Tag Archives: mammals

Life under the snow

Photo: Vole tunnels revealed by melting snow, © John Fowler (johnfowler.photoshelter.com), used by permission.

 Note: This is a science outreach piece belonging to a series I wrote for the newsletter of the Fredericton Botanic Garden.  I’d be happy to see it modified for use elsewhere and so am posting the text here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license. If you use it, though, I’d appreciate hearing where and how.

             On a cold February day, when breath hangs visible in the frigid air and even our winter-resident birds are huddling out of sight, it’s easy to think that life outdoors waits suspended for a thaw.  Think twice, though, because when that thaw comes it will bring evidence – like the networks of vole tunnels in the photo above – that this apparent suspension was just an illusion.  There’s a lot going on, even on the coldest days of winter; but a lot of it is happening out of sight, under the snow. Continue reading

Statuette of Lt. Worf

Are there any Klingon “Latin” names?

Photo: Lt. Worf, the Klingon Chief of Security on the USS Enterprise-D, © patrles71 via flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.  Worf has not named (will not name?) any species, but he could. At least one has been named for him.

If you’ve been reading Scientist Sees Squirrel for a while, you’ll know that I’m weirdly fascinated by the etymologies of species’ Latin names.  Actually, “Latin” names don’t always have Latin etymologies, and names have been derived from a surprising diversity of languages.  In fact, a while back I mentioned in passing that it would be perfectly legitimate, according to the codes of zoological and botanical nomenclature, to coin a “Latin” name from a Klingon derivation.  This, of course, raises an obvious question: has anyone? Continue reading