Photograph via snooOG

Welcome to r/Zoology: A community about the scientific study of the behavior, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals.

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Zoology: The scientific study of the behavior, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals.

Questions, discussion, and scientific papers are all encouraged. Memes, click-bait and editorialized headlines are not.

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  • Posts relating to dogs, cats, or pets belong in their own subreddits and will be deleted.

  • Posts related to zoos and aquariums should be posted into /r/CaptiveWildlife

  • Posts asking for identification require location information (Country+State) and (forest/beach/ect.) and a sense of scale!

  • Posts asking if something is a bat bite will be removed.

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57,716 Subscribers


“All the ants in the world weigh the same as all the humans in the world”

I heard this piece of trivia a lot as a kid. Is it true? If it’s not, where did it come from, and if it is, how did we figure it out?

02:06 UTC


Can anyone explain the difference between the suffix -form and -morph in taxonomy?

Ex: Ichthyosauriformes and Ichthyosauromorpha

1 Comment
20:12 UTC


Are there herbivore species, which routinely engage in significant* amount of lethal violence?

I apologize if the subject is somewhat unclear -- I couldn't see how I could rephrase the title for it to be more precise, so I would like to clarify that by "significant amount of lethal violence" I mean something on the lines of behavior that would routinely kill 5-10% or more of existing animals (either of the same species or other species) per year in the area where particular herbivores are located.

So, deer fighting during the rut would qualify, if it typically was so that 5-10% or more of the deer in area died per season due to that.

But I was especially wondering how common is something like that among herbivores in general, and if there are herbivores which kill either part of their own species or members of other species routinely in considerable amounts.

By other species I mean mostly other mammals, reptiles or similar, not insects or beetles.

18:00 UTC


What's the difference between a foot and a paw

One day this question popped into my head. Some animals clearly have feet like primates, opossums and geckos. And others clearly have paws like dogs, cats and hyaenas. My question is what is the difference. Is a dog's paw the same thing as a dog's foot? What about rabbits some people say they have paws but lucky rabbit's feet exist. What about bears , they kind of look like a mix of the two. Or do animals need to have opposable toes to be considered a foot?

15:57 UTC


Can I help a spinning mole?

I was moving heavy plant pots in my yard and I think I accidentally squished a mole in the process. I tried to place it near its tunnel, but all it does is spin (barrel roll) is this normal? Is there anything I can do for him?

14:58 UTC


Schools in the New England area for Zoology?

(I believe I’m posting this correctly, but if I’m breaking one of the rules please let me know) Is there any schools in the New England area that offer a zoology undergraduate? I’ve done a relatively low effort search, so I’m likely missing things, but I’ve been struggling to find any programs that aren’t in far off states.

02:15 UTC


How do rodents evolve so fast?

Making up 40% of all mammal species, rodents are very diverse and that’s due to their ability to evolve 4 times faster than the rest of mammals so how exactly are rodents able to evolve much quicker than other mammals?

00:23 UTC


Why don’t some animals move out of the way when a train is coming for them head on?

I recently saw some videos on YouTube of animals getting hit my trains and sometimes the animals don’t even try to get out of the way or are so late to react that they end up getting hit. The animals I am particularly referring to are cattle, donkeys, horses, and elephants. Don’t these animals have survival instincts when something big is barreling towards them to move out of the way? Are they able to understand that it is a threat?

23:16 UTC


How valid are Dictator Scorpions

20:06 UTC


Why do cats and other shorter lived animals get arthritis so young compared to humans?

Ive heard it said as "wear and tear", but why are their joints so much more fragile than ours? Just size? Accelerated aging is surely some directly biological thing. Thanks for any info.

02:58 UTC


What do they call sea horses where there aren’t horses?

This may not be the best sub for this question, so please let me know if you can think of a better sub!

So I was thinking about it, sea horses are named based on their resemblance to horses, and this goes back to their scientific genus name, Hippocampus, which pretty much means horse sea creature.

But seahorses are found in places where the native people didn’t encounter horses until European colonization occurred (North America, South America and Australia). So my question is, what were seahorses called by cultures that had never seen a horse?

For content, question actually came from How I Met your Mother when Barney says that sea horses should be called sea kangaroos because of their pouch, and this sent me on a spiral that google can’t answer!

