Sunday Sketch: Are You a Squitter?

Spotted hyenas are no quitters, but they are squitters! A squitter is the annoying, grating sound a spotted hyena cub makes when it wants its mother to let it nurse. This sound is just one of about a dozen distinct vocalizations in the spotted hyena repertoire. Other calls in include “whooping”, “giggling”, “lowing”, and “alarm…

Sunday Sketch: Interrupt Much?

Meerkats use a variety of vocalizations to communicate in their tightly knit social groups, but all that talking takes coordination. And that coordination takes skill. Meerkats are particularly fond of communicating when they are “sunning”, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Meerkats’ “sunning calls” are a special vocalization that only occurs during…

Sunday Sketch: A whole snake? Piece of cake!

Snakes can eat a wide variety of animals due to their many feeding adaptations that allow them to consume animals that are bulkier and larger than what would seem possible at first glance. Snakes often eat other animals with elongated body plans such as other snakes, eels, and lizards. Still, they certainly can’t eat anything…

Field Frame Friday: That’s not your kettle. It’s a Pigeon Guillemot!

During the breeding season, Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba) can often be heard making high-pitched vocalizations to one another. Whistles may be used by males to attract a mate, while trills are utilized between pairs. This particular bird, located on Southeast Farallon Island, had just finished trilling over a long distance to their mate. [Photo and…

Field Frame Friday: Lemur sleep holes

Although sportive lemurs, like the red-tailed sportive lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus) seen here are nocturnal, they can sometimes be spotted in their sleep holes during the day (Rakotomalala et al., 2017). Reference: Rakotomalala, E. J., Rakotodraparany, F., Perofsky, A. C., & Lewis, R. J. (2017). Characterization of the tree holes used by Lepilemur ruficaudatus in the dry,…

Ethogram Statement of Solidarity

We stand in solidarity with the Black members of our community whose paths within academia and society have been challenged by structural racism and oppression. We see and vehemently oppose the blatant acts of ongoing police brutality. More broadly, we condemn the systemic and structural racism that allows for the excessive use of force and the lack…

Sunday Sketch: Gentle Giants

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest fish on the planet and can grow up to 18 meters in length! Now if you’ve seen Jaws, you must be wondering: Can it eat me? If so, why haven’t I heard of these sharks before? Well, whale sharks are filter-feeders and feed on plankton (very small crustaceans and fish) so they hardly make the news. More…

Field Frame Friday: Crowded Colony Life

Common Murres (Uria aalge) live in some close quarters! These tightly packed colonies, called “loomeries,” allow for Common Murres to practice allopreening (grooming one another). In addition to reducing parasite loads, allopreening may also play an important social role. Mates groom mates and neighbors groom neighbors! [Photo and caption by Lindsey Broadus] Lewis, S. Roberts,…

Field Frame Friday: You know what they say about long tails..

Although all Paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata) females are red, males come in multiple colors, including red/blue, white/blue, and intermediate patterns as shown here. Males sport long tails almost the length of their body, which may help them gain mating advantages as they compete for females.  [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Sinclair, I., & Langrand,…