Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ABC WEDNESDAY


For ABC Wednesday this week we are on the letter C. So I am going with one of my all time favorite words - C is for Crepuscular. I don't know what it is about this word but I just love the way it rolls off my tongue and the way it sounds!
In case you were wondering "Crepuscular is a term used to describe animals that are primarily active during twilight, that is at dawn and at dusk. The word is derived from the Latin word crepusculum, meaning "twilight." (Wickipedia)

One great example of a crepuscular species is the Short-eared Owl.


In North America this owl has evolved to hunt at dawn and dusk in order to avoid competition with large raptors. But like so many of these things, there is an exception to every rule. On one island in the Galapagos the Short-eared Owl has no competition from any other aerial predators and has adapted to hunt during the day, ambushing Storm Petrels as they return to their roosts and nesting spots in the lava fields.


Another crepuscular species is the Rat. Scabbers (our Museum rat) is actually sitting on my shoulder as I write this post - just to make sure I don't write anything bad about him! The rat does not have good vision either in daylight or darkness so in order to minimise the chances of becoming dinner for a diurnal predator they utilise the narrow window between when the diurnal predator stops hunting and the nocturnal one begins, and visa versa at dawn.

For many species a crepuscular lifestyle is the perfect compromise. If they have not developed the visual acuity to see well in darkness and yet they want to avoid heavy competition for food or alternatively, an increased likelihood of becoming food then this particular niche is an ideal one.

For Many other C posts, check out the ABC Wednesday site.

Photo Credits - Dominick V & CJT

20 comments:

Lene said...

Thank you for teaching me a new english word :) I have never heard it before, so I had to look in my dictionary ;)

Rinkly Rimes said...

What a fabulous word! And very educational! I'm going to drop it into my conversation all day today!
May I write a poem based on your rat photo? I'll let you know when I publish it and give you due credit.

Fotosekken said...

I think you can describe me as a crepuscular too, I love staying up when everyone else is sleeping. Thank you for interesting C! =o)

Your EG Tour Guide said...

A new word for me.It makes sense for many animals to choose dawn and dusk for foraging now that you've explained why.

Babooshka said...

Fabulous word and tow gorgeous cute images. Owls are just adorable.

Suzanne said...

Aw geez, the rat is sitting on your shoulder????? Are jackels crepuscular? They laugh at twilight and then settle down. Not sure of the am.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That is a good word. Thanks for sharing. It's an interesting time. I've always thought it weird how "night headlights" don't work well at dusk.

Tumblewords: said...

Crepuscular was a prompt word in a poetry group and I used it with bats because we have so many here. Excellent post!

ramblingwoods.com said...

Oh good one and I just love that you have a little ratty on your shoulder. He is so cute..I loved the two that we had as pets, but I wished they lived longer... Michelle

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Interesting post. I've not thought of animals as being crepuscular, having heretofore only used the word in connection with those lovely bands of sunlight (God's fingers) breaking through the clouds at dawn and sunset. Good choice for "C."

Carolina said...

From now on I will say: "it's getting a bit crepusculous" in stead of dark and will seem very intelligent. It's probably not even correct, but hey...;-)

Life with Kaishon said...

I always love learning a new word. The rat scared me...

Neva said...

And I have learned a new word today...nice ABC!

Janie said...

That's a new word for me, and a great one. It does roll off the tongue. Fun to learn what it means and see photos of the night-loving animals.

gtyyup said...

Wonderful post again!! I think in the hot of summer, I want to be crepuscular!

I'll have to keep Cindy Sue from seeing Scabbers on the screen...she'll want to get him!! The sneaky lil' Rat Terrier that she is ;~) LOL and my word verification is "dishinti"...Cindy Sue defiantly thinks he's a dish!

Steffi said...

Great post again,Celeste!I don´t like a rat but on the picture it looks so cute!

Celeste said...

Lene - Isn't it amazing all the things we learn from each others blogs? That is one of the things I love about Blogging.

Rinkley Rimes - Scabbers and I would be delighted if you wrote a poem about him, can't wait to read it.

Fotosekken - are you crepuscular or nocturnal? Sounds like you might be nocturnal to me!

Suzanne - I suspect the jackals behavior would depend on what other larger predators are around. If there are a good number of alpha predators like wolf or puma than I would imagine that the jackal may well adjust to being crepuscular to avoid so much direct competition.

Celeste said...

Your EG Tour Guide - glad you liked the new word.

Babooshka - thanks. I think the rat is very cute, I know many people find them gross but he is such a little sweetie.

Robert - It's true twilight is a difficult light for our sorry human eyes and headlights certainly don't do much to help us.

Tumblewords - glad you enjoyed the word. Bats are such neat creatures, I find them fascinating.

Celeste said...

Rambling Woods - You are right Michelle, that is the down side of keeping a rat, they are very short lived.

Pat - it is a word that is used quite widely for animals, check out a mammal guide and you should find it a few times.

Carolina - crepusculous! That is an interesting variation! Why not?? It works for me :)

Life with Kaishon - Don't be scared of the rat, he is very gentle and a total sweetie!

Celeste said...

Nava - I love learning new words don't you?

Janie - That is what really appeals to me about this particular word - the actual sound of it :)

Gttyup - There is definitely something to be said for being crepuscular in hot weather.
Cindy Sue would love to get hold of Scabbers! He would make a nice plump snack!!!

Steffi - Trust me he is very cute :)