A Scarlet Tanager’s bright red feathers can make them look out of place among the canopies of Indiana’s forests. But when they winter near the equator, Scarlet Tanagers look right at home.READ MORE
The lakeshore around the Indiana Dunes National Park welcomes Snowy Owls most winters, but when predicting if the birds will make their way to Tippecanoe County, experts look far north and to the past.READ MORE
“River otters were a native species to Indiana but they were extirpated from our state,” explained Patrick Zollner, professor of quantitative ecology. With fur hundreds of times denser than human hair, otters were the target of trapping and unregulated harvesting. In 1942, they were officially classified as extinct from Indiana.READ MORE
What is green, popular around Christmas and steals things from trees? Other than the Grinch?
While the Grinch lives on top of a mountain, American mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum) lives high up on the branches of trees. Its genus, Phoradendron, translates to “tree thief” referencing its hemiparasitic nature.READ MORE
In 1962’s “The Annotated Mother Goose,” author William S. Baring-Gould theorized the five golden rings included in “The 12 Days of Christmas” refer not to jewelry, but Ring-necked Pheasants. Whether his theory matches the English Christmas carol’s original meaning or not, pheasants have secured their place in the holiday season for families across rural America.READ MORE
Simple and complex are antonyms, but not with jellyfish.
Jellyfish lack brains, bones, hearts and lungs. More than 95% of their bodies are water. Early scientists debated whether jellyfish were even animals, commonly labeling them “zoophytes,” intermediaries between animals and plants.
Jellyfish meet biology’s modern criteria for classification as animals, yet are not fish despite their name. Their lack of backbones makes them members of the phylum Cnidaria, which includes coral and sea anemones.READ MORE
The lives of Indiana’s American eels start and usually end more than 1,000 miles away in the saltwater of the Atlantic Ocean. The eels may journey as far north as Iceland or as far south as Venezuela. With such a wide variety of habitats, an American eel rarely feels like a fish out of water. Even when they are traveling out of the water.READ MORE
Indiana has a reputation for speed. The Indianapolis 500, known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. In 1996, the fastest lap in Indianapolis 500 history was recorded at 236.103 mph. While incredibly fast, it still does not surpass the top speed of peregrine falcons: the world’s fastest animal and a native of Indiana.READ MORE
Locating the rainbow scarab (Phanaeus vindex) beetle in Indiana can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, or, well, like an insect on a dung heap.
While dung beetles abound in the state, the rainbow scarab, a type of dung beetle named for its iridescent and colorful body, is quite rare.READ MORE
Online searches to buy succulents have steadily risen over the past five years, reaching an all-time high in 2020. Succulents like the eastern prickly pear cactus, Opuntia humifusa, are hardy enough to grow almost anywhere with dry soil, including Indiana. Their resiliency has helped their popularity bloom, but it is also why they can be a nuisance for weed management specialists like Bill Johnson, professor of botany and plant pathology.READ MORE