Sunday Sketch: Armadillo Quadruplets

Did you know? The nine-banded armadillo nearly always gives birth to identical quadruplets! If she has a hard time telling them apart, don’t blame her: she has her hands full! Fact and sketch contributed by Amelia Munson Sources: Stockard, C. R. (1921). A probable explanation of polyembryony in the armadillo. The American Naturalist, 55(636), 62-68….

Field Fiasco Friday: Fishy Business

On a bright and sunny day in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar, I prepared for another day in the field, following a group of wild lemurs. I filled my water bottle, grabbed my lunch, threw my backpack over one shoulder and set off up the hill to meet my local guide at our usual meeting…

Ecotourism: National Parks

This week, we conclude our series on ecotourism. This time, we are featuring opportunities that are a little closer to home. Whether they know it or not, many people in the United States engage in ecotourism in their own backyards. The National Park Service, founded in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, oversees 417 areas in…

Creature Feature: Tailless whip scorpion

These elusive critters look like something straight out of a horror movie. They are members of the order Amblypygi and within the arachnid family, which includes spiders1. In contrast to the whip scorpions or vinegarroons (Uropygi)—another order of arachnids—these creatures lack the tails that lend them the partial title of “scorpion”. Though they have the…

Sunday Sketch: Grandma Aphid

Did you know? In many aphid species, a female will regularly give birth to a live clone. These newborn clones already contain a developing daughter within them. Termed “telescopic generation”, this allows aphids to multiply very quickly with or without males. So, the next time you’re pulling out your hair over these little bugs, be…

Field Fiasco: Fish in the driveway?!

This past year, Dr. Isaac Ligocki, an NSF post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Rebecca Calisi here at UC Davis, set out to do field work in Northern California. He aimed to examine the effects of a common group of pesticides: the pyrethroids—deemed “safe” alternatives for agricultural use. Widely used in the California Central Valley, these chemicals…

Ecotourism: Reading Monkey Faces

When traveling, it’s common to run across non-human primates—such as spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and rhesus macaques— either in a wild or captive setting. In some tropical tourist destinations, locals will carry these animals, eager to hand them over for a quick picture and a few dollars. In other places, tourists have the opportunity…

Creature Feature: Great white shark

It all begins with an innocent evening dip. A woman runs down the beach, stripping off her outer garments and diving into the cold, dark water of the Atlantic Ocean. Her identity is barely relevant, because just days later, remnants of her corpse are washed ashore – she is just another victim of the leviathan…

Ecotourism: Marine Adventures

One of the most popular places to spend a vacation is by the ocean. People are drawn to the water in search of both relaxation and adventure. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are all popular water-based sports. But today we’ll discuss two big marine ecotourism activities that are a bit more adventurous and slightly less…

Sunday Sketch: Tarantula Appetite

Did you know? Tarantulas can go up to two years between meals! When food sources are scarce, tarantulas are able to slow their metabolism to conserve energy until their next meal. For more information: Philip, B. N., & Shillington, C. (2010). The effect of prey availability on metabolism and activity in the tarantula Phormictopus cancerides….

Field Fiasco Friday: The Ticking Tick Bomb

As a native to the mountains of New York, I considered frog catching a favorite childhood pastime. I remember spending hours at the local streambed catching frogs, confining them in jars, and studying their behavior. In retrospect, this may have been my first signs as a budding field biologist, along with a naivety to the…