Let’s talk about leks, baby

  Imagine a young woman walking into a bar looking for a date. Now imagine the men in the bar attempting to impress her, either by buying her drinks, dancing, or otherwise showing off. At the end of the night, one of these lucky men will be successful and leave with our imaginary woman. This…

Creature Feature: Peacock Mantis Shrimp

The peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus), sometimes known as the harlequin or painted mantis shrimp, are found in the warmer waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. While commonly known for their bright coloration, the peacock mantis shrimp has one of the most advanced eyes and vision systems in the animal kingdom, far beyond those…

Field Notes: Ryane’s first field season at Chicken Camp!

I’ve recently returned from my first field season and as I’m settling back into Davis, I wanted to take a moment to talk about my research in Wyoming studying the mating behavior of Greater sage-grouse! Sage-grouse are basically weirdly-awesome, tricked-out prairie chickens (thus, Chicken Camp). Greater sage-grouse are currently being considered for listing under the Endangered…

Creature Feature: Whiptail Lizards

When most people hear “asexual reproduction” (offspring that come from a single parent) they think of single cells splitting in half, or maybe clonal plants. But did you know there are asexual lizards? Whiptail lizards (genus Aspidoscelis, formally Cnemidophorus) are common in the Southwestern US and Mexico and about one third of the 50-ish species are all female.

Creature Feature: Hoatzin

  The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), pronounced “wat-sen,” is one of the strangest and most fascinating birds around. With an appearance like a miniature dinosaur, the hoatzin is the only extant member of its taxonomic order, the Opisthocomiformes.  Hailing from South America, these prehistoric-looking birds are uniquely adapted to live in the swamps and mangroves of the…