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 Diversti√© 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…

Field Frame Friday: Karma Karma Chameleon

Many chameleons (especially of genus Furcifer) can change color extremely rapidly not only for camouflage, but also for communication, courtship, and contests. A recent study finds that complex and quick color changes are attributed to two layers of skin that contain crystals that reflect light. The double layer of skin also may provide thermal protection…

Field Frame Friday: A Sunrise Serenade with Song and Smells

Many bat species sing complex ultrasonic songs to attract mates and repel rivals [1]. An extremely eloquent singer is the neotropical great sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata). Males of this bat species sing year round during dusk and dawn, but singing is most intense during the annual mating season [2]. Then, harem males will sing for…

Field Frame Friday: Not So Busy Bee

Busy bee? Not so much. This bee is taking a nap in this flower, which is more common than you may think! Social bees like honey bees have a nest to come home to every night and only sleep outside if they get lost during sundown or become too cold to fly back to the…

Field Frame Friday: Sneaky Snake Alert!

Many animals may respond to the presence of a predator by eliciting a signal that alerts other individuals in the area. Since snakes are a major predator of monkeys, they often respond very strongly whenever one is nearby. The female long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) in this photo is very upset with a large boa constrictor…

Field Frame Friday: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Titi monkeys are pair-bonding monkeys. They engage in affiliative behaviors like the one depicted here: tail twining! Titi monkeys tail twine during the day in order to maintain contact with their partner, similar to hand-holding in humans. At night, titi monkeys tail twine to maintain proximity and help each other balance while sleeping! Happy Valentine’s Day!…