There are HOW many species of Giraffes?

Misha, a Rothschild Giraffe, and one of her offspring at the Perth zoo in Australia (Click picture for source).

When did you last see a giraffe? Maybe you saw one in a zoo, a photograph, on television, or roaming the plains of Africa? Giraffes with their iconic necks are a species that is easy to recognize. They are found in the savannas of central, eastern, and southern Africa. There are differences in the appearance of these giraffes, some have cream-colored socks, some have redder spots, and the size and shape of their spots varies (Fig. 2). With this large range and varied appearances, how many species of giraffes are there? Continue reading “There are HOW many species of Giraffes?”

All is fair in (insect) love and war

Let’s rock! (

Musicians alike, from Roy Orbison and Gram Parsons to Rod Stewart and classic rockers Nazareth have crooned woefully on that most powerful of feelings: Love hurts. Each of these fellas, though, had at least one thing going for him. Although they may have been jilted by former lovers, they can be thankful that none of them was a praying mantis! Scientists (and Tina Turner) may rightly question What’s love got to do with it? But there can be no doubt, mantis mating can be a very painful experience for the males involved. That’s because female predatory mantises practice sexual cannibalism, or the act of consuming a male mate before, during, or following a reproductive event. As many as one in four mantis sexual encounters may involve cannibalistic behavior. And while this bit of trivia knowledge has been known for quite some time now, two questions have continued to perplex evolutionary biologists:
How did sexual cannibalism evolve and why has it persisted in the face of natural selection? Continue reading “All is fair in (insect) love and war”