The ultimate couch potatoes

The one big difference between terrestrial and aquatic environments is that it is really difficult to be a sedentary animal on land. Under water, with a constant stream of plankton and organic debris floating around, it is just so much easier to sit down, open your mouth, and let things just fall in. Entire phyla…

Scary, scary stuff

As the tradition dictates, every year on this day we like to scare the living crap out of each other. One common way of doing it is to pick a random, small animal, and pretend that it is somehow dangerous or deadly. The top of this list of innocent victims is usually occupied by bats,…

A disappearing Goliath

Quickly vanishing forests of West Africa are still home to one of the most magnificent members of the beetle order—the Goliath beetle (Goliathus regius). Despite their bulky appearance, Goliath beetles are excellent fliers, frequenting flowers blooming in the forest canopy. Adult beetles feed also on ripe fruits and sap, while their giant grubs, which can…

Upside-down world

“Men it appears would rather believe than know” wrote E.O. Wilson in his seminal book “On human nature”, and this sad truth is evident in many aspects of our life, including, strangely, the world of nature photography. One of my pet peeves has always been the tendency of some editors to rotate pictures of animals…

Tasty silk weavers

I gently squeezed the little green bulb between my teeth, and a lemony flavor flooded my mouth. I savored it for a second – Hmm, not too bad, I can totally see myself adding it to rice or some other bland food. I shook off my arm the remainder of the insects who were aggressively…

Dwarfs of Lovane

Yesterday I wrote about the Mt. Gorongosa Pygmy Chameleon, a species endemic to a single mountain in central Mozambique. But if you travel towards the southwestern corner of South Africa, you are likely to encounter another lineage of these amazing lizards, the Dwarf Chameleons (Bradypodion). About twenty species of these small but incredibly colorful chameleons…