Category Archives: animal behavior

“Frog saves fishes” life? Not really

A reader sent me this recently-published YouTube video titled, “Frog saves fishes life.” (It’s in Spanish, but you can see what’s going on.) The reader asked a reasonable question: why would a frog do this for fish, since they’re unrelated, unless it wanted to eat the fish later? Well, as you can see, they’re not […]

Snowy owl protects her young

This new clip from the BBC show Super Powered Owls shows a snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus, defending its young against hungry skuas and wolves. Because these owls breed north of the Arctic Circle, they don’t nest in trees: there aren’t any up there. To get a good view of the surroundings, though, they nest on top […]

Let sleeping tigers lie!

This video of one tiger waking up another, with a reaction by foreign visitors, was taken at the Dublin Zoo and posted on YouTube April 9. It already has nearly a million views. Listen to those roars!

A gazillion deep-water crabs mysteriously congregate off Panama

The Guardian reports a mysterious biological observation made off Panama: gazillions of crabs of the species Pleuroncodes planipes (also called “the tuna crab”) scuttling across the floor of silent seas* at a depth of 360-380 meters. The report, taken from a paper by Jesús Peneda et al. in PeerJ (free link) was based on observations from a […]

Fathered by the mailman? Well, not the mailman—it was the PM’s private secretary

by Greg Mayer A lot of work in behavioral and evolutionary biology concerns the evolution of mating systems—polyandry, polygyny, monogamy, promiscuity, and the like—and elucidating the factors that lead to the evolution of one or another. Mating systems can be variable within a species, and human societies exhibit a range of mating systems, with monogamy […]

Altruism or accident? You be the judge

A tw**t called to my attention by Matthew Cobb: If the turtles are related, it might even represent kin selection at work.

A new mutualism: mongooses clean warthogs

How could you resist a headline like this? (Click on it to go to the Inkfish site.) And even better, Preston calls attention to an article in this newsletter (free download from DropBox; I love these specialized newsletters):   Which contains this tersely but accurately titled article: And, to save you the trouble, here’s that […]

Springtime for giraffids

I saw this on last night’s news and was enchanted. The giraffes at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo are kept inside during cold weather, as they don’t have the right genes for winter, but there’s been a warm spell the past few days and so they were let out into their outdoor enclosure. (Giraffes are let out […]

Do chimps have “sacred” rituals?

Reader Ant called my attention to a piece by Laura Kehoe in The Conversation, detailing “accumulative stone-throwing behavior” in chimpanzees living in the Republic of Guinea. Kehoe describes a behavior, caught on a camera trap, that she and others eventually wrote a paper about: What we saw on this camera was exhilarating – a large male […]

Tree climbing lessons for a raccoon cub

Yes, “cub” is the proper name for the young of the raccoon (Procyon lotor). And it’s hard not to anthropomorphize this video, sent by reader Diane MacPherson, of a mother raccoon showing her cub how to climb a tree. In fact, what mom’s doing is bloody obvious—and also adorable. As Diana noted, “this is cute, but […]


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