Field Frame Friday: No provisioning allowed!

When humans voluntarily feed wildlife, it is referred to as provisioning. Although this may appear a harmless and fun activity for visiting tourists, these small acts of “kindness” can have profound effects on wildlife. For example, provisioning can lead to increased aggression among individuals monkeys in a social group, as they are competing over a…

Field Frame Friday: Day gecko, night gecko

Madagascar day geckos (Genus Phelsuma) are important pollinators for Malagasy plants. In fact, the plants often have colored nectar, which is preferred by the day geckos. [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Minnaar, I. A., Köhler, A., Purchase, C., & Nicolson, S. W. (2013). Coloured and Toxic Nectar: Feeding Choices of the Madagascar Giant Day…

Field Frame Friday: Mistletoe Munching

Mistletoe does not only serve to incite smooches on Christmas, but it’s also a tasty snack for Diademed Sifakas (Propithecus diadema) in Madagascar. When resources are few and far between in the winter, Sifakas rely on mistletoe and this reliance can reduce group cohesion in fragmented forests. Mistletoe may bring humans together, but it makes…

Field Frame Friday Holiday Edition: Christmas in the Field

Alexander is spending Christmas on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The island is quiet for the holiday: only him, a handful of guardabosques (“Forest Guards”, similar to game wardens, that help maintain and protect the Barro Colorado National Monument), and a few cooks. They had a special lunch,…

Field Frame Friday: Beggars can’t be choosers

Ever had your pet beg to you for food? Well this is no different. This is Emma, performing her signature “hands out” behavior to indicate that she would like you to share whatever scrumptious things you have with her. Emma is a long tailed macaque that lives in a tourist park outside of Kuala Lumpur,…

Field Frame Friday: Literal love birds!

Madagascar love birds are the smallest lovebirds and one of three sexually dimorphic (meaning males and females look different in size or color) lovebirds. Lovebirds got their names as they often sit in pairs preening each other’s feathers [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Dubuc, R. G. Family Tree of the African Love Bird. AFA Watchbird, 5(1),…

Field Frame Friday: Excuse me? May I park my infant here please?

Ruffed lemurs, like the black and white ruffed lemur pictured here (Varecia variegata editorum) exhibit a unique infant rearing strategy among primates. They give birth to litters of 2-3 altricial (meaning that they are rather helpless and not as developed at birth) babies in a nest. The babies stay in the nest while one adult…

Field Frame Friday: Beware the hair!

It only takes one of these caterpillars to royally ruin a perfectly good field day. Caterpillars like these are covered in irritating hairs to avoid predation. However, if a human has an unexpected encounter with one, it can result in an uncomfortable skin rash that can last from minutes to hours. Thankfully I found this…

Field Frame Friday: Eat Dirt!

Geophagy, or eating soil, is observed in a variety of folivorous (leaf-eating) primates, including diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) in the Maromizaha Protected area. This behavior may help to protect against harmful chemicals found in the leaves that they consume. [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Semel, B. P., Baden, A. L., Salisbury, R. L., McGee, E….

Field Frame Friday: PVC is marine mammal enrichment’s best friend.

This is what science looks like! That is if your science involves building enrichment puzzles for seals to help them learn how to forage for food! Enrichment and is a tool used to promote positive behaviors and provide cognitive stimulation to animals. This stimulus aims to encourage a species-typical “rock flipping” behavior in Hawaiian monk…