Five winners! Of more than 70 taxonomy appreciation puns emailed, Facebooked, commented, and tweeted our way, our esteemed and impartial judges selected their five punniest winners. We present them to you now, just in time for Taxonomist Appreciation Day!* Check in each day this week to see a new winner. And thanks for all the excellent submissions!
And, drumroll please: Our first winner for 2015!
And our second winner:
Pun by Julie Himes (@jehimes). Illustration by Hoot (@sarahblackmon).
And our day three winner:
Pun by Rick Wright (@birdernewjersey), illustration by Heather Copley.
Here’s winner #4:
And finally, winner #5:
Meet our celebrity judges!
Matt Shipman (@ShipLives) is a public information officer at North Carolina State University and a freelance science writer. He also writes the Communication Breakdown blog, which focuses on science communication. He lives near Raleigh, in a house full of humans.
Gwen Pearson (@Bug_Gwen) writes for WIRED science. She also is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Purdue Department of Entomology.
Dr. Floyd W. Shockley (@Beetle_Guy) is the Acting Collections Manager of the National Insect Collection in the Department of Entomology at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. In addition to managing the 35 million specimens in the collection, he is an expert on […]
Like their fine feathered friends, fishes build nests too. Check out these fish who nest with the best of them!
Hoping to attract the ladies, male cichlid (Lamprologus callipterus) industriously hoard empty snail shells in Africa’s Lake Tanganyika. Bigger is better, as females prefer to release their eggs in large shells collected by large males.
Three-spined sticklebacks males spend hours moving around mouthfuls of sand and collecting mouthfuls of algae. Sticky mucus (complete with an antibacterial protein called spiggin) secreted from the males’ kidneys glues together the gathered algae to form hobbit hole-like nests—sometimes, sticklebacks with an eye for design add a red accent at the nest’s entrance to catch a female’s attention.
Bluehead chub do some heavy lifting of their own, moving thousands of rocks to nest-building sites in freshwater streams. As the rocks start to pile up, females take notice and deposit their eggs into the safety of the rocky mounds. Chub nests are popular places—more than 30 other species of fishes also spawn in their boulder homes!
Perhaps most elegant and artistic of all fish nests is that of a pufferfish from the Tetraodontidae family. These meter-wide underwater crop circles are crafted by a single male no larger than your hand. Days of vigorous tail shimmying, pectoral fin flipping, and an eye for symmetry produces a sandy castle fit for a fish queen.
Written by Natalie Sopinka and illustrated by Bethann Garramon Merkle.
Natalie Sopinka recently finished her PhD at the University of British Columbia studying what happens to salmon babies when their mom is stressed […]
In honor of our great appreciation for those who love to order, classify, categorize, group, arrange, grade and rank (and just in time for Taxonomist Appreciation Day), Buzz Hoot Roar is proud to announce its second annual pun contest.
Here’s how it works:
1. Tweet us your best taxonomy-related pun by Friday, February 27.
2. We’ll select our five favorites.
3. Winners will receive: their puns illustrated on Buzz Hoot Roar’s blog, a set of printed greeting cards to share with the taxonomists in their lives, and a BHR super-soft T-shirt.
Let the witticisms begin!
Welcome to winter’s icy dread: Everywhere we look, people are miserably shuffling about, constantly sniffing back a runny nose. While the sneezing soul crammed next to you on the bus might seem adversarial toward your good health, the world is full of critters that have truly weaponized their gooey secretions. This winter, we’re jealous of these four:
1. Hagfish: These primitive, worm-like fish, with their scaleless bodies and poor eyesight, seem like easy prey for predatory fish.
But hagfish, when threatened, release a thick slime from glands running along their sides.
This slime quickly expands in seawater to several gallons’ worth of slippery, translucent grossness. The booger cloud clogs the gills of attackers, promptly persuading them to cough out their hagfish meal.
2. Boxfish: When harassed, these little reef fish excrete a soapy mucus from their skin, which disperses widely into the water.
It is loaded with pahutoxin, a potent, lethal poison that targets enemies’ gills, destroying red blood cells.
Aquarium-residing boxfish, hours after a chance poisonous release, are commonly discovered as a lone, oblivious survivor surrounded by scores of dead tankmates.
3. Velvet worms: These weird, plushy invertebrates are slow, but they capture their food in an amazing fashion.
Velvet worms have two glands near their mouths that […]
Hipsters of the animal world, these creatures’ beards boast form and function.
Harvester ants, the original bearded ladies, have long goatees (called psammophores) they use for scooping up otherwise slippery sand and seeds. Their lovely chin locks can increase their carrying capacity up to 200 percent.
Male goats, purveyors of the first goatees, urinate on their beards to appear sexier to hot-to-trot females.
Walruses. No, they don’t want to sell you any Quaker Oats or diabetes supplies. Walruses just want to use their mustaches (made of hairs called vibrissae) to snarfle around the ocean floor, looking for mussels and clams to eat.
Although they don’t look bearded, Geoffroyi’s marmosets use their Chairman Mao-like hairdos to let the ladies know they are the sexiest game in town. It works for the marmoset, but did it work for Mao?
By Roar and David Eichenberger.
David Eichenberger is an illustrator/muralist from Raleigh, North Carolina. He currently works at the Autism Society of North Carolina as an art specialist. You can see his most current projects on his Instagram feed, @troubleberger or follow him on twitter at @dmeichenberger. His website is davideichenberger.carbonmade.c
Thirsty? Why not turn yourself to glass until you can get a drink? That’s what a tiny fly called the sleeping chironomid does.
As babies passing their days in the super-dry areas of Africa, sleeping chironomids live in little huts they make for themselves out of dirt and slobber.
The problem with living in a puddle in a super-dry place is that puddles don’t last too long. Everybody dries up.
If we dried up, our cells would collapse and would be irrevocably damaged. Nobody could bring us back to life. If we lose just 14 percent of our bodies’ water, we croak. Remember all those leathery people they find in the desert sometimes? That’s people for you.
To keep their cells from the fate of humans, sleeping chironomids first make a whole bunch of sugar called trehalose, which takes the place of water in their cells.
Check our facts!
By Roar and Chris Hedstrom.
Chris Hedstrom is a entomologist in Corvallis, OR studying biological control for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He’s also an illustrator and photographer. Check out new drawings, photos and writing as they appear at chedstrom.tumblr.com or ore
Yes, you CAN have your peanut butter and some roaches, too! In the United States, it’s legal to get served a little extra protein in your PB&J. Even vegetarians get a little extra meat, whether they want it or not.
Peanut butter: You can have up to 30 insect parts or 1 rodent hair per 100 grams.
Chocolate: If you want that Hershey bar, go for it, and get yourself up to 60 insect fragments or a big, fat rodent hair in every 100 grams.
Canned fruit juice: Have yourself a nice glass of orange juice—with up to one maggot for FREE!
Cornmeal: If you want to go whole-hog, may we suggest some cornmeal? You can get up to one whole insect per 50 grams and up to 1 piece of rodent doo doo per 50 grams (on average) and be juuuust fine. Tamales and hushpuppies for everyone!
Fish: Because we like oozy things, we’d love to see the stuff we’re allowed to eat on fish. With red fish and ocean perch, we can have copepods “accompanied by pus pockets,” and for blue fin and other freshwater herring, we can have up to 60 parasitic cysts per 100 fish.
Hops: How about a beer? With an average of more than 2,500 aphids […]