strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Would All Species Please Stand Up and Be Counted?

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 12, 2013

meerkatsEstimates of how many species live on Earth generally range from 10 to 100 million.  But it’s basically guesswork, and the estimates do not count bacteria and viruses.   Here’s a story file about recent  attempts to census plant and animal species a little more accurately:

Bugs Reveal the Richness of Species On Earth (Jan. 11, 2013) — Researchers have carried out a survey of the biological diversity in a tropical rainforest. Their efforts have helped them find the key to one of the existential questions to which people have long …  > read more

Biologists Unlock ‘Black Box’ to Underground World: How Tiny Microbes Make Life Easier for Humans

January 3, 2013 — Biologists have unlocked the “black box” to the underground world home to billions of microscopic creatures. That first peek inside may well explain how the number of species in an ecosystem changes … > full story

For Every Species of Mammal, 300 Arthropod Species Lurk in Rainforest (Dec. 13, 2012) — During 2003-2004 scientists sampled the rainforest canopy from canopy cranes, inflatable platforms, balloons, climbing ropes and along the forest floor to collect a total of 130,000 …  > read more

Scientists Challenge Current Theories About Natural Habitats and Species Diversity

December 30, 2012 — How can a square meter of meadow contain tens of species of plants? And what factors determine the number of species that live in an ecosystem? This has been selected as one of the 25 most important … > full story

Who Are We Sharing the Planet With? Millions Less Species Than Previously Thought, New Calculations Suggest (June 2, 2010)— New calculations reveal that the number of species on Earth is likely to be in the order of several million rather than tens of millions. The findings, from an Australian-led study, are based on a …  > read more


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