Creature Feature: Naked mole-rat

As humans looking around the animal kingdom, we find that some animal “superpowers” are obvious: Birds can fly! Fish can breathe underwater! Lizards can change colors! But often, an animal’s most incredible feats are those that aren’t visible. Cue the naked mole-rat. The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber), native to Eastern Africa, is a very atypical…

Sunday Sketch: Kiwi dads

Did you know? Kiwi dads are excellent fathers! They alone incubate their one, giant egg each year for about 3 months on end (Taborsky & Taborksy 1999). Sketch and fact contributed by Victoria Farrar Source: Taborsky, B. and Taborsky, M. (1999). The mating system and stability of pairs in the kiwi Apteryx spp.  J. Avian…

Field Frame Friday: Don’t get comfy…

White terns (Gygis alba) don’t build nests for their eggs! They usually find a fork in a branch and stay on their egg during incubation (Miles 1986). The chicks are born with adapted feet to cling to the branch while the mom goes searching for fish dinners. [Photo by Nick Chudeau; Caption by Karli Chudeau]…

Sunday Sketch: Opossum Nipples

Did you know that the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) has 13 nipples – 12 arranged in a circle with one in the middle?  They are also North America’s only marsupial. Spooky! Sketch and fact contributed by Victoria Farrar Source: Whitson, M. 2017. “Didelphis virginiana: Life History.” Accessed 10 October 2018, available from Encyclopedia of Life, http://eol.org/pages/328501

Field Frame: World Lemur Festival

  Happy world lemur festival! The Indri is the largest of the living lemurs (although there used to be lemurs as big as gorillas!). Adults live in pairs and sing duets each morning, which can serve to improve group cohesion (Giacoma et al., 2010) and defend their forest territory (Pollack, 1986). Their name in Malagasy, Babakoto,…

Sunday Sketch: Manatee Mammaries

Armpits may be a ticklish place for humans, but for manatees (Order: Sirenia), armpits are good for nursing young! Manatees are mammals and nurse their offspring with mammary glands that are located under the pectoral flippers for over a year. Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau Source: Berta, A. (2012). Diversity, Evolution, and Adaptations…

Field Fiasco: Fabric Fiesta!

Doing field research in a foreign country comes with many issues that you might not encounter in the United States—having to pack all of your equipment to meet airline regulations, adapting to a new culture, and speaking multiple new languages are all challenges I have had to overcome in order to study social relationships in…

Sunday Sketch: Goats and Smiles

If you want to befriend a goat, better say cheese! New research shows that goats can distinguish between human happy and sad faces, and prefer the pictures of humans that smile! When presented with images of the two facial expressions, goats spent 50% more time approaching and nudging the happy-face photos. This has important implications…

Field Frame Friday: Living that island life

Native to Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, Aldabran Giant Tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) don’t have to deal with predation, and with an abundance of tropical food, warm weather, and environmental protection, they spend their days grazing vegetation in the morning, and snoozing on beaches in the afternoon, taking dips into shallow pools of water to regulate their temperature. These tortoises are one way that local land plants disperse their seeds (Hnatiuk, 1978).