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Our Favorite Shower Singers

Sometimes before we fall asleep, it makes us happy to think of all the wonderful things right under our noses that humans are just now discovering. Like mice roaring to their lovers and giraffes humming into the darkness. All kinds of “silent” animals turn out to be making a racket—we just didn’t know about it until recently. While they’re probably not going to form a new rock band any time soon, we think it’d be pretty killer if some of our favorite secret singers teamed up.

Strumming the bass: giraffes

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Thought since forever to be silent giants, in 2015 researchers recorded giraffes humming tunes at night. They’re not sure yet why they hum, but it sounds like happy Tibetan monks wandering a country road.

Keeping the beat: baby fish

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Grey snapper larvae pop and growl at each other in their little fishy nests. Those who watch them don’t think they’re mad; instead they might be checking in on each other in the dark when they can’t see.

At the mic: mice

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Male Peromyscus sp. are more of the John Lenonesque crooners of the mouse world, while females play the Yoko, barking and roaring to their loves. All this mousy singing takes place in ultrasound, just outside our human hearing.

Adding whimsy: turtles

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South American river turtles (Podocnemis expansa) would play the kazoo in our band because, to be polite, their vocalizations sound a bit like tooting. These turtles have a lot to say to each other, but our favorite is […]

By |April 27th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Usual Suspects

Most entomologists have received a phone call along the lines of, “YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS CRAZY BUG.” These calls often feature the same few species, and entomologists usually can make a quick tentative ID of the “usual suspects.” Here are some of eastern North America’s repeat offenders:

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cicada.solo

Unlike their periodical cousins, adult dog day cicadas turn up each summer. Males sing to females using membranes called tymbals.1 The resulting sound, resembling a shaking metal sheet, is produced when the males flex their muscles, buckling the tymbals.

argiope

This spider has been wrongly accused! The golden garden spider is often found on the sides of homes. Females are large and vibrant, while males are small and drably colored.2 The female’s bold, aposematic coloring may be frightening, but she’s unlikely to bite. If found inside, try gently moving her outdoors to safety.3

belostomatid.solo

These voracious predators are aquatic and often become disoriented by porch lights as they’re flying to new habitats. To move this bug to safety, use a safe transport technique3; this species (and its close relatives) can deliver a painful defensive bite when stressed.4

centipede.solo

House centipedes are native to the Mediterranean but have spread globally with humans.5, 6 They have 30 legs (one pair per body segment) and often turn up in basements, where they prey on smaller invertebrates.7

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Often […]

By |April 13th, 2016|Uncategorized|6 Comments