Field Frame Friday: I wanna eat where the fishies are (but I can’t).

Unlike other marine birds such as cormorants and pelicans, western gulls (Larus occidentalis) don’t have the ability to dive. They considered foraging generalists and have 3 primary foraging methods: picking up prey from the ground or intertidal zone, surface dipping (pictured here), and jump plunging (where gulls will jump off a rock head first to…

Field Frame Friday: Meet George the gentle giant and his magic poop

The introduction of a ‘replacement’ species to areas that have suffered ecosystem damages due to the extinction of a similar species can greatly improve ecosystem health and species diversity. For instance, introduction of Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) to an area that had recently lost all large frugivores (animals that eat mostly fruit) that were…

Field Frame Friday: Hummingbirds are so. fly.

Hummingbirds (Trochilidae) rely less on thrusting themselves into the air using their legs than other birds during take-off. Instead they compensate by using their wings earlier on in the take-off process. This phenomena was observed most when hummingbirds took off to either escape something startling or to initiate aggression with another habitat (rather than simply…

Field Frame Friday: Food poisoning continues to curse California condors.

Did you know that this scavenger gets food poisoning, but maybe not in the “rotten meat” way you think. In the 1980s, California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) were considered extinct in the wild due to many factors, but largely from unintentional lead poisoning from bullet fragments left in terrestrial animal carcasses. Due to captive breeding there…

Field Frame Friday: Dimethylsulfoniopropionate: what a mouth full… of food.

Bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus) or ‘omilu in Hawaiian are able to detect dimethylsulfoniopropionate (say that 5 times fast, or just say DMSP). DMSP is a chemical produced by phytoplankton (marine algae) that is an indicator of food productivity. This chemosensory adaptation is important for foraging success! [Photo and caption by Karli Chudeau] DeBose, J.L., Nevitt,…

Field Frame Friday: Garibaldi neighbors respect the “no trespassing” signs.

Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) are territorial fish. Males will clear bottom territories and combat other fish and even SCUBA divers that come too close to their territory. However, it is uncommon that there is intraspecfic aggression; Garibaldis generally “respect” each other’s territories, so there is no need for aggression within species. [Photo by Nick Chudeau and…

Field Frame Friday: This is my ‘Don’t mess with me’ face

This lone male clearly wants to range alone as he is trying to scare us off by displaying aggressive behaviors. Aggression in macaques, and in this example long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), can be identified via the intense direct stare, raised eyebrows and round “open threat face”.  [Photo and caption by Josephine Hubbard] Reference Van Hooff, J. A. R. A. M. (1967)….

Field Frame Friday: Solar powered skink!

The brown tree skink (Dasia grisea) shown here is catching some afternoon rays in the warm Malaysian sun. Since reptiles are cold-blooded animals, they capitalize on the energy of the sun to maintain an optimal body temperature (known as thermoregulation). [Photo and caption by Josie Hubbard] Cox, van Dijk, Nabhitabhata, Thirakhupt, 1998. A photographic Guide…