"In some ways, Schwendeman's Taxidermy Studio is like any other small family business. David B. Schwendeman runs the shop, which was established by his grandfather nearly ninety years ago. David's nephews regularly help out. In other ways, it's not like anything you'd expect to find on Main St. in Milltown, New Jersey. Take a tour of the studio and learn how to flesh a bear, mount a rack and split an ear."
If that doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy, I don't know what will...More on taxidermy and diorama displays from Science Friday
Courtesy Mark RyanDiscover Life looks to be a great site that can help you identify or get vast amounts of information about plants or animals you see or come across in your daily travels, or just want to know more about. The following description comes from their homepage:
"We provide free on-line tools to identify species, share ways to teach and study nature's wonders, report findings, build maps, process images, and contribute to and learn from a growing, interactive encyclopedia of life that now has 1,354,546 species pages."
That's a lot of species pages. I did a search for the common crow and found tons of information and links about the Corvidae family which includes crows, magpies, ravens, jays, and allies. It brought up a list of 128 genera with links to countless (meaning I didn't count them) species. Plus some pages come with photos you can enlarge and zoom into for close-ups of different details. There are also interactive global maps displaying the ranges of species, and when I checked out "crocodile" it led me to this surprising link. I had no idea.
Lily, a 3-year-old pregnant black bear, made her den near a cabin in Ely, MN. Access to electricity, etc., meant that researchers were able to install a web cam in Lily's winter quarters. And today, their efforts may be rewarded. Biologist Lynn Rogers told the Associated Press that he thinks Lily's labor started today at around 2 pm. We should see cubs in the very near future.
Watch the live video stream for yourself. (A lot of people are trying to check it out. If you can't get through, try again later.)
Courtesy Rona ProudfootToday – April 15 and its federal tax deadline –may be a miserable day for Joe the Plumber, that vocal opponent of the redistribution of wealth through public taxation. But he’ll likely not find too many sympathizers among the animal kingdom.
While much of our humankind political debate revolves around if and how much wealth should be redistributed through public taxation, the issue is a given among most other animal species. Follow this link to a complete rundown by the New York Times. In essence, many animals have a culture of helping each other out and making sure the minimum needs of all are met. And sometimes they get real serious about it.
Courtesy J.M.GargI found especially interesting the practices of the rhesus monkey. When out hunting, if a single monkey finds a huge load of food, he/she is compelled by the species’ culture to notify others to come and enjoy the bounty. If it’s discovered he/she was hording the treasure and not sharing, a dominant male will unleash and harsh, stern physical penalty (without any preliminary audit like the IRS).
Vampire bats will actually do an “audit” of the stomachs of their comrades. If a particular bat appears to be bloated, they will “vigorously encourage” the glutton to regurgitate the excess food it had consumed to share among other bats in the group.
So if you’re having a hard time coughing up that dough to the IRS today, just be glad you’re not a rhesus monkey, vampire bat or some other tough taxing creature of the animal world. The means of taxation could be a whole lot more painful.
Courtesy Brauer, A.Welcome to another edition of “Add it to the list!” Buzzketeers. Or… is this the first edition? It feels like “Add it to the list!” has been a regular feature on Buzz for a couple years now, but, then again, I’ve been suffering from frequent and vivid waking dreams lately. So I might not be the best judge of what “actually exists” (to quote my therapists) right now.
As you possibly know, here on “Add it to the list!” we feature an animal, theory, vegetable, etc. that disgusts me or blows my mind. Such objects and constructs must be added to the list. That way I can keep mental tabs on them. And when the revolution comes, I’ll be able to sort all listed items into the “first against the wall” and “promotions all around” categories with confidence.
Previous items on the list (which may or may not have been featured on Buzz, and may or may not be featured in the future) include electric eels (tagged “Not actually an eel”), hagfish (tagged “Keep your lips off that thing!”), Schrödinger’s Cat (tagged “Please don’t say ‘quantum’ when I’m in the room”), and anglerfish (tagged “nobody wins the battle of the sexes”).
You get the idea, I’m sure.
So what do we learn today? Well, The Telegraph has alerted me to the existence of the barreleye fish. It seems that this singular creature has tubular shaped eyes to gather all available light in its native deep-sea habitat. Do you know what other light-gathering adaptation it has? A freaking see-through head!
OMG! These deep-sea fish! Somebody add that thing to the list!
Check it out:
It was thought that barreleye fish could only stare straight up, so that they might catch the silhouettes of prey swimming above them. Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, however, have recently observed the fish looking forward. Seeing a fish looking forward is hardly big news, I suppose, but… it’s sort of looking through it’s own head, you know? Yuckers.
Also, some species of barreleye have bioluminescent internal organs (their guts glow). And one species has a glowing rectal pouch.
I’m not sure if this fish is first against the wall, or deserving of a promotion, but, either way it must be recognized and dealt with. So, for glob’s sake, add it to the list!
Courtesy National GeographicNational Geographic has a nice map feature highlighting some lesser known endangered or threatened species in North America. The nocturnal American Burying Beetle is a quite attractive creature.
As biologists we spend a lot of time observing our focal species but we try to minimize any disturbance our activities might cause. However, sometimes we cannot get the data we need without intruding on the lives of our study species. For example, to determine the number of eggs laid in a nest or to determine when egg laying begins, we need to look inside the nest and doing so could have the potential to disrupt normal bird activity.
Courtesy Jarosław Pocztarski
In the field of ornithology there has been some concern that nest monitoring could either increase or decrease the risk of nest predation. An increase or decrease in the risk of nest predation could occur for several reasons (1) we are leaving human scent trails to the nest that predators follow, (2) predators are watching us and follow us to the nest, (3) we disrupt the incubation process causing the female to stay off the nest longer or (4) our activity at the nest deters predators.
A study was just published in the AUK (a journal of the American Ornithologists Union - http://www.aou.org/) trying to determine if nest monitoring affects the risk of nest predation in 11 species of birds in the Czech Republic. Using temperature data loggers placed inside each nest to determine when females were present or absent from the nest, Karel Weidinger found that activity at the nest as a result of nest monitoring does not increase the risk of nest predation. However, she did find that the risk of nest predation was slightly lower two hours following observer activity at the nest but this reduced risk did not change overall nesting success. This work supports previous research suggesting that nest monitoring activities do not affect the risk of predation. This is great news for biologists because now we can be more confident that monitoring bird nests does not increase the risk of predation.