Creature Feature: Mexican Free-tailed Bat

Batshit crazy. Batty. Bats in the belfry. Blind as a bat. A cursory examination of these idioms does not exactly paint a pretty picture of the collective opinion of our winged mammalian relatives. Bats, however, have a slew of fascinating behavioral and morphological traits that should elicit awe and recognition. The Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida…

Creature Feature: American Horseshoe Crab

Move over dinosaurs, there is a cooler fossil in town! Meet the American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus); don’t be fooled, it is neither a horse, nor a crab, but a close relative of spiders and scorpions (class: arachnids) [1][3]. These marine invertebrates are considered living fossils as their body structure, which has made them so…

Creature Feature: Toxoplasma gondii

We’ve all heard the stereotype of the crazy cat person (usually lady) who really, really likes cats. So much so, that this person has a house teeming with felines, fur, and foul fish-flavored scent of cat food. It’s easy to tease friends for being at risk of becoming  “crazy cat people”. But what if these…

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…

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…