Case files from the Library Detective

Case # 401: A leech lopes by a service station… Sometimes a scientist needs a little help from a humanities major. I’m a Museum librarian…mild mannered…quiet…a not-so-secret super sleuth. If you need an obscure reference from the 1600s, help finding a book on horned toad recipes, or the name of King Henry the VIII’s second…

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Sand Fleas and Other Flaws

Sand-flies a flying, or sand fleas a fleeingI shan’t discuss; I’d rather be freeingMy mind on more weighty affairs and things,Like angels’ wings and serpents’ and spiders’ stings. Arthur Clifford Hawes, 1893, The Muse Poetic: In Eight Cantos (Canto III, XXIII) Unlike Arthur Clifford Hawes who wrote the poem above, I feel a pressing need…

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Stellar Creatures: Basket Stars

“A-tisket a-tasket, A green and yellow basket…” star? Recently the NMI Unit conducted a social media poll to see which invertebrate people would most like to see moved to the front of the 3D printing queue. The choice was among a sea urchin, hermit crab, squat lobster, and basket star and the winner was….envelope, please… BASKET…

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What’s in a Name: Shrimp

Shrimp! So, here’s me, an invertebrate paleontologist, thinking I know, I’ll write a blog about shrimp, or more specifically a blog about animals we call shrimp but aren’t. You know, quickly explain what makes a shrimp a shrimp, throw in a quick gif from the movie “Forrest Gump,” and then ramble on about non-shrimps. But…

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Blob-ology

Not all blobs are created equal.  💩 Blobs of Fiction First, let’s prime your mind with some recognizable blobs that don’t fit within strict taxonomic organization, at least on Earth! Jabba the Hutt Yep, that large creepy slug alien on Tatooine. Did you know that the Hutt species, like many molluscan gastropods on Earth, are…

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The Trouble with Gribbles

What are gribbles? WHY are gribbles? Are they important? Who cares? We cover all that and more!

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Extra, extra, read all about it!

FAKE NEWS! FAKE NEWS! But, stay tuned for more about these very real tiny crustaceans. Coming soon to our blog. Near you. Wherever you are. 

Eastward Discoveries

An ironclad beast, the most advanced of its’ time, sailed through the waters, weighed down by the hopes of many. Those hopes would sink along with the seemingly unstoppable ship soon after an inconclusive battle with Confederate ship CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack). After repairs, this beast, the Union ship USS Monitor, set sail again in…

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Dances with Leeches

  Yep…Leeches! This summer, as Dr. Bronwyn Williams and I were planning our annual excursion to New England to collect crayfish for an ongoing pet project of mine, I was told Anna Phillips, Research Zoologist and Curator of Parasitic and Gummi Worms1, at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, wanted to join us, because…

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The Grapes of the Western Flyer

A survey of the Gulf of California 40 years after the collection event which lead to the book: The Log from the Sea of Cortez In March of 1940, John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts ventured with a crew of six from Monterey, California to the Gulf of California in Mexico. The goal of this journey…

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