Dusky Grouse

Male dusky grouse are masters of camouflage but dandies on the dance floor

Jan. 6, 2021

Dusky grouse are effectively camouflaged and cryptic much of the year, but when it comes to the spring mating season, the males are bright and bold.

Black Dragon Canyon is deep, narrow and sinuous, and desert varnish darkens the walls.

Controversial interpretations of the Black Dragon Pictograph

Dec. 8, 2020

Evolutionary biologists have found fossil evidence of 110 species of pterosaurs, with wing spans ranging from 10 inches to over 33 feet I scout potential sites for camping and photography trips by looking at maps and reading about landscapes and habitats, so I was optimistic that I had found an...

Shadow of earths belt in venus

Celestial phenomena: STEVE, Belt of Venus, Earth's shadow and the Milky Way

Nov. 30, 2020

With dry air and clear skies, people in the west have much greater opportunity to enjoy the light shows at dawn and dusk and celestial phenomena. Following are comments and details, each starting with a question about mechanisms.

East Troublesome fire

Record heat and extreme drought produced our worst fire season

Nov. 11, 2020

Boulder residents were acutely aware of the wildfires, for they had been breathing smoke since the Pine Gulch fire started near Grand Junction on July 31. But the proximity of the CalWood Fire and the sight of roiling smoke rising and forming pyrocumulus clouds at the northern edge of Boulder brought the terrible threat home.

Common ringlet spots

The common ringlet's lessons on species boundaries

Oct. 28, 2020

A minimum of 21 subspecies have been described, usually geographically separated but sometimes with geographic ranges sharing a border Butterflies flitted among flowers beside South Boulder Creek, in Boulder's greenbelt near the town of Marshall. Common ringlets, Coenonympha tullia , had caught my attention, and I was stalking one, trying...

Prickly Poppy Paid

Prickly poppies attract pollinators while deterring herbivores

Oct. 13, 2020

Prickly poppies are distinguished from other species in the genus Argemone by the lack of spines on the upper sides of leaves Prickly poppies, Argemone polyanthemos , were abundant and in full bloom along the Degge Trail in the greenbelt north Boulder. I enjoyed examining the blooms to see the...

Police car moth on sneezeweed

Police car moths have conspicuous color patterns and fly during the day

Aug. 17, 2020

Wielding all of these defenses, these moths have little to fear from birds or bats and they ignore photographers with impunity Triangular leaf senecio, Senecio triangularis , is common on the eastern slope of Cimarron Ridge in the San Juan Mountains, from 9,000 to over 10,000 feet. This year they...

Black swallowtails

Many roles of color patterns in black swallowtail butterflies

Aug. 4, 2020

The colors and patterns of black swallowtails reveal the diversity of evolutionary dynamics acting on the sexes and the various life-history stages

Larval ladybug

A ladybug's bright colors advertise toxic chemical defenses

July 21, 2020

Evolutionary biologists have noted that effective chemical defenses promote gregarious behavior During fall in the mountains, ladybugs migrate uphill, forming dense overwintering populations, defended by the alkaloids of thousands of insects." Virtually everyone can identify ladybugs and most are pleased to see the brightly colored beetles, while gardeners treasure them...

Firemoth blanketflower

Natural selection influences both wildflower and viral mutations

July 8, 2020

Mutations produce new genetic forms all the time, in all species, in all genes At this time of year, firemoths ( Schinia masoni ) can be seen on blanketflower ( Gaillardia aristata ), a colorful native wildflower. Evolution is the change of genetic forms in a population. We are watching...