Wild Watch

The early frog gets the reproductive success

Jun 21, 2001 Travel out of almost any of the major cities of Honshu on an overcast, rain-threatening evening, and head toward rice country. ...

Whose theory was it, anyway?

Jun 7, 2001 In 1835, Charles Darwin became the first of a long line of scientists to make a study of the Galapagos Islands. Now, on entering the research station there that bears his name, visitors come face to face with a bronze of the Englishman as a very much older and far more famous man than he was when he visited the islands. ...

Darwin's uncomfortable facts

May 17, 2001 As we wander the natural world, from mud flat to mountain top, from river bed to rocky outcrop, the life that we encounter falls into readily recognizable forms or, as we know them now, species. The similarities and differences between species help even the layman to recognize the extent of their relationship. ...

How dung beetles came to save Australia

May 3, 2001 For millions of years a whole host of landlubbers (mammals, reptiles, birds and insects) have been scouring the Earth for food and leaving behind the scraps of their meals and deposits of dung. Billions of creatures over thousands of millions of years, all dumping on the planet. Thank goodness for the natural processes of decay and for the swarms o...

Up to your ears in, um, you know, uh...

Apr 19, 2001 About 18 months ago, someone who knew that I was a naturalist asked me, in all seriousness, why we humans shouldn’t just eradicate all insects and similar creepy-crawlies. ...

To dabble or dive: duck lifestyle choices

Apr 5, 2001 DNA analysis has enabled us to peer ever closer into the intricacies of what characterizes and distinguishes species, as well as the orders, genera and families they belong to. ...

Detective work in snow country

Mar 21, 2001 Though farther south you are already reveling in springlike breezes, the steady accumulation of snow in the northern third of Japan continues to provide an opportunity for detective work. ...

That strange creature is mammalian kin

Mar 7, 2001 Therians: They may sound as if they come from a far-off planet, but these are no alien creatures. Found in nearly every corner of the Earth, they count a surprising range of species among their ranks: the next-door neighbor’s pet pooch, alpacas in the Andes, aardvarks in Africa, and even you and me. ...

Crow problem or people problem?

Feb 21, 2001 I have traveled to many countries on all of the world’s continents, and, always wearing my naturalist’s cap, I tend to notice the wildlife, especially the birds. Some stick in one’s memory, some don’t, but the only country I have been where what sticks is the crows is Japan. Why is that? ...

Asian biodiversity under threat

Feb 7, 2001 As we travel south through the broad swath of continental Asia, we move along two contrasting gradients. First, land area declines as we approach the tropics from the Arctic. Second, and in direct contrast, species diversity increases enormously, as do elements that are uniquely Asian. ...

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