00:15 UTC


Aspiring Aussie worried about the field

Hello all

So I'm a young Aussie who's loved animals all my life and really wants to work with animals more than anything. I used to make posts on here last year about getting jobs with animals because I get so worried about it. I'm very unsure about what to do.

I'm unsure of which university to go to. I want to live in either Melbourne or Brisbane, so it would have to be a university from one of those cities (or nearby cities).

I don't know if I should do zoology, ecology or marine science. The most common wildlife job in Australia seems to be ecology. But then I'd also really love to study zoology or marine science.

I get very worried about actually getting a job with animals. It's my biggest nightmare that I'm going to study wildlife for 6 to 10 years only to end up in some unrelated field that I hate and not being involved with wildlife at all. It doesn't help that the animals that I'm interested in are mostly charismatic like the Platypus, which I've heard is very hard to get a job with.

I'm also going to be honest here, if we are talking about terrestrial animals I'm probably more interested in overseas animals than Australian ones. At least when it comes to mammals (Platypi is one of the few exceptions). Would getting a job in zoology, wildlife biology or ecology overseas be super difficult for an Aussie? Could I partially study foreign animals from Australia? Would trying to find work overseas greatly improve my chances of getting a wildlife career? Where would I even look for jobs in other countries?

If I can, should I get a PhD? I know academia is the route a lot of biologists go down, but if I couldn't get an environmental job I'd be worried about being overqualified for a lot of other jobs. What kinds of jobs in other fields could I get with a PhD in zoology/biology/marine science/ecology?

Thank you all for reading this. If there's anyone here who'd be willing to talk to me in the comments or dms about my worries I'd really appreciate it.

1 Comment
23:56 UTC


career and education advice

Hey guys!

I wanted to ask if anyone could think of internships or programs I could do while in school.

Right now I'm doing an art degree but I graduate in about a semester which then I'm going to do a zoology degree.

While I do that degree, I'd love to do some internships and programs, my degree will be online so I will be able to travel to do any internships opportunities.

My long term goal is to work in collections in a natural history museum.

I recently saw a job posting for amnh for a research assistant where you take care of nudibranchs and the qualifications were to be currently attending school- so I'm looking for cool things like that. I love invertabrates and bugs so anything similar to that please let me know! But also I'm open to anything.

Thank you!

1 Comment
17:14 UTC


I want to get into Zoology / Ecology as a career but I heard it doesn't pay well and the debt to get into it is out of my reach; any advice?

I currently am doing an online college getting a degree in accounting right now [Got about 7 months left hopefully!] and I want to transition into a job that allows me to work with wildlife [Mostly in the administration side of things hence the accounting degree, but also maybe field-work] but for that I would require a Zoology or Ecology degree. The only issue is getting into the college that does those degrees and paying for it.

This is something I want to do sooner rather than later, but im curious if this is a smart idea or if I should just stick with Accounting and maybe a couple years from now make the jump? Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you all soon!

16:47 UTC


For beginning : Ideas of website/books/applications/online quiz/social media account/resources to learn one species each day or to learn more about zoology daily ?


I am interested by learning more about nature because I like seeing the multiple shape that nature and life can take. I look sometimes online article about unusual informations about what interested me at the moment (example : species with hermaphrodit reproductions, "eternal animals" like a jellyfish specie, animals with unusual shape or apparence...).

But I want actually to be more regular in discovering animals and zoology. For that I want a website, books, applications, or other resources that allows me to learn more about animal diversity and biodiversity.

  • First, I find a book called : Animal : the definitive visual guide by DK Publishing, some website says it's the best. I don't want actually an encyclopedia in multiple books but just one complete books about the diversity of the animal kingdom. I don't want also a big technic books, just as visual with some indicates of what details seperates species and just an introduction about life, food etc. So, I think that this is a good book for beginning (but I am open to other suggestions). I think that the next level is to have encyclopedia of each classes as mammalia, aves (or birds), reptilia, cartilaginous fish... But I don't know a collection of encyclopedia that makes that, have you ideas or other suggestions ?

  • Second, I search websites or applications, that allows to discover species, random facts daily. I already know to online games that are very entertainly for me : https://metazooa.com/ and the app Animal-Kingdom - quiz game. I also have some websites as https://a-z-animals.com/ and https://www.theanimalreader.com/ very interesting about animals in general, but the second provides information only about animals in geopolitics, or actuality. Have you other ideas of interessant websites, or resources ? I am also interested by app or other resources you know, not so technically if possible.

I remember that my unique goