S1E5 It’s Not Easy Being Green: Canary in the Coal Mine

In the mid-season premiere, we tell the story of two Harvard professors with a bucket of frogs and a rooftop, solve the decade old mystery of exploding toads in Germany, identify the culprit of frog deformities across the Western US, speak with Dr. Voyles about her research on disease ecology and amphibians in Panama, and chat with Dr. Konrad Rykaczewski about the inspiration for his antifreeze technology.

Want a more in depth look at each of theses stories? Stay posted for upcoming blog post that will expand on the amazing work being done by these researchers and much, much more!

#SundayFishSketch: Muskellunge

This #SundayFishSketch comes from Ichthyologist, Rene Martin. Visit her shop on InPrint to see more of her artwork or to order prints!


Meet the Muskellunge

The Muskellunge, or Muskie, is the largest member of the pike family, and just a large fish all around. Their common name comes from the Ojibwa word maashkinoozhe, which translates to “ugly pike”. They are quick moving ambush predators who spend much of their time waiting in the weeds, ready for attack, with an elongated body, flat head, and fins all positioned toward the rear of the body. Muskies are around 36 inches in length on average and weigh up to around 35 pounds. Their coloration is a typically a brown or green with a silvery-white underbelly and dark splotches on the sides.

Habitat

They prefer clear waters where they spend most of their time along the edges of weeds, rocks, and outcrops. Muskellunge are found in some lakes and large rivers across northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan and elsewhere throughout the Great Lakes region.

Behavior and Diet

Muskies are ambush predators who move quickly through the water with fluidity and precision, attacking and swallowing their prey headfirst. If it is present and smaller than they are, it’s pretty much fair game as a meal—and not just fish. Muskies will eat frogs, waterfowl, and occasionally small mammals swimming along the surface. They have huge stomachs that can accommodate meals up to 2/3 of their total body length, though meals of that size aren’t common. Muskellunge are occasionally social and will sometimes form schools with specific territories of which they will patrol. In mid to late spring, they gather to spawn in shallow areas with plenty of vegetation and a sandy bottom to keep their eggs and eventual fry protected.

 

Ask TWL: The Little Brown Skink

The featured photo above was submitted by a TWL reader who said “Is this a typical salamander?” The short answer: nope. In fact, it’s not a salamander at all. It’s a skink!

800px-Little_Brown_Skink_Scincella_lateralis
By Sklmsta [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Meet the Little Brown Skink

Order: Squamata, Family: Scincidae, Species: Scincella lateralis

The Little Brown Skink is one of the smallest reptiles in North America with a tip to tail maximum length of around five and a half inches.

Skinks are often overlooked, even unknown, (even as I write this, spell-check doesn’t even recognize “Skink” as a word) but there are over 1,500 species of them on the planet. That makes them the most diverse family of lizards. It is understandable how a skink and a salamander could be confused for one another. Both have smooth, shiny bodies which seem to merge into the head without a pronounced neck. Both have small limbs in comparison to the length of their bodies. And many species of both have long slender tails which they can shed as a distracting defense.

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Mid-Season Premier Earth Day 2018

Been wondering when to expect the next episode of The Wild Life? Well, wonder no more. The mid-season premier, and first guest podcast for TUI Wildlife in Bryan, Texas, is coming this Earth Day—April 22, 2018. Here’s a preview of what to expect for the rest of the seasons episodes and topics:

S1E5- Frogs: It’s Not Easy Being Green

S1E6- The Twilight Zone

S1E7- The Air We Breathe

S1E8- Leave it to Beavers

S1E9- Metamorphosis

In the meantime, check out the first four episodes of the season on our SoundCloud and be sure to subscribe to, and review, us in Apple Podcast.

 

 

#SundayFishSketch: Butterflyfish

This #SundayFishSketch comes from Ichthyologist, Rene Martin. Visit her shop on InPrint to see more of her artwork or to order prints!


Butterflyfish area group of around 120 species in the Family Chaetodontidae. The one in this weeks #SundayFishSketch is the Copperband butterflyfish.

Butterfly fish can be found in reefs around the world in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Butterfly fish are probably most recognizable for their disk-like body shape, pointed snout, and the striking patterns and coloration seen across most species in stark contrast with the blue ocean background. Many are striped with bold bands or circles around their eyes. Many have spots on the back of their top fin resembling the eyes of a much larger fish—much like what is seen in many butterflies or moths. Despite the vividness of their appearance, their bodies are equipped with perfect camouflage for life on the reef, though their appearance doubles as a communication method with other fish—similar to birds.

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