Sunday Sketch: Firefly squid

As we light the last night of the Hanukkah menorah tomorrow, we look to the animal world to see some of their cool lights. The firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans) produces tiny flashes of light from hundreds of tiny organs on its body.  Sketch and fact contributed by Amelia Munson Source: Tsuji, F. I. (1985). ATP-dependent bioluminescence…

Sunday Sketch: Highland cattle

Did you know that Highland cattle have established dominance hierarchies? The strong relationships between these cattle were associated with low aggressive tension, which could help explain their increased reproductive performance! Sketch contributed by Maggie Creamer Source:  Reinhardt, C., Reinhardt, A., & Reinhardt, V. (1986). Social behaviour and reproductive performance in semi-wild Scottish Highland cattle. Applied Animal…

Sunday Sketch: Peacock spider

Did you know that male peacock spiders (Maratus spp.) perform elaborate courtship displays to attract mates? In the coastal peacock spider (Maratus speciosus), the male extends his opisthosoma (the fan-like back) and orange setae (hair-like structures on either side) to produce a colorful display! Sketch contributed by Lea Pollack Source: Otto, J., & Hill, D….

Sunday Sketch: Kiwi dads

Did you know? Kiwi dads are excellent fathers! They alone incubate their one, giant egg each year for about 3 months on end (Taborsky & Taborksy 1999). Sketch and fact contributed by Victoria Farrar Source: Taborsky, B. and Taborsky, M. (1999). The mating system and stability of pairs in the kiwi Apteryx spp.  J. Avian…

Sunday Sketch: Opossum Nipples

Did you know that the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) has 13 nipples – 12 arranged in a circle with one in the middle?  They are also North America’s only marsupial. Spooky! Sketch and fact contributed by Victoria Farrar Source: Whitson, M. 2017. “Didelphis virginiana: Life History.” Accessed 10 October 2018, available from Encyclopedia of Life, http://eol.org/pages/328501

Sunday Sketch: Manatee Mammaries

Armpits may be a ticklish place for humans, but for manatees (Order: Sirenia), armpits are good for nursing young! Manatees are mammals and nurse their offspring with mammary glands that are located under the pectoral flippers for over a year. Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau Source: Berta, A. (2012). Diversity, Evolution, and Adaptations…

Sunday Sketch: Goats and Smiles

If you want to befriend a goat, better say cheese! New research shows that goats can distinguish between human happy and sad faces, and prefer the pictures of humans that smile! When presented with images of the two facial expressions, goats spent 50% more time approaching and nudging the happy-face photos. This has important implications…

Sunday Sketch: Monkey Mountain

In Kowloon and New Territory, Hong Kong, over 1000 free-ranging Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) live just minutes from the busiest part of the city! These daring monkeys relax in the middle of roads, on overpasses, and on top of bus stops. Their charming personalities and surprising location have made these…

Sunday Sketch: Gecko Toes

If you have ever been in the tropics and seen a gecko crawl effortlessly across your ceiling, you may have asked yourself, how do they do that? Contrary to popular belief, gecko toes aren’t sticky, but in fact utilize electromagnetic attraction between microscopic toe hairs called setae, and the fine contours of the walls and…

Sunday Sketch: Marmoset Fathers

Even among nature’s best dads, some are better than others! Marmoset dads who respond to infant distress calls quickly and early in their offspring’s life are more likely to have offspring that survive beyond 30 days and are also more likely to gain weight quicker than babies of less attentive dads. Researchers indicate this comes…