Come back to this page each day to read another entry from Cathie Katz's beautifully illustrated journal, "Nature a Day at a Time."
||Lacking science, animals seem to have a kind of physical, or cellular, intelligence that ought to be as miraculous to us as our human learning might be to them. We have instruments and measurements. They have senses- many more and better, perhaps, than five. We have logic; they have repose. We know; they act.
Castle Freeman, Jr. in Spring Snow
Most striking of all the anole's features is the male's bright throat fan, the dewlap. The anole's throat swings forward, displaying a hard-to-ignore yellow, orange, or red flag, used to attract females or warn trespassers. Typically the male flashes his dewlap while bobbing up and down, the lizard's version of push-ups. What better way to attract a female's attention than by waving a bright red flag through the leaves?
... visual stimulation from a displaying male does more than simply trigger the neck-arching response in a receptive female. It actually prepares recently emerged females to become sexually receptive ... females that are courted frequently secrete greater quantities of pituitary gonadotropins than uncourted anoles, speeding ovarian development and the onset of mating readiness in the spring.
John Alcock in Animal Behavior
Cathie Katz, the author of several books on natural history, also co-founded The Drifting Seed, an international newsletter about rain forest drift seeds. In her engaging Nature a Day at a Time, published by Sierra Club Books and Random House, Katz interweaves fascinating facts about familiar creatures, pen-and-ink drawings and quotations.