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

Sunday Sketch: The Narwhal

Unlike mythical unicorns, the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is real and most closely related to beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)! However, that is not a horn on their head but a tooth that males (and some females) have. The functions of the narwhal tooth are still being researched, but it is suggested that it can be used…

Sunday Sketch: Blue Jays and Ants

Do blue jays use ants as deodorant? It was once hypothesized that blue jays (and other jay species) would use the formic acid from ants to clean their feathers of parasites or as a form of chemosignalling. However, a study in Chemoecology tested this hypothesis by providing jays with ants with or without formic acid. Turns out…

Sunday Sketch: Opalescent Weevil

Insects come in many beautiful shapes, sizes, and colors – and Pachyrynchus argus, a weevil found in Australia, is gorgeous inside and out! Its iridescent patches are as structurally unique as they are lovely to look at. Whereas most insects only appear glittery in direct sunlight (due to the mirrorlike layers in their exoskeleton), P. argus’ showy shine…

Sunday Sketch: Right-Handed Sharks

Climate change alters many aspects of the ocean ecosystem, including how fish grow and develop. Recent research found that raising Port Jackson shark eggs (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) in warmer temperatures (based on those projected for end-of-century) led to increased mortality and, in those that survived, increased right-handedness!  Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau Vila Pouca, C.,…