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,…

Sunday Sketch: Aquatic Landscapers keep coral reefs tidy and thriving

Coral reefs & algae have a symbiotic relationship, where single-celled algae (called zoozanthellae) living inside corals provide energy to build the intricate calcium-carbonate structures that host an entire underwater ecosystem (for more on reef-building corals check out this Creature Feature). However, as with most things in life, too much of a good thing can turn bad; too…

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,…

Sunday Sketch: Shrimp Make Good Moms and Dads

Peppermint shrimp (Lysmata boggessi) are a common ornamental salt water aquarium invertebrate species beloved by many hobbyists for their bright candy cane stripes and lively behaviors. What most people don’t know is that these shrimp are considered protandric simultaneous hermaphrodites. When they first reach adulthood they have male reproductive organs, but as they get bigger they…

Field Notes: Research in the time of COVID-19

COVID19 has been a tough pill to swallow for everyone, from teachers, to parents, to everyday employees. The global pandemic has caused unprecedented impacts not only on the workforce and economy, but everyday life as well. Academic research has both suffered and flourished in new and surprising ways under the heel of COVID19. Last month, as we were all adapting to stay-at-home orders, we highlighted some of our animal behavior researchers’ pandemic version of “the field.” For this month’s field notes, we are checking in with them to find out just how the pandemic has impacted their research for worse, or for better.

Sunday Sketch: Make me crabby and I’ll get jabby

Lybia edmondsoni, also known as the “boxer crab” or “pom pom crab”, employs a rather unique anti predator defense. With the aid of minute sea anemones in each claw, these crabs can attack oncoming predators by delivering a jab and electric shock. This relationship is mutualistic, meaning that the anemones get something in exchange for…

Field Frame Friday Mother’s Day edition: Mother knows best

Ladies want the best for their kids. For, lady beetles (Family: Coccinellidae), they want to lay their eggs (a.k.a. oviposition) in a place where their larvae will be able to have lots of high-quality food and low chances of getting beaten up by bullies (a.k.a intraspecific predation) or eaten by predators. Although it is unknown…