Sunday Sketch: Thought Bubbles

Pacific and Atlantic herring (Clupea pallasii and Clupea harengus) are a large part of the commercial fishing industry and are thus well studied by scientists. However, nighttime sounds coming from the herring left scientists stumped, until video analysis revealed the herrings’ elusive communication style. Described aptly as Fast Repetitive Tick (or FRT), herring use digestive gas…

Field Frame Friday: Heads or tails? TAILS!

Black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) don’t have thumbs, but what they do have is the most mobile and dextrous of all primate tails! The underside of the tail is covered with ridges that help them grip branches as they swing. [Photo by Grace Davis and caption by Maggie Creamer] Reference Mittermeier, R. A. (1978). Locomotion…

Field Frame Friday: What a spectacle!

The Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) can be found in many different types of habitats including tropical rainforests, riparian corridors along streams, savannah woodlands, and even in the trees surrounding coffee plantations! Geographically, spectacled owls occur in Central and South America. [Photo by Grace Davis and caption by Maggie Creamer] Reference MikRamírez-Llorens, P., & Bellocq, M….

Sunday Sketch: Red Squirrel Rattles

Did you know that North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) announce territorial ownership by making vocalizations called rattles? Recently, a study found that short-term stress from capturing and handling squirrels affected acoustic structure of these vocalizations. This research reveals that rattles may also carry important information about squirrel physiological condition. Sketch contributed by Rachael Coon and…

Sunday Sketch: Kangaroo Farts

In the 1970s and 80s, researchers thought that kangaroos didn’t fart, or at least that they hardly emitted any methane gas. Methane is naturally created by the bacteria that lives inside an animal’s gut, helping them to digest plant materials. Early findings indicating that kangaroos emit little methane made scientists think that they had special…

Field Frame Friday: What’s in a song?

The calls of the yellow-rumped cacique (cacicus cela) are significant in social contexts. For example, males counter-sing to establish the dominance hierarchy, songs can be used in territory defense or agonisitic encounters, as well as alarms to predators and to initiate flock cohesion. [Photo by Grace Davis and caption by Maggie Creamer] Reference Corwin, P….

Sunday Sketch: Purple Sea Urchins

Purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), believe it or not, are actually closely related to humans as revealed by genomic sequencing.  Sea urchins, in general, have a range of lifespans, and purple sea urchins have one of the highest with a maximum of more than 50 years!  This makes sea urchins relevant for a variety of aging research.  …

Field Frame Friday: High five! Oops! I mean high four?

Even though the black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) has limited dexterity in handling, since they do not have a thumb, they still show strong consistency and preference for handedness (aka being right or left handed). Their handedness preference also varies between individuals. [Photo by Grace Davis and caption by Maggie Creamer] Reference Motes Rodrigo, A.,…