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Crazy Aunts, Crazy Ants!

Dr. Eleanor has been busy working on a few new bonus chapters for The Book of Common Ants, focusing on species that are particularly common in New York City and Chicago, two large metropolitan areas where School of Ants participants have been very busy!

We look forward to releasing New York and Chicago editions of The Book of Common Ants in the coming months. While you wait with baited breath, check out this special preview chapter from about Dr. Eleanor’s crazy aunts and the crazy ants (Nylanderia spp.) that have taken up residence in NYC.

By | October 15th, 2013|ants, Stories of Your Wild Life|0 Comments

The Incredible Journey of My Dog’s Butt Worm

Today, Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice delights us not with ants (as she does in the Book of Common Ants), but with an up close and personal tale of tapeworms. Warning: You might not want to read this while eating your breakfast. Also, if you’re not following Dr. Eleanor on Twitter, you’re missing out – follow her immediately at @verdanteleanor.

Meet Lucy Bea Rice, the exquisite mutt with an infamous worm. Photo credit: Eleanor Spicer Rice. Meet Lucy Bea Rice, the exquisite mutt with an infamous worm. Photo credit: Eleanor […]

By | September 23rd, 2013|Stories of Your Wild Life|0 Comments

The Biggest Microscope in the World–How do We See the Microbiota Around Us?

In this guest post, Dan Fergus, a researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, picks up where Rob left off in the previous post, explaining how we use genetics and molecular biology to see the invisible life that covers our bodies and homes.

Many of you have participated in one of our microbiome projects, using sterile swabs to collect bacteria and archaea from your pillow, your doorframes, or even your belly button. You then close that swab back in its tube, seal it in an envelope and anxiously wait to learn the identity of […]

By | September 13th, 2013|Explainer, Wild Life of Our Home|6 Comments

An Important Question From a Citizen Scientist

In this post, our School of Ants guru Lauren Nichols answers a recent query from a family participating in SOA.

“Can you tell me why it’s important to collect data on these ants?” — Shelli & Son

This is a simple question we received by email last week from a family participating in School of Ants. I have to admit, I actually scanned our entire website, certain that we must have answered this in writing somewhere. Needless to say, I couldn’t find it – somehow we managed to overlook addressing this Very Important Question. I started crafting a brief response, and […]

By | August 2nd, 2013|ants, Explainer, Projects|0 Comments

Moth Madness!

**Today, we have a special guest post from Chris Goforth, Senior Manager of Citizen Science at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. When she’s not leading visitors on citizen science adventures at the Museum’s Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Chris blogs about entomology and natural history at thedragonflywoman.com.**

I love moths!  Always have.  I grew up in Colorado, and every 4 or 5 years we’d have a “miller moth” invasion.  Millions of army cutworm moths would suddenly descend on the city.  You’d drive through swarms of them at night.  […]

By | July 24th, 2013|Education, Participate, Projects|1 Comment

Engendering respect for ants – a trial School of Ants in Australia

I think it would be fair to say that when the extension students at Deepdene Primary School in Melbourne first started their School of Ants experience they were sceptical. They very deliberately told us that they thought ants “were just tiny brown and black things that get into your sugar. What on earth could we learn about them that is interesting?”

By | June 17th, 2013|ants, Education|0 Comments

There is Ecology in My Backyard!

Today we have a very special guest post by Anna Zuiker, a middle school student and daughter of a friend to Your Wild Life, Anton Zuiker. Anton recently shared Anna’s poem — an assignment for her science class — on his blog, and we enjoyed it so much that we are re-posting it here, with their permission, for your enjoyment. Thanks, Anna!

When you finish reading, drop us a note in the comments and tell us something cool about the ecology in your own […]

Not All the Bugs in Your Home Are Bad

Today we have another in our series of guest posts by participants in the upcoming meeting on indoor evolution at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in June. Corrie Moreau, an Assistant Curator at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, studies the evolution and diversification of ants (as well as the special relationships they have with gut bacteria).

