Field Frame Friday: Fat Bats

Bats (Order Chiroptera), like this bat from Madagascar’s eastern rainforests, are important contributors to their ecosystem. In Madagascar, insectivorous bats consume insects that are detrimental to rice crops, a staple of Malagasy cuisine. Meredith photo-caught this bat on her trail camera set up for her fieldwork in Madagascar (read more about her work in this…

Creature Feature: Aye-ayes

Primates are known for their behavioral diversity, but perhaps no primate is as bizarre as the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Their black-grizzled fur, combined with bat-like ears, rodent-like incisors, and long middle finger, make them look quite spooky—right on time for Halloween!

Field Frame Friday: Sing it loud and proud!

Indri (Indri Indri) songs can be heard from kilometers away and serve to defend a pair’s territory, advertise the position of the group within the territory, and maintain contact between group members even when far apart.  [Photo, recording, and caption by Meredith Lutz] Torti, V., Gamba, M., Rabemananjara, Z. H., & Giacoma, C. (2013). The…

Field Frame Friday: Pandas aren’t the only bamboo eaters around here!

Bamboo lemurs, like the northern bamboo lemur pictured here (Hapalemur occidentalis), are most well known for their specialist diet on bamboo. Some groups of the genus, however, are known to eat other grasses. [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Eppley, T. M., Verjans, E., & Donati, G. (2011). Coping with low-quality diets: a first account…

Field Frame Friday: Eavesdropping to survive

Although they aren’t particularly vocal themselves, Malagasy spiny-tailed iguanas (Oplurus cuvieri) have learned to distinguish the predator alarm calls of their forest coinhabitants – including from those animals’ normal vocalisations. This “eavesdropping” allows the iguanas to get away before they become a tasty snack to local birds of prey. [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz]…

Creature Feature: Fat-tailed dwarf lemur

A primate that hibernates? Check out this week’s Creature Feature to learn more about the fat-tailed dwarf lemur, a nocturnal, hibernating primate from Madagascar!

Field Frame Friday: Fossa need some floss-a

The Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) is a small terrestrial carnivore from Madagascar’s rain forests. Contrary to their name, they are not closely related to civets, but rather a part of the endemic family Eupleridae. They have a diverse diet including crabs, frogs, snakes, millipedes, rodents, and tenrecs. This photo was captured using camera-traps, a type…

Field Frame Friday: Webbed-toes and ringed tails

Ring tailed mongooses (Galidia elegans) have webbing in between their toes, which allows them to more easily run around the unstable forests that they call home. This adaptation can even allow them to swim! [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Goodman et al. (2012) Les Carnivora de Madagascar. Association Vahatra Guides Dur La Diverstié Biologique…

Field Frame Friday: Silky, elusive, and endangered

Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) are among the worlds most endangered primates, with less than 1000 remaining in the wild. Native to the steep, mountainous rainforests of northeastern Madagascar, silkies, as they are often called, make ‘zzuss’ vocializations. Sounding like a combination of a sneeze, a lip smack, and sifaka, these calls act as both alarm…