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Ecobuild 2013 competition results... and the answers

13 March 2013

The ECOSA team had a great time at Ecobuild 2013 advising architects, contractors, planners, self-builders and many more on how to deal with their ecological obligations and how to benefit from building in biodiversity.

In addition, Frankie drew some interest with her talk on 'Embracing Ecology - Reaping the Commercial Benefits of Biodiversity' on the Biodiversity Stage, in which she presented a selection of proven habitat solutions that we have integrated within our clients' project designs.

Meantime, we laid down a challenge for visitors to our stand: how well did they know their UK wildlife? The five questions related to our bell-jar exhibits.

A. The common kestrel hunts much of its prey by:

  • the detection of urine trails with ultraviolet vision
  • rapid mid-air chases or
  • scavenging?

B. Is the primary food source of badgers:

  • rodents
  • earthworms or
  • bulbs, nuts and berries?

C. Which of the following is not a defence mechanism of grass snakes:

  • spitting
  • bleeding from the nose and mouth or
  • foul smelling musk?

D. Did the ancient Greeks associate the daffodil with:

  • vanity and unrequited love
  • Easter or
  • chastity or purity?

E. Does the death's-head hawkmoth:

  • raid beehives for honey
  • drink from flowers whilst hovering or
  • have caterpillars which resemble an elephant's trunk?

The correct answers were:

A. The kestrel uses ultraviolet vision to detect the urine and faeces trails of the small rodents which form the bulk of its diet.

B. The primary food source of badgers is earthworms which they detect with their sensitive noses. Although, as omnivores, they are also partial to the occasional bulbs, nuts and berries.

C. When feeling threatened, grass snakes can produce a secretion from the anal glands that smells somewhat of garlic. They can also feign death, going limp and secreting blood from the mouth and nose. They may put on a more aggressive display including hissing, but never spit.

D. The Latin name for the daffodil genus, Narcissus, provides the clue for this answer reminding us of the story of the beautiful Narcissus who was so vain that Nemesis tricked him into falling in love with his own reflection in the surface of a pool. Unable to leave his reflection or have his object of desire he died of unrequited love there by the pool.

E. A regular migrant from Africa, the death's-head hawkmoth, like the one displayed, are named for the characteristic skull-like mark on the back of their thorax. Unlike most butterflies and moths who are content to gather nectar from flowers with their long probosces, the death's-head hawkmoth lets honey bees gather for them and raids their colonies for the richer honey. Their caterpillars are generally bright green and yellow with distinctive patterns; it is the elephant hawkmoth's caterpillars which have been compared to elephants' trunks.

So very well done Cathryn Meddemmen who not only got all the answers right but also was first out of the 'hat' and will shortly be receiving her prize of vouchers for a day's course or an evening for two at River Cottage. If you scored 2, 1 or even 0, be assured: it was a tough quiz.  If you scored 5: exceedingly well done!  If you scored 3 or more: why not try again when we bring our next bell-jar competition to an event?

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