Turtle ant

When people find out that I am an evolutionary biologist working with ants (and the bacteria that live in their guts) they […]

Genomics of the Ratopolis

Today we have another in our series of guest posts by participants in the upcoming meeting on indoor evolution at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in June. Jason Munshi-South, currently an assistant professor of biology at Baruch College, studies the evolution and ecology of vertebrates in New York City.

Every New Yorker has a rat story.  Narrative elements of these tales often include municipal garbage cans or deserted subway platforms, and in the worst cases pant legs or toilets. NYC’s rats are Rattus norvegicus, the Norway or […]

Tiny Tourists Invade the Big City

Today we have a guest post from Mary Jane Epps, post-doc and chief beetle wrangler at Your Wild Life.  Recently, Mary Jane has begun investigating the associations between beetles and humans, particularly within human dwellings, including the remains of homes in ancient Egypt.

Back in March I accompanied our urban ecology team on a trip to New York City to study the effects of Superstorm Sandy on urban arthropods. Admittedly as a natural historian who feels more at home in the hills of Appalachia than in the urban jungle, I did not anticipate that New York City would be […]

The Unresolved Mysteries of the Mold in Your House

Today we have another in our series of guest posts by participants in the upcoming meeting on indoor evolution at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in June. Rachel Adams is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley who studies the dispersal of fungal spores into homes.

In the early 1940s, the promise of the drug penicillin far exceeded its production. Scientists were on a quest to find a strain of the penicillin producing fungus, Penicillium, that would produce more of the “mold juice.” In the most rotten citizen science project ever to be staged, […]

How Wild is New York City? Reflections from ScioTeen

Today we have a guest post from Andrew Collins. We met Andrew while doing fieldwork on the streets of NYC and have been impressed by the innovative work he’s doing to improve student engagement in science research and conservation. Andrew recently attended ScienceOnline Teen, and shares his experience below. Enjoy!

Beaver! Fox! They called out. An Owl! Looks like a Coyote! As the camera trap videos continued to play, more and more species took form. Yet while the students alertly watched on, listing one wild animal after another, we sat patiently … waiting to reveal a secret.

By | April 29th, 2013|Education, Events, Projects, Urban Ecology|1 Comment

The secret (and ancient) lives of houseplants

Today we have a guest post by Laura Jane Martin, a participant in the upcoming meeting on indoor evolution at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in June. Laura is a writer and PhD candidate at Cornell University, where she researches the ecology and conservation of wetland plants. Follow her new blog: https://sedges.wordpress.com/

My local coffee shop is populated with potted plants. The four closest to my favorite table are Zanzibar gem, bamboo palm, jade, and pothos – species from eastern Africa, Madagascar, South Africa, and China.

People have grown plants in pots for centuries, but it’s only recently […]

Let Me Introduce You to Your Tiny Neighbors

**Today we have a guest post from the one and only, Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice, author of the NEW eBook, Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants.**

As a myrmecologist, I’m always intrigued by people’s reactions to ants. From total disinterest to full-on flailing freakout, many people feel an ant is an ant is an ant.

While the faces of these six-legged picnic ruiners might blend together from our giant’s height, the ants surrounding us are incredibly diverse. More than 20,000 ant species crawl around the earth. In North America, nearly 1,000 […]

By | April 15th, 2013|Books, Feature, Projects, Stories of Your Wild Life|0 Comments

So easy everyone can do it: How we’re like cave men and ants

**Today, we have a guest post from graduate student, Emily Meineke — Enjoy!**

There was a time when people weren’t so connected. It was a big deal 500 years ago to cross the Atlantic, much less the Pacific. Nowadays you could be in Japan in less than 24 hours with a martini in your hand.

Recently, there have been a lot of new stories about humans being more connected than ever before, but maybe the coolest I’ve heard—I’m an entomologist, get ready—is that being more connected makes us more like ants. The way that we connect to one another through Facebook […]

By | January 25th, 2013|Explainer, Student Features, Video, Your Wild Life Team|3 Comments