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:…

Sunday Sketch: Galentines Day

Still looking for the perfect date for Valentine’s Day? Maybe this is the year to take a leaf from the female Komodo dragon’s book. When there are no males around,  female Komodo dragons can still produce fertile eggs! When scientists first documented this they thought that they were storing sperm from previous interactions with males…

Sunday Sketch: Armadillo Quadruplets

Did you know? The nine-banded armadillo nearly always gives birth to identical quadruplets! If she has a hard time telling them apart, don’t blame her: she has her hands full! Fact and sketch contributed by Amelia Munson Sources: Stockard, C. R. (1921). A probable explanation of polyembryony in the armadillo. The American Naturalist, 55(636), 62-68….

Sunday Sketch: Six White Boomers

Did you know? According to lore, in Australia, Santa Claus gives Dasher, Dancer and all the other reindeer a break in favor of “Six White Boomers” or kangaroos! And they probably serve him well–although not white, male red kangaroos can cover almost 30 feet in one hop! Sketch and fact contributed by Amelia Munson ***…