Sunday Sketch: Holy Halitosis, Spiderman!

Caterpillars of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta), as the name suggests, specialize on eating nicotine containing plants. Normally, nicotine is an effective plant defense against herbivores as it poisons various animals by interrupting neural mechanisms associated with muscle movement. Tobacco hornworms, however, can handle doses of nicotine that are lethal to herbivores that do not…

Sunday Sketch: Spider Emojis

The Hawaiian happy face spider (Theridion grallator) is endemic to the Hawaiian archipelago. Small (< 5 mm) and fairly inconspicuous despite their unique coloration, happy face spiders live on the underside of leaves on the islands of Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The spiders are polymorphic, showing individual variation in the pattern and color of…

Sunday Sketch: Speedy Beetles

Watch out! Tiger beetles run so fast that they temporarily go blind. To avoid tripping hazards (and find prey!) they run in short bursts, taking breaks to orient.

Sunday Sketch: Bee Kind to Native Pollinators

Native Californians like to do more than drink kombucha and go surfing together. Native poppies like these depend on pollinators like the long-horned bee (Eucera frater albopilosa). Bee Mixed-Media contributed by Amelia Munson Flowers Grown & Pressed by Ryane Logsdon (@itendswithe on Instagram) Source: Frankie, G. W., Thorp, R. W., Pawelek, J. C., Hernandez, J.,…

Sunday Sketch: Rockin’ Cockatoos

Humans aren’t the only accomplished drummers in the world! Palm cockatoos have been observed using tools to drum on trees. In many cases, males will drum in the presence of females. Visual and vocal displays often accompany these rhythmic beats. That’s right-these cockatoos know how to rock! Sketch contributed by Victoria Farrar and fact contributed by Lindsey Broadus…

Sunday Sketch: Ultimate marine predator vs. the panda of the ocean

Duhdum. Duhdum. Duhdumduhdumduh-move over Jaws soundtrack, the long (wrongly) vilified white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is now being replaced with a top predator that you may not expect: killer whales (Orcinus orca)! White sharks and transient (i.e. marine mammal eating) killer whales have similarly preferred food sources, and in the northeastern Pacific, there is regional overlap…

Sunday Sketch: Convict Cichlid

Did you know that the convict cichlid (Amatitlania siquia), a monogamous fish species that forms long-lasting pairs, can exhibit pessimism? In a recent study, female fish selected male partners and were then paired with preferred or non-preferred partners. The fish that were paired with non-preferred partners did not spawn as quickly as the others. Furthermore,…