Animal Myths: LAND

Welcome back to our Animal Myth series, where we strive to debunk common animal misconceptions. In this post, we focus on animals that share our most familiar habitat: land. Note: If you haven’t already, check out the first Animal Myths post on creatures of the sky here! 1. Camels use their humps to store water While this “fact” isn’t entirely true, it…

Creature Feature: “FireHawks”

Did you think fire manipulation was unique to humans? Not so! Read about Australian firehawks with apocryphal arsonist aptitudes…

Animal Myths: AIR

Everyone loves a fun animal fact (check out our Fun Facts here for some examples), but sometimes these “facts” contain more fiction than truth. As scientists, part of our objective is to bring truth to the forefront, so we are tackling some of the most common animal myths and misconceptions. We solicited some help from…

Creature Feature: Sonoran desert toad

When one imagines amphibians (animals that live between land and water), damp, dim scenes of swamps and rainforest floors come to mind. These creatures, that can breathe through their skin and begin life swimming in form of fish-like tadpoles, must constantly have access to water to live. Given this, it’s hard to envision a frog…

Field Frame Friday: Alligator dances are better than middle school dances.

The American Alligator’s (Alligator mississippiensis) courtship involves nighttime “alligator dances” where the alligators will swim in pairs for hours before deciding whether or not to mate. Now that’s what I call a nice first date! [Photo by Grace Davis in Barro Colorado Island, Panama; Caption by Maggie Creamer] Reference Vliet, K. A. (1989). Social displays…

Sunday Sketch: The Narwhal

Unlike mythical unicorns, the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is real and most closely related to beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)! However, that is not a horn on their head but a tooth that males (and some females) have. The functions of the narwhal tooth are still being researched, but it is suggested that it can be used…

Field Frame Friday: Snap a “s-whale-fie!”

In a field that is dominated with hydrophones and listening to vocalizations, it is always great when researchers can snap a picture of whale flukes. Many whale individuals, including this blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) can be identified by unique markings and shapes on their tail flukes. [Photo by Alycia Drwencke and caption by Karli Chudeau]…

Field Notes: Eavesdropping for Science

University of Hawaii at Manoa researcher Megan McElligott is eavesdropping on #spinner dolphins to determine where their natural resting sites are to help inform #conservation management. #bioacoustics #FieldNotes #marinebiology

Sunday Sketch: Blue Jays and Ants

Do blue jays use ants as deodorant? It was once hypothesized that blue jays (and other jay species) would use the formic acid from ants to clean their feathers of parasites or as a form of chemosignalling. However, a study in Chemoecology tested this hypothesis by providing jays with ants with or without formic acid. Turns out…

Sunday Sketch: Opalescent Weevil

Insects come in many beautiful shapes, sizes, and colors – and Pachyrynchus argus, a weevil found in Australia, is gorgeous inside and out! Its iridescent patches are as structurally unique as they are lovely to look at. Whereas most insects only appear glittery in direct sunlight (due to the mirrorlike layers in their exoskeleton), P. argus’ showy shine…