Field Frame Friday: Daffodils or Disease-odils?

Bees of all kinds love flowers; however, flower nectar and pollen can also serve as vectors for various pathogens (disease causing agents) that can spread between bees of different colonies using the same flowers. In fact, honey bees can even pick up and spread bumble bee diseases to different flowers and vice versa. What’s more,…

Sunday Sketch: Monarch Conservation

Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), shown in caterpillar form above, are experiencing dramatic declines in population numbers. One method to help conserve species in decline is to rear and release captive individuals into the wild. Of course, this plan of action only works if captive-reared individuals are as capable as their wild counterparts. In a study…

Sunday Sketch: Get Ready for Aardvark Week

Aardvarks, Orycteropusafer afer, are ant eaters but aren’t anteaters. In other words, Aardvarks in Africa do primarily feed on ants and termites but actually aren’t very closely related to their anteater counterparts in South America. Many of their similarities arise due to convergent evolution associated with their diets. Aardvarks use their long, sticky tongue to…

Field Frame Friday: Not So Busy Bee

Busy bee? Not so much. This bee is taking a nap in this flower, which is more common than you may think! Social bees like honey bees have a nest to come home to every night and only sleep outside if they get lost during sundown or become too cold to fly back to the…

Sunday Sketch: Child Labor

Like almost all activities in a social insect colony, nest building involves team work. Weaver ants, Camponotus (Myrmobrachys) senex, build elaborate nests made of stitched together leaves that are subdivided into small interconnected chambers. The work of tying these leaves together involves a surprising joint effort by both adults workers and larvae. Adult workers will carry individual…

Sunny Sketch: No Inkling of Ink

The dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis) is distinguished from its octopus brethren by its adorable ear-like fins that provide its namesake. However, there are also a few other characteristics that make this little creature unique. First of all, it is indeed a little creature compared to most other octopodes, with an average size of just 20-30…

Sunday Sketch: Horny Beetles

The horn of the giant rhinoceros beetle (Trypoxylus dichotomus) is a classic example of an elaborate trait that arises due to sexual selection. These beetles use their horns to fight over females and these fights get intense. So intense that males are able to break their horns off during vigorous fights with other males. Surprisingly,…

Sunday Sketch: Otter Pockets

In stark contrast to humans, otters have successfully achieved gender equality when it comes to pockets. Both female and male otters have baggy portions of loose skin under their forearms that they can use to store various items. These pockets are often used to store food for later, but are also home to rocks that…

Creature Feature: Laughing Kookaburra

No one likes being laughed at. And no one likes sibling sabotage. The laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) does both with little regard for what we find objectionable. Laughing kookaburras are the largest kingfisher species in the world and can be described as stout, stocky, and overall pretty thicc [1]. These creepy kooks, like many frightening…