Tag Archives: outside story

On mammal teeth
Column
May 24, 2017

On mammal teeth

By Tim Traver

When my daughter was 4, she once asked, “Do mice get cavities?” We were coming back from the dentist, so teeth were on her mind and so were mice, since her pet mouse had recently escaped. Later in the day, she asked…

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…

A precious stone with wings
Column
May 11, 2017

A precious stone with wings

By Carolyn Lorié

One day last spring, I pulled into a parking lot in Thetford and saw a flash of brilliant red. Instantly, I knew it was a male scarlet tanager. He was perched in a cluster of bushes and everything around him — the…

Wild leeks
Column
May 3, 2017

Wild leeks

By Virginia Barlow

The white bulbs of wild leeks, also called ramps (especially in the South), can be eaten year round, but it’s the early leaves that are most appreciated. In pre-freezer days, ramps were the first greens available after five or so months of…

Drumroll, please
Column
April 19, 2017

Drumroll, please

By Bryan Pfeiffer

Trees speak many languages, their leaves whooshing in summer and trunks creaking in winter. At the onset of spring, trees become sounding boards for courtship. Before the thrushes and warblers and sparrows arrive to sing from branches and boughs, woodpeckers kick off…

Return of the missing lynx
Column
April 12, 2017

Return of the missing lynx

By Susan Shea

In the northern forest of New England, a big gray cat crouches silently in a dense thicket of fir along a snowshoe hare run. Its pointed ears, topped with long tufts of black hair, twitch as it listens intently. The cat’s face…

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…

Carpenter ants: Consumers of everything but wood
Column
December 21, 2016

Carpenter ants: Consumers of everything but wood

By Madeline Bodin

Mention carpenter ants, and Declan McCabe, chair of the biology department at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, thinks about the time he got a lungful of formic acid. He had taken a class into the field to survey insects. He saw a…