The miracle of parallel evolution

I have been going through photos taken during a recent trip to Mozambique, and every now and then I am struck by the similarity of some of the African organisms to their counterparts on other continents. One of the best such examples is that of Neotropical glass frogs (Centrolenidae) and some African reed frogs (Hyperoliidae)….

There is a fly in my car

“Honey, what died in my car?” I called my wife a few days ago, after the stench had become overwhelming. For a few days after returning from a long trip to Mozambique I had tried to pretend that the god-awful smell in my car was just a figment of my imagination. Alas, opening windows or…

Sweat the small stuff

Recently I have been processing some of the 18,000+ photos I took during a recent trip to Mozambique, and yesterday one image caught my eye. It shows a large ground beetle carrying a dead cicada. I shot it rather casually one night in front of my tent in Gorongosa, and immediately forgot about it. But…

Mozambique Diary: How to kill an assassin

I often lament the fact that humans are freakishly gargantuan next to nearly all other animals, and thus unable to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the majority of smaller life forms that share the world with us. Yet, at the same time I am thankful that we do not need to contend with the…

Only in America

I first learned about the existence of periodical cicadas when I was a young boy, still living in z Old Country. The idea that an insect could develop underground for 17 years was crazy enough, but the fact that after all that time every individual within the population emerges at once in a synchronized, massive…

When life gives you lemons

Last weekend I drove with a couple of friends to Delaware to watch what surely must be one of the most amazing natural spectacles in North America, the annual mass spawning of Atlantic horseshoe crabs. I do it almost every year, and over time the eight hour drive from Boston to Delaware Bay has become…