Creature feature: Common poorwill

At a time when people are encouraged to isolate themselves and remain indoors to slow the spread of the 2019 coronavirus, many of us are feeling antsy or idle. But sitting inactive for long periods of time is the name of the game for the common poorwill. These birds are a member of the nightjar…

Creature Feature: Ringneck snake

To readers with ophidiophobia, or the fear of snakes, Ireland should be high on your vacation destination list. Popular legend attributes the Emerald Isle’s lack of legless reptiles to the actions of St. Patrick. He is said to have banished all snakes from Ireland in the 5th century AD after the serpentine critters attempted to…

Creature Feature: World Wildlife Day

Biodiversity encompasses all life on Earth: from the adorable birds in your backyard to the terrific trees that provide shade each summer, the fresh fish in your tacos to the sneaky squirrel that tries to snag your snack . . .

Creature Feature: the Greater Spear-Nosed Bat

“I think he’s in the termite mound!” I shouted. Camila Calderón, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, called back: “No! Let’s keep looking over this hill! Maybe the signal is bouncing!” Camila studies the greater spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus hastatus (or just Phast to its friends). With a typical adult wingspan of…

Creature Feature: Banggai cardinalfish

A population of small reef fish hiding amongst the spines of sea urchins in the Banggai Archipelago, doing their best to avoid capture by the hands of ornamental fish collectors, may now depend on their captors to ensure existence in the wild. The Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) are in trouble as result of their unique…

Creature Feature: Reindeer

With jack frost nipping at your nose and holiday spiced drinks at your local coffee shop, ‘tis the season to be on the lookout for reindeer. Even if you don’t leave carrots by the chimney for Rudolf on Christmas Eve, reindeer are handsome, hardy animals that inspire thoughts of sparkling white snowscapes, the north woods,…

Creature Feature: Fire Salamander

We’ve seen psychedelic reptiles on this blog before.  Surely, you may be thinking, the pool of psychedelic species is relatively limited. Not so fast!  Poisons are incredibly important for amphibian defense, so there tend to be lots of poisonous amphibians around.  And, for whatever reason, humans like to ingest these intended toxins to try and…