may play crucial roles in the related Parkinson's disease. Melanins have diverse roles and functions in various organisms. A form of melanin makes up the ink used by many cephalopods as a defense mechanism against predators. Melanins protect microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, against stresses that involve cell damage such as UV radiation from the sun and reactive oxygen species. Melanin protects against damage from high temperatures, chemical stresses, biochemical threats. Therefore, in many pathogenic microbes melanins appear to play important roles in virulence and pathogenicity by protecting the microbe against immune responses of its host.
In invertebrates, a major aspect of the innate immune defense system against invading pathogens involves melanin. Within minutes after infection, the microbe is encapsulated within melanin, the generation of free radical byproducts during the formation of this capsule is thought to aid in killing them; some types of fungi, called radiotrophic fungi, appear to be able to use melanin as a photosynthetic pigment that enables them to capture gamma rays and harness this energy for growth. The darker feathers of birds owe their color to melanin and are less degraded by bacteria than unpigmented ones or those containing carotenoid pigments. Feathers that contain melanin are 39% more resistant to abrasion than those that do not because melanin granules help fill the space between th
The red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scotica, is a medium-sized bird of the grouse family, found in heather moorland in Great Britain and Ireland. It is classified as a subspecies of the willow ptarmigan but is sometimes considered to be a separate species, Lagopus scotica, it is known as the moorcock, moorfowl or moorbird. Lagopus is derived from Ancient Greek lagos, meaning "hare", + pous, "foot", in reference to the feathered feet and toes typical of this cold-adapted genus, scoticus is "of Scotland"; the red grouse is known as the logo of The Famous Grouse whisky and an animated bird is a character in a series of its adverts. The red grouse is the emblem of the journal British Birds; the red grouse is differentiated from the willow ptarmigan and rock ptarmigan by its plumage being reddish brown, not having a white winter plumage. The tail is black and the legs are white. There are white stripes on the underwing and red combs over the eye. Females have less conspicuous combs. Young birds lack the red combs.
Birds in Ireland are sometimes thought to belong to a separate subspecies L. l. hibernica. They are paler than those in Britain and the females have yellower plumage with more finely barred underparts; this may be an adaptation to camouflage them in moorland with higher grass and sedge content and less heather. It is identified by its'chut!chut!chut!chut!chut!chuttt....' call, or the'Goback, goback' vocalisation. The wings make a whirring sound. Grouse populations display periodic cycling, where the population builds up to high densities only to crash a few years and recover; the main driver of this cyclic pattern is thought to be the parasitic nematode worm Trichostrongylus tenuis. However, in his book, V. C. Wynne-Edwards suggests that the primary reason for mortality in grouse population is homeostasis depending on food availability and that the'Grouse disease', due to the parasitic worm Trichostrongylus tenuis is a mistaken diagnosis of the after effects of social exclusion; the red grouse is endemic to the British Isles.
It is found across most parts of Scotland, including Orkney and most of the Outer Hebrides. They are only absent from urban areas, such as in the Central Belt. In Wales there are strong populations in places but their range has retracted, they are now absent from the far south, their main strongholds being Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains. There are reports of Welsh birds crossing the Bristol Channel to Exmoor. In England it is found in the north – places such as the Lake District, County Durham, much of Yorkshire, the Pennines and the Peak District, as far south as the Staffordshire Moorlands. There is an isolated introduced population on Dartmoor, overspill Welsh birds visit the Shropshire Hills such as Long Mynd, where they breed; the Exmoor population would now appear to be extinct, with the last birds sighted as as 2005. An introduced population in Suffolk died out by the early 20th century, though a population on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire lasted longer. In Ireland it is found locally in most parts of the country: it is commonest in Mayo, where the population is increasing, on the Antrim plateau, with other healthy populations in the Slieve Bloom mountains and the Knockmealdown mountains.
The small population in the Isle of Man is concentrated in the southern hills but conservation work is ongoing throughout the uplands to ensure the species' continued viability. Its typical habitat is upland heather moors away from trees, it can be found in some low-lying bogs and birds may visit farmland during hard weather. The British population is estimated at about 250,000 pairs with around 1–5,000 pairs in Ireland. Numbers have declined in recent years and birds are now absent in areas where they were once common. Reasons for the decline include loss of heather due to overgrazing, creation of new conifer plantations and a decline in the number of upland gamekeepers; some predators such as the hen harrier feed on grouse and there is ongoing controversy as to what effect these have on grouse numbers. Red grouse have been introduced to the Hautes Fagnes region of Belgium but the population there died out in the early 1970s; the red grouse is herbivorous and feeds on the shoots and flowers of heather.
It will feed on berries, cereal crops and sometimes insects. The birds begin to form pairs during the autumn and males become territorial as winter progresses; the nest is a shallow scrape up to 20 cm across, lined with vegetation. About six to nine eggs are laid during April and May, they are oval and pale yellow with dark brown blotches. The eggs are incubated for 19 to 25 days, the chicks can fly after 12 to 13 days after hatching and are grown after 30 to 35 days. Member States of the European Union are obliged by virtue of Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds to take the requisite measures for the protection of the red grouse. In 2002 Ireland was found by the European Court of Justice to be in breach of its obligations under the earlier Directive to protect the red grouse, in that it had allowed a crucial breeding ground to become degraded through overgrazing by sheep. Conservation measures taken