Sunday Sketch: Flies and Stripes

For years, humans have postulated and told folktales to answer the question, “Why did zebras get their stripes?” Now scientists may have an answer: pest control! While the stripes may not deter biting flies from afar, researchers found that flies failed to make controlled landings on the zebra by either failing to decelerate and bumping…

Field Frames Friday: “Empty Nesting”

Both sexes of the Chestnut-mandibled toucan, or Swainson’s toucan, (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) help with incubating the eggs and raise the chicks together. Generally, females will lay just about 2 or 3 eggs at a time in an old decayed tree or an abandoned woodpecker’s nest. [Photo by Grace Davis on Barro Colorado Island, Panama; Caption…

Sunday Sketch: Cichlid Moms

“Fish are babies, not food!” Mother Astatotilapia burtoni cichlids may need to take a reminder from the sharks of Finding Nemo. These fish have an extreme form of maternal care. After laying their eggs, they carry them around in their mouths until they hatch! Protecting their eggs from all kinds of would-be predators comes at…

Field Frame Friday: How many species do you see?

The Farallon Islands, just off the coast of San Francisco, California, are a prime habitat for sea birds, marine mammals, and sharks. The Farallons sit in a highly nutrient rich area due to ocean currents which attract a whole ecosystem of animals to feed, reproduce, and rest. [Photo by Alycia Drwencke and caption by Karli…

Creature Feature: Toxoplasma gondii

We’ve all heard the stereotype of the crazy cat person (usually lady) who really, really likes cats. So much so, that this person has a house teeming with felines, fur, and foul fish-flavored scent of cat food. It’s easy to tease friends for being at risk of becoming  “crazy cat people”. But what if these…

Newsroom: Monkey Eye Tracking

Photographs of CNPRC titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus) and rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) [Source] In a collaboration between the Bales and Bauman Labs, researchers at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) at UC Davis have validated a new method for eye tracking in non-human primates. Eye tracking is when a computer monitor and camera setup…

Sunday Sketch: Whistling Caterpillars

Many caterpillars have colorful and sometimes toxic defenses against predators, but the North American Walnut Sphinx caterpillar really knows how to startle a would-be attacker. These little guys produce high-pitched whistles that have birds diving away from them in confusion! Fact and sketch contributed by Amelia Munson Source: Bura, V. L., Rohwer, V. G., Martin, P….

Field Frame Friday: (Don’t) Share the Love.

Dominant yellow-rumped cacique (Cacicus cela) males mate with many females while males lower down in the hierarchy mate with only a few females, if any. Dominant males can consort with anywhere form 1-27 females and will guard them while they forage and nest. [Photo by Grace Davis in Barro Colorado Island, Panama; Caption by Maggie…