Tag Archives: Declan McCabe

The great duckweed migration
Column
May 19, 2017

The great duckweed migration

By Declan McCabe

The word “migration” conjures images of vast wildebeest or pronghorn herds crossing plains in unison, or hummingbirds traversing the Gulf of Mexico. When charismatic birds leave our New England forests, migration is typically the explanation. But how can a group of plants…

The curious case of the “cute face” crane fly
Column
February 15, 2017

The curious case of the “cute face” crane fly

By Declan McCabe

An email chirped in my inbox, “Check out the cute face on this insect we found.” I opened the attachment (yes, from a reliable source). My colleague Professor Peter Hope had taken a spectacular photograph through his microscope. The larva in question…

Water Scorpions: underwater assassins
Column
November 22, 2016

Water Scorpions: underwater assassins

By Declan McCabe Recently, my daughter participated in Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition devoted to ingenuity and team work. As an entomologist, I was thrilled to learn that the program calls its highest award the “Ranatra fusca.” Not only was the award…

Cloudy with a chance of flies: non-biting midges
Column
September 7, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of flies: non-biting midges

By Declan McCabe Clouds of tiny insects, rising and falling hypnotically along lake shores, contribute to the ambiance of warm summer evenings. My recent bike ride was interrupted by a lungful of this ambiance. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, you might wonder…

Under the water, December’s peak leaf season
The Outside Story
December 22, 2015

Under the water, December’s peak leaf season

By Declan McCabe

By December, foliage season is long over for us humans, but it’s peak season under the water. Last month, as the last bus of tourists departed for home, fallen leaves accumulated in our streams and rivers, starting a process that’s critical for…

Zebra mussels: voracious filter feeders
The Outside Story
October 6, 2015

Zebra mussels: voracious filter feeders

By Declan McCabe

Invasive species have earned their bad reputations. English sparrows compete with native birds from Newfoundland to South America. Australian brown tree snakes are well on their way to exterminating every last bird from the forests of Guam. And I don’t think anyone…

The Outside Story: Keeping it clean downstream
The Outside Story
August 7, 2015

The Outside Story: Keeping it clean downstream

 

By Declan McCabe

In peaceful streams, aquatic macroinvertebrates such as crayfish, stoneflies, and caddisflies travel over and under submerged rocks, foraging for other invertebrates, leaves, and algae. When rain falls, their world turns upside down. At first only the surface is disturbed, but before…

The Outside Story: Flat Stanley and the centipede
The Outside Story
July 10, 2015

The Outside Story: Flat Stanley and the centipede

 

By Declan McCabe

Biologists sometimes field questions about a “huge scary bug” that appeared in someone’s home or worse yet, on their person. Most turn out to be benign organisms that ended up in the wrong place. For me, the most common questions come…