Field Frame Friday: You know what they say about long tails..

Although all Paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata) females are red, males come in multiple colors, including red/blue, white/blue, and intermediate patterns as shown here. Males sport long tails almost the length of their body, which may help them gain mating advantages as they compete for females.  [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Sinclair, I., & Langrand,…

Field Frame Friday: Cat Call via Crab Claw?

“Hey there, wanna check out my burrow?” Fiddler crabs (genus: Uca) have sexual dimorphism, meaning that males and females have different characteristics aside from their sexual organs. This male thick-legged fiddler crab (Uca crassipes) has a claw that is much larger than the female (on the right) and can be used for communication, courtship, and…

Field Frame Friday Mother’s Day edition: Mother knows best

Ladies want the best for their kids. For, lady beetles (Family: Coccinellidae), they want to lay their eggs (a.k.a. oviposition) in a place where their larvae will be able to have lots of high-quality food and low chances of getting beaten up by bullies (a.k.a intraspecific predation) or eaten by predators. Although it is unknown…

Field Frame Friday: Incoming sea gull! Take (algae) cover!

Sea urchins, including this purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) will use their tiny tube feet to grab and cover themselves in pieces of algae, small rocks or shells. It is thought that this behavior protects urchins from drying out in tidepools, getting eaten by seagulls, or being damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. [Photo and…

Field Frame Friday: Fossa need some floss-a

The Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) is a small terrestrial carnivore from Madagascar’s rain forests. Contrary to their name, they are not closely related to civets, but rather a part of the endemic family Eupleridae. They have a diverse diet including crabs, frogs, snakes, millipedes, rodents, and tenrecs. This photo was captured using camera-traps, a type…

Field Frame Friday: Webbed-toes and ringed tails

Ring tailed mongooses (Galidia elegans) have webbing in between their toes, which allows them to more easily run around the unstable forests that they call home. This adaptation can even allow them to swim! [Photo and caption by Meredith Lutz] Goodman et al. (2012) Les Carnivora de Madagascar. Association Vahatra Guides Dur La Diverstié Biologique…

Field Frame Friday: Silky, elusive, and endangered

Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) are among the worlds most endangered primates, with less than 1000 remaining in the wild. Native to the steep, mountainous rainforests of northeastern Madagascar, silkies, as they are often called, make ‘zzuss’ vocializations. Sounding like a combination of a sneeze, a lip smack, and sifaka, these calls act as both alarm…

Field Frame(s) Friday: COVID-19 Edition

COVID-19 Edition: While navigating through uncharted waters of a pandemic, scientists are dealing with physical isolation, the inability to run lab experiments, the uncertain fates of upcoming field seasons, and learning how to work from home! In the upcoming weeks, unable to resist our scientific endeavors, we will be sprinkling in how animal behavior researchers at UC Davis continue research in the “field.”

Field Frame Friday: Beauty in Decay

I found this violet bellied hummingbird (Juliamyia julie) in Panama shortly after it died. The iridescence in hummingbird feathers does not come from pigmentation; it is structural. Microscopic “bubbles” in hummingbird feathers refract light; the size and arrangement of the bubbles determines the colors that escape, creating brilliant patterns like the rainbow seen on this…

Field Frame Friday: Tread carefully to avoid becoming a snake snack.

When your fieldwork requires traipsing through the forest understory, you often need to keep your eyes open for elusive dangerous creatures you may encounter. Since I conduct my fieldwork in peninsular Malaysia, I need to look out for creatures such as the wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri). Also known as the “temple viper”, these snakes…