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Posts by Twan Leenders

Spring Peepers

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017

Spring Peepers

Spring Peepers are a type of small tree frog. Truthful to their name, they emerge from hibernation in early spring. Soon after, the males – often hundreds at a time – will take over wetlands and call on warm and rainy nights to stake out a territory and attract a mate. Their surprisingly loud “peep” calls are usually produced from a safe location hidden in dense vegetation, and it can be difficult to spot them. An inflatable vocal sac on their throat serves as an amplifier, which allows them to call very loudly. The sound produced by a chorus of these inch-long frogs can be truly deafening...

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Roly-poly-pede

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017

Roly-poly-pede

This Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus) doesn’t really have 1,000 legs. However, like all millipedes, it has two pairs of extremities on each of its body segments (centipedes always have only a single pair per body segment). Unlike their centipede ‘cousins’, millipedes lack the modified jaw-like first pair of legs that predatory centipedes use to catch and sometimes envenomate their prey. Instead, millipedes defend themselves by rolling into a tight spiral and/or using chemical defenses that can include cyanide! Worst case scenario, handling one of these beautiful ‘roly-poly-pedes’...

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Treasures of the Tropics

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017

Treasures of the Tropics

In less than two weeks an RTPI crew will be headed to Costa Rica again, this time with students from the Forman School. Students will participate in a variety of research projects, including migratory bird banding and monitoring endangered and recovering amphibian populations, such as this Rufous-eyed Brook Tree Frog (Duellmanohyla rufioculis). Stay tuned for more information...

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Winter Blues

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017

Winter Blues

Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) can look so vibrantly blue on sunny days, but blue coloration in animals is very rarely created by blue pigment. Instead, their stunning hues are created by refractive colors of light, breaking on microscopic structure of the feathers. Minute barbs on their feathers are specially modified to scatter light in a way that makes them appear blue, rather than showing the brown melanin that their feathers are colored with. Yes, Blue Jays are not actually...

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Frog Friday

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017

Frog Friday

Last Wednesday was an unusually warm day in the northeast. Temperatures reached 60 degrees in some places, and several of our friends in Connecticut reported hearing Spring Peeper calls emanating from the woods. Of course, a mere 24 hours later the area was buried by more than a foot of snow, reminding us that winter is still in full swing. You might think that frogs are not quite as adept at predicting winter weather as, say, groundhogs, but that is not really true. Our days are getting noticeably longer and the increased day length is making animals respond in kind – insects now appear...

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