Sunday Sketch: Grandma Aphid

Did you know? In many aphid species, a female will regularly give birth to a live clone. These newborn clones already contain a developing daughter within them. Termed “telescopic generation”, this allows aphids to multiply very quickly with or without males. So, the next time you’re pulling out your hair over these little bugs, be…

Field Fiasco: Fish in the driveway?!

This past year, Dr. Isaac Ligocki, an NSF post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Rebecca Calisi here at UC Davis, set out to do field work in Northern California. He aimed to examine the effects of a common group of pesticides: the pyrethroids—deemed “safe” alternatives for agricultural use. Widely used in the California Central Valley, these chemicals…

Ecotourism: Reading Monkey Faces

When traveling, it’s common to run across non-human primates—such as spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and rhesus macaques— either in a wild or captive setting. In some tropical tourist destinations, locals will carry these animals, eager to hand them over for a quick picture and a few dollars. In other places, tourists have the opportunity…

Creature Feature: Great white shark

It all begins with an innocent evening dip. A woman runs down the beach, stripping off her outer garments and diving into the cold, dark water of the Atlantic Ocean. Her identity is barely relevant, because just days later, remnants of her corpse are washed ashore – she is just another victim of the leviathan…

Ecotourism: Marine Adventures

One of the most popular places to spend a vacation is by the ocean. People are drawn to the water in search of both relaxation and adventure. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are all popular water-based sports. But today we’ll discuss two big marine ecotourism activities that are a bit more adventurous and slightly less…

Sunday Sketch: Tarantula Appetite

Did you know? Tarantulas can go up to two years between meals! When food sources are scarce, tarantulas are able to slow their metabolism to conserve energy until their next meal. For more information: Philip, B. N., & Shillington, C. (2010). The effect of prey availability on metabolism and activity in the tarantula Phormictopus cancerides….

Field Fiasco Friday: The Ticking Tick Bomb

As a native to the mountains of New York, I considered frog catching a favorite childhood pastime. I remember spending hours at the local streambed catching frogs, confining them in jars, and studying their behavior. In retrospect, this may have been my first signs as a budding field biologist, along with a naivety to the…

Creature Feature: Pangolins

The pangolin is an incredibly fascinating animal that you might not have ever heard of. Classified in the order Pholidota and most closely related to the Carnivora, these mammals are found in Asia and Africa, although they are extremely threatened across their range. Pangolins hold a depressing world record: they account for 20% of sales…

Field Fiasco Friday: Rain

“Rain” is what my host said as I flew out of my room at 5:30 in the morning, squealing, covered in bugs. He stood there with an unlit cigarette in the corner of his mouth, wearing nothing but a sarong, a traditional Malaysian wrap. All he did was shrug and walk off, leaving me to…

Ecotourism: What Is It?

Let’s talk ecotourism. First, what is it? Ecotourism is defined as travel to natural areas that involves some level of conservation or education1. For the next month, we’ll be highlighting its pros and cons across a variety of countries and environments. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably participated in some form of ecotourism….

Creature Feature: Army Ants

A roving hoard marches across the forest floor, millions strong, crushing their prey between powerful, pincer-like mandibles. It’s a raid, and with millions of bodies to feed this swarm moves with startling efficiency. Thousands of the raid’s victims will likely be dead by day’s end. These are the army ants, one of Earth’s most aggressive…