Sunday Sketch: Purple Sea Urchins

Purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), believe it or not, are actually closely related to humans as revealed by genomic sequencing.  Sea urchins, in general, have a range of lifespans, and purple sea urchins have one of the highest with a maximum of more than 50 years!  This makes sea urchins relevant for a variety of aging research.  …

Sunday Sketch: Flies and Stripes

For years, humans have postulated and told folktales to answer the question, “Why did zebras get their stripes?” Now scientists may have an answer: pest control! While the stripes may not deter biting flies from afar, researchers found that flies failed to make controlled landings on the zebra by either failing to decelerate and bumping…

Sunday Sketch: Cichlid Moms

“Fish are babies, not food!” Mother Astatotilapia burtoni cichlids may need to take a reminder from the sharks of Finding Nemo. These fish have an extreme form of maternal care. After laying their eggs, they carry them around in their mouths until they hatch! Protecting their eggs from all kinds of would-be predators comes at…

Sunday Sketch: Whistling Caterpillars

Many caterpillars have colorful and sometimes toxic defenses against predators, but the North American Walnut Sphinx caterpillar really knows how to startle a would-be attacker. These little guys produce high-pitched whistles that have birds diving away from them in confusion! Fact and sketch contributed by Amelia Munson Source: Bura, V. L., Rohwer, V. G., Martin, P….

Sunday Sketch: Rabbits and Food Preferences

*Sniff, sniff* “That’s my favorite!” Rabbits can transfer food preference information to their offspring during different stages of development. They can be exposed to the mother’s food preference in utero, through nursing, and through exposure to the mother’s poop that are in the nest!  Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau Bilko, A., Altbacker, V. &…

Sunday Sketch: The Dolphin Digestive Tract Debris Dilemma

A recent study found plastic debris in the digestive tracts of 50 dolphins, whales, and seals. Surprisingly, a large amount of the trash came from synthetic fibers (found in clothing, fishing nets, and toothbrushes), while the rest were from plastic fragments. Keep in mind that plastic pollution affects many other marine organisms, as well. Therefore,…

Sunday Sketch: Lacewing Trash-Packages

Why bother with camouflage when you can just play dress-up? The larvae of green lacewings (order Neuroptera) blend into their surroundings by attaching bits of debris to small, hook-like structures on their backs. These “trash-packages” can consist of plant matter, lichen, dirt, or even the dead bodies of their prey (aphids)!  Sketch and fact contributed…

Sunday Sketch: White-tailed Deer

White-tailed bucks carry a prominent set of antlers in the summer and fall, which are grown annually and shed in the winter months. A set of antlers is made up of a number of different points, called “tines.” The length and number of tines are determined by nutrition, genetics, and age. While the antlers are…

Sunday Sketch: Calves and Colostrum

Calves (baby cattle) receive passive immunity through the intake of colostrum (the first form of milk) provided by their mothers shortly after birth. This important transfer protects them from infection! Sketch and fact contributed by Rachael Coon Source: McGee, M., & Earley, B. (2019). Review: passive immunity in beef-suckler calves. Animal, 13(4), 810-825. doi: 10.1017/S1751731118003026