Category Archives: animal behavior

“Ballooning” crab spiders spin silk parachutes, and take off after testing the wind with their legs

A new study in PLoS Biology by Moonsung Cho et al. (free pdf here; reference below) uncovers some of the mysteries of how spiders (in this case crab spiders) balloon. “Ballooning” is an amazing form of spider dispersal. The spiders, usually very young ones, climb up on some high spot like a blade of grass […]

True Facts about the anteater

Why is ZeFrank like lox? Because he’s on a roll—pumping out a lot of new videos telling us the TRUTH about nature. Here are some true facts about the anteater. It’s a good one, too!

Crafty crabs cop cans for cribs

I have a sore throat (and probably am getting a cold), so I’m going home to rest. I’ll leave you with this video for today. Don’t worry: ducks will be fed, but the Daily Duck Doings will be postponed till tomorrow. As you probably know, as hermit crabs grow they have to leave their old […]

Birds attacking people

This is a good video of birds going after humans, but they are NOT evil: they’re protective! Note the preponderance of waterfowl among the attackers, including some ducks! My favorite, Ceiling Cat help me, is when the duckling goes for the dog’s penis at 43 seconds in.  

Paper wasps + clever biologist = rainbow nests

Paper wasps, in the family Vespidae in the order Hymenoptera (you should know the order), are likely familiar to you from their gray nests, which look and feel as if they were made out of stiff paper. In fact, they are made of paper, but paper manufactured by the wasp long before humans hit on […]

A lovely spider story

On April 29 I put up a brief note about the world’s oldest known spider, who recently died in Australia at the age of 43. But that didn’t convey the affection that we scientists often feel for our research subjects, even if they’re spiders. And so the Washington Post has published a lovely article by […]

Gus is right-pawed

Reader Taskin, staff of Gus, took a tip from Simon’s Cat Logic—those episodes of Simon’s Cat in which Nicky Trevorrow of Cats Protection gives cat-tending advice. One of her suggestions for cats who were housebound and possibly bored was to give them some stimulation by making them search for their food. She suggested building a […]

Pelican spiders (again)

In January I called your attention to “pelican spiders” (also called “assassin spiders”), a group once known only from amber fossils but which has recently been described from Madagascar, Australasia, and Southern Africa (as you’ll see in the video, that distribution makes evolutionary sense). The “assassin” name comes from their extraordinarily long chelicerae (jaws), which […]

A smoking elephant?

Yes, Alice in Wonderland had a smoking caterpillar, but that was fiction. Here’s a smoking elephant that’s for real. (Well, it’s not really smoking, as that would burn its mouth; it’s apparently ingesting charcoal and ash and then exhaling the ash.) According to the Guardian, which I don’t find persuasive here, it could be self […]

Lynx battle in the trees!

Here’s an amazing battle between two Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) that appeared on the Famous Amos Photography Facebook page. The notes: I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life watching 2 lynx mating/fighting with the male chasing the female up a tree twice but the female fighting him off! Here is a […]