Sunday Sketch: The Dolphin Digestive Tract Debris Dilemma

A recent study found plastic debris in the digestive tracts of 50 dolphins, whales, and seals. Surprisingly, a large amount of the trash came from synthetic fibers (found in clothing, fishing nets, and toothbrushes), while the rest were from plastic fragments. Keep in mind that plastic pollution affects many other marine organisms, as well. Therefore,…

Field Frame Friday: Squad goals.

Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) congregate in areas where natural cracks in the ice provide easy access into and out of the water, and while Antarctic waters remain around -2°C (~28°F) which may seem cold to us, these seals are well adapted to spending hours at a time in the water. [Caption and Photo taken (under…

Sunday Sketch: Lacewing Trash-Packages

Why bother with camouflage when you can just play dress-up? The larvae of green lacewings (order Neuroptera) blend into their surroundings by attaching bits of debris to small, hook-like structures on their backs. These “trash-packages” can consist of plant matter, lichen, dirt, or even the dead bodies of their prey (aphids)!  Sketch and fact contributed…

Field Frame Friday: Wasps make good neighbors.

Female yellow-rumped caciques (Cacicus cela) choose to build their unique, enclosed, hanging nests next to wasp nests to provide protection from mammals and botflies. [Photo by Grace Davis in Barro Colorado Island, Panama; Caption by Maggie Creamer] Reference Corwin, P. (2012). Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab…

Field Notes: Southern California- home of Disneyland, action movies, and rainbow trout”

Working for Cramer Fish Sciences in Sacramento, California, I have been able to conduct field research in many of the California’s river systems and help inform fisheries and natural resource issues. Our primary study species, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) need these anadromous (river to sea connected) waters throughout their various…

Creature Feature: Charoxus Rove Beetle

Rove beetles are insects within the family Staphylinidae which includes around 63,000 species and thousands of genera. One of these genera in particular, Charoxus, appears to take advantage of the very tight mutualistic relationship between fig trees and their pollinating wasps. Fig trees, those in the genus Ficus, are pollinated by wasps in the family…

Sunday Sketch: White-tailed Deer

White-tailed bucks carry a prominent set of antlers in the summer and fall, which are grown annually and shed in the winter months. A set of antlers is made up of a number of different points, called “tines.” The length and number of tines are determined by nutrition, genetics, and age. While the antlers are…

Creature Feature: Flapper Skate

           When I refer to the skate as one of my study organisms, I tend to receive a blank stare. To be fair, as someone whose interest in research was sparked by popularized megafauna such as the great white shark, I understand that reaction. After all, when it comes to shark cousins, the ray takes…

Sunday Sketch: Calves and Colostrum

Calves (baby cattle) receive passive immunity through the intake of colostrum (the first form of milk) provided by their mothers shortly after birth. This important transfer protects them from infection! Sketch and fact contributed by Rachael Coon Source: McGee, M., & Earley, B. (2019). Review: passive immunity in beef-suckler calves. Animal, 13(4), 810-825. doi: 10.1017/S1751731118003026

Creature Feature: Thresher Shark

If you’re a fish in the ocean, you need to watch out for the tail end of this top predator rather than their razor sharp teeth!