Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Meet the Mammals is coming Nov. 16!

There’s never a dull moment at the Burke. Today we moved the skulls of a sperm whale and gray whale from the mammalogy collection into the lobby to prepare for our Meet the Mammals event on Saturday, 11/16: You can see the skulls in our lobby during the month of November.

More photos of the skull move in this Post by the Burke Museum on Facebook.



Notes from the field: Ectophylla alba


Ectophylla alba, the Honduran white bat, is a unique species of Neotropical leaf-nosed bat. Not only they are among the very few species of bats that are almost completely white, but they are extremely specialized in their diets and roosting ecology. Males and females of the species skillfully construct delicate tents from the leaves of Heliconia plants, and their diet is restricted to fruits of Ficus colubrinae plants. During our most recent trip to Costa Rica, we had the opportunity to record and measure these bats as they frantically fed from a F. colubrinae fruiting tree (below). Fruiting events in Ficus plants occur in short bursts and are scattered throughout the landscape, and E. alba likely choose places to “camp out” according to the potential for food availability.


Earwax holds the secrets of the blue whale

Two researchers at Baylor University in Texas dissected the earwax plugs of a blue whale and found that plugs can give information about pollutants the whale was exposed to, stress levels and sexual maturity.  It is amazing this much information can be extracted from earwax!



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