Sunny Sketch: No Inkling of Ink

The dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis) is distinguished from its octopus brethren by its adorable ear-like fins that provide its namesake. However, there are also a few other characteristics that make this little creature unique. First of all, it is indeed a little creature compared to most other octopodes, with an average size of just 20-30…

Sunday Sketch: Birds of a feather

For most raptors, hunting is not a team sport. Harris’ hawks, however, play the game a bit differently. Although a few other raptors are known to hunt cooperatively, Harris’ hawks are by far the most cooperative and coordinated in their hunting behavior. They use many strategies for hunting that rely on coordinated maneuvers by each…

Sunday Sketch: Wiley as a Fox

Hunting is hard. Hunting in the snow? Even harder. A study on wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the Czech Republic indicates that these cunning hunters have an additional weapon in their arsenal—magnetic sensation! The study showed that foxes strongly preferred to pounce on their prey by jumping in the direction facing magnetic north east….

Sunday Sketch: Between a rock and a hard place

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are one of the most common monkeys in southeast Asia. Some populations along the shore are found to use stones as tools to crack oysters, bivalves and various kinds of shellfish. This tool-related foraging technique is extremely rare among primates. The tool use behaviors are found only in some populations of monkey species in the same location despite sharing environmental…

Sunday Sketch: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are known for stealing food from tourists in several areas. Populations in Uluwatu temple, Indonesia are more advanced and steal valuables stuff such as phones, wallets, and glasses from tourists. They cannot consume those objects, but they wait for the temple staff to trade for them with fruits. This foraging techniques…

Sunday Sketch: Horny Beetles

The horn of the giant rhinoceros beetle (Trypoxylus dichotomus) is a classic example of an elaborate trait that arises due to sexual selection. These beetles use their horns to fight over females and these fights get intense. So intense that males are able to break their horns off during vigorous fights with other males. Surprisingly,…

Sunday Sketch: Otter Pockets

In stark contrast to humans, otters have successfully achieved gender equality when it comes to pockets. Both female and male otters have baggy portions of loose skin under their forearms that they can use to store various items. These pockets are often used to store food for later, but are also home to rocks that…

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…