This is an ultraviolet photo of a purple grenadier.
See, I had a theory. Since birds have developed UV vision at multiple times in their evolutionary process, and birds are so focused on plumage for breeding, then it would make sense that some birds would develop ultraviolet plumage. This makes even more sense when you stop to think about how feather colour works, as it’s refraction, not pigmentation. Since many known pigments break down under UV light, it is more reasonable to think that birds would have a UV signature than animals like lizards or mammals.
So this summer I took my UV camera around to look at all the birds. I only found one species – the purple grenadier – that has a strong and obvious UV signature in the feathers (there are some birds that have UV markings on the bills of baby birds so the parents can feed them more easily). Check out this page for what it looks like in visible light: http://www.finchinfo.com/birds/finches/species/purple_grenadier.php
Yes, all that’s happened is that the purple areas turned white, but the white is a very special white. See, my UV camera isn’t all that great at detecting UV (most aren’t), and very few things are white outside of the sun and bright reflections of the sun. To bird eyes, it is likely that the white parts of this bird gleam as bright as the sun – even in shadow. The feathers are that reflective.
If their predators see in a different wavelength than their potential mates do, this adaptation may blend camouflage with the vibrant mating colours in a way that I’ve never heard of happening in any other species.
It’s hard to do this photography in Minnesota, as we have so few days with a high UV index, but I hope to take more photos when I head south. Maybe other birds do this too.
This Congo peafowl is trying out new a pickup line:
“Hey baby, did you know that GDPR is forcing LinkedIn into greater privacy transparency? Check out https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/data-research to lock down your fine fine data.”
For some reason, it’s not working as well as he hoped.
Parrot that remembers when there was a spike of implausible headlines on April 1 and that misses life before November 8, 2016.
Trying to decide whether to bargain for musical talent, political power, or unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.
Will probably settle for sunflower seeds.
They say that crocodilians have survived unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. This isn’t true for two reasons.
There are no living crocodilians that are millions of years old, and death is a pretty significant change.
Koala about ready to start writing a letter to the editor.
Happy hump day.
(’cause tortoise shells look like humps. What did you think I meant?)
According to the birds of the world site, the chestnut breasted malkoha eats “insects, including caterpillars (hairy and hairless)”.
So if you’ve got a caterpillar problem, you’re in luck. These guys can cover the entire situation.
DeBrazza monkeys use tahrir, a form of oscillating yodeling, to communicate with other monkeys and coordinate between themselves as they tend their flocks.
This is an interactive caption.
Please comment with the sound effect you think penguins say under their breath when they dive.
They told him he could save three years with good behavior.
Good behavior sure seems hard these days.
According to the books, Bali Mynah males attract females by calling loudly and bobbing up and down.
I guess it’s nice to know that high school is inflicted on all species equally.
It’s a little known fact that Dante’s third circle is also chock full of starlings.
Iguana contemplating the phrase “life is hard”, thinking that really, life is extremely easy.
It’s living within a society with intentionally-designed capitalist and sociological barriers to your success that’s hard.
Ó lá go lá, mo thuras,
An bealach fada romham.
Ó oíche go hoíche, mo thuras,
Na scéalta nach mbeidh a choích.
It looks like those scales evolved to provide an easy grip for handlers, but let me tell you, looks can deceive.
I … I am no longer certain how pupils work.
If you’re not careful and drop one, it can form a little snakepile.
The literature informs me that this species lives in “swamps, freshwater marshes, and intermittent freshwater marshes”.
I am now envisioning frog-filled marshes appearing and disappearing Brigadoon-style.
Symptoms from a green mamba bite include local pain and swelling, local necrosis, ataxia, headache, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, vertigo, hypotension, diarrhea, dizziness, and paralysis and death.
Symptoms from influenza include fever and chills, cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, hoarseness, ear pressure, earache, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, irritated eyes, flushed skin, petechial rash, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and death.
You can get a shot to reduce the impact of one of these and, as a bonus, it also protects those around you.