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Biodiversity Blog

 

FEATURED SPECIES: Rio Grande Cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus)

image5By Melissa Casarez and Adam Cohen  (Ichthyology Collection)    Rio Grande Cichlid (Illustration by Joseph Tomelleri)   The Rio Grande Cichlid, sometimes called the Texas Cichlid, is the only member of the Cichlid family native to Texas, and the United States. Their native range includes most of the Rio Grande draina...

New wasp species named after UT Entomologist

alexwildiGlyptapanteles alexwildi is one of 136 new tropical wasp species that have been recently discovered. This species is named after Entomologist Alex Wild, curator of Entomology in the Biodiversity Center. Glyptapanteles is a genus of small, often inconspicuous parasitoid wasps containing hundreds of species found worldwide. The genus is&nbs...

Invasives make a splash at the Creek Show

creekby Joe Matza, Texas Applied Arts Creek Monster Habitat student Well, Halloween is officially over, and with that comes the official start of the holiday season. While the holidays ramp up, and the weather cools down, there are some yearly occurrences happening throughout Austin that are not to be missed. One such event is the Waterloo Greenways Cre...

The Trees of BFL: Chinaberry (Melia azedarach)

Screen Shot 2019 09 04 at 08.59.00  The Chinaberry tree actually has many common names, some being bead-tree, Persian lilac, and Pride of India. This is a fast-growing deciduous tree that is part of the mahogany family and native to Southeastern China. It reaches 30 to 50 feet in height. The flowers are fragrant, small, and pink to light purple in color. The fruit is about ...

River Monsters, a Texas Edition

HoldingAsnapBy Adam Cohen, Collection Manager and Melissa Casarez, Assistant Collection Manager (Ichthyology Collection) We, in the fish collection, often find ourselves wading in deep, murky waters when out collecting around the state in creeks and rivers with steep banks and little chance for a quick escape, if necessary. During these times, we find it ...

Creatures of Halloween: Widemouth Blindcat (Satan eurystomus)

WidemouthBlindcatBy Dean Hendrickson (Curator, Ichthyology Collection) and Nicole Elmer    Satan eurystomus (Photo: Garold Sneegas) In our last Halloween posting, the scorpionfly donned orange, black, and yellow. The species in this blog’s focus is pale and pink. This is Satan eurystomus, also known as the Widemouth Blindcat, a cave catfish, known...

Creatures of Halloween: Scorpionfly (Panorpa nuptialis)

Panorpa nuptialis P1330899a   By xpda - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64833118 Donning the colors of Halloween, this is the Scorpionfly (Panorpa nuptialis). It’s a common insect in Texas in wooded areas and ravines with dense vegetation. They are up to an inch long. Their wings are orange with defined angulate black ba...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Batty about Bats!

Tadarida head for website   Mexican free-tailed bat (Photo: Tigga Kingston) It’s October. The weather cools. People plan their Halloween costumes. Images of ghosts, vampires and other monsters start to fill our neighbors’ lawns or grocery store candy isles. Without a doubt, bats will be part of this montage, but do they deserve the association with scar...
Meet Amber Horning!

Meet Amber Horning!

  Amber Horning is our new Assistant Curator in the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center. Amber comes from the University of Mississippi, and took some time out of her busy day to tell us a little about herself. Tell us where you came from before UT, and what you studied. This past May, I received my Master’s of Science from the Universi...

Insects and Art

IMG 0395 red  Pencils in hand, erasers in reach, students huddle over cases of butterflies and beetles. The room is quiet, save for the “scratch scratch” of the pencil lead, the occasional rub of an eraser on paper. This is a scene from “Core II: Drawing,” a class in the First-Year Core Program at the Department of Art and Art History. On September 12t...

Billie L. Turner Plant Resource Center Awarded Digitization Grant

47495452601 9886cd63b1 oThe National Science Foundation recently awarded the Billie L. Turner Plant Resource Center a new grant for approximately $817,000. The grant extends over four years to complete the digitization of more than 500,000 herbarium specimens collected in the states of Texas and Oklahoma and housed in the herbaria, as well as those of 10 partner instituti...

The Trees of BFL: Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata)

Screen Shot 2019 09 04 at 08.58.36    The sugar hackberry or sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) is a very common tree species at Brackenridge Field Lab. The tree has distinctive warty, gray bark, sometimes turning tan in very old individuals. The leaves have asymmetrical bases, are tapered with sharply pointed tips, and smooth or toothed margins. These trees grow quite ta...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Gulf Coast Toad (Bufo valliceps)

Incilius nebulifer DRD 5406 1     Bufo valliceps. (Photo: Drew Davis)   While it might be easy to assume we don’t have toads on campus, the Gulf Coast Toad (Bufo valliceps) is one species that does live here. Waller Creek is a one place to see them, in addition to planters where they hide, or on sidewalks at twilight to consume the insects that are att...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Raccoons (Procyon lotor)

Raccoon Procyon lotor CDWR reduced   Photo: California Department of Water Resources (Wikimedia commons) With their ringed tails and black “masks,” raccoons (Procyon lotor) are easy to recognize. These curious and smart mammals are native to North America. Due to their extreme adaptability and opportunistic natures, they are also part of the urban wildlife on the UT ...

FEATURED SPECIES: Rio Grande Chub (Gila pandora)

Gpandora   Illustration by Joseph R. Tomelleri   The only member of this minnow genus known from Texas, the Río Grande Chub, Gila pandora (Cope, 1872), lives in about a dozen sites in Río Grande tributaries of New México, and Colorado, and in one highly isolated, one mile-long section of a small stream in the Davis Mountains o...

Revisiting Science History: John Edmonstone

guiana   1798 map of colony (from: Demerara & Essequibo) Great scientists don’t become great on their own. They have sources of support and inspiration from people who are often overlooked and uncredited for their contributions. One such individual almost lost to history is John Edmonstone, a freed slave who many historians feel was hu...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Red-eared sliders

IMG 2063   Male red-eared slider, posing. (Photo: Nicole Elmer) They’re out. Stacks of them. Sometimes piled on top of each other like bricks, feet extended, much to the delight of students and visitors to the UT turtle pond. These campus charmers are turtles commonly known as “red-eared sliders,” or Trachemys scripta elegans. The “red” come...

What's In a Name? Tummy Toads, Gastrophryne olivacea

Gastrophryne olivacea02   Photo: Stanley Trauth 2007 (wikipedia) A few years ago, I built several ponds near my house at the Double Helix Ranch, hoping that frogs would colonize them and I could enjoy the sound of frog calls outside my window. Several different species have come and bred there including Strecker's Chorus frogs (Pseudacris streckeri), Grey ...

UT Professors Awarded Escher Prize in Germ Cell Exposures

Gore Crews   Dr. David Crews and Dr. Andrea Gore In late spring, UT professors David Crews and Andrea Gore were awarded as inaugural winners for the 2019 Escher Prizes in Germ Cell Exposure. Their recent studies receiving the honor demonstrate that exposure of rats in utero to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) impact fetal germ ce...

Native Fish Conservation and the Fishes of Texas Project

Picture1By Gary Garrett (Ichthyology Collection)  Native fish conservation areas of Texas. Freshwater fishes and the ecosystems they depend upon are experiencing massive degradation on a global scale. The American Fisheries Society estimates that around 40% of the freshwater fishes in North America are imperiled. Our studies show that in Texa...