Category Archives: Organisms

Some positive trends in documenting life on Earth

The world’s smallest vertebrate (Paedophryne amanuensis) was one of the new species described last year — out of an estimated 18,000. Recently, a student in my environmental legislation class approached me and asked a really good question: “Doesn’t teaching about … Continue reading

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Moth quietly meets demise by fungus

Creepy, fascinating, and just plain “wow-inspiring”, fungi that can control the behavior of insects are an incredible story from the files of evolution.  This moth likely met the end of its life at the hand (or mycelium?) of a Cordyceps … Continue reading

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How birds are like islands (for lice)

Researchers document a new example of convergent evolution in bird lice. In terms of evolution, islands are special.  The Galapagos Islands played a central role in the development of Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.  Alfred Wallace found the same inspiration … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Organisms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Globalization is leading to greater biodiversity … in many regions, temporarily.

Most headlines about biodiversity follow the same storylines:  Species are going extinct at an incredible rate.   We are in the middle of the Earth’s sixth extinction event.  The number of endangered species keeps growing because of habitat loss and … Continue reading

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New species are found all the time, even in Europe.

How many species live on the planet today? No one knows. How many species live in Europe today? No one knows that either. You would think that in one of the most densely-populated regions of the world (and the home … Continue reading

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Cloud forests and epiphytes

You know you’re in a cloud forest when most of the trees around you are covered with epiphytes.  A single tree may have literally dozens of different species of plants growing on it, and it’s exactly this kind of “packing” … Continue reading

Posted in Costa Rica, Forests, Organisms | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Scorpions and the benefits of glowing

It seems that it’s scorpion season here in Costa Rica.  I found this one outside my cabin one evening recently … and then cleared out two more from inside.  They tell me that it’s pretty common to come across them … Continue reading

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