Sunday Sketch: Lamprey Immunity

Suddenly we are all spending a lot more time thinking about our immune systems—but what about the immune systems of the animals around us? For a long time it was thought that only animals with jaws and vertebrates had lymphocytes, but research with sea lampreys suggests otherwise. Researchers found lymphocyte-like cells in the gut of these charming…

Sunday Sketch: Social Distancing

We are all adjusting to a new normal, but for some animals social distancing is a way of life. Take the slow loris for example. These guys are happiest hanging out at home by them selves. One study found that these guys only spend 3% of their time in association with other slow lorises and…

Sunday Sketch: Speedy Beetles

Watch out! Tiger beetles run so fast that they temporarily go blind. To avoid tripping hazards (and find prey!) they run in short bursts, taking breaks to orient.

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….

Sunday Sketch: Budgie Attraction

Looking for something to impress that special someone with this Valentine’s Day? Female budgies prefer males who successfully solve puzzle boxes. Talk about smart mate choice! Fact and sketch contributed by Amelia Munson Chen, J., Zou, Y., Sun, Y., & Cate, C. T. (2019). Problem-solving males become more attractive to female budgerigars. Science, 363 (6423),…

Sunday Sketch: Firefly squid

As we light the last night of the Hanukkah menorah tomorrow, we look to the animal world to see some of their cool lights. The firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans) produces tiny flashes of light from hundreds of tiny organs on its body.  Sketch and fact contributed by Amelia Munson Source: Tsuji, F. I. (1985). ATP-dependent bioluminescence…

Sunday Sketch: Orchid Bees

They may not be black and yellow but these neotropical orchid bees might be the smelliest stars of the bee world! The males of these iridescent bees collect perfumes  from the flowers they visit which they then display to females. The exact perfume blend is highly species specific–males shop around for just the right combination….

Sunday Sketch: Phoresis

Did you know? Phoresis is the scientific word for the cutest type of symbiosis in which one animal rides another one like a horse! This “horse” race may be a slow one though with contestants like a moth riding a sloth and a beetle riding a shrew. Sketch and fact contributed by Amelia Munson Sources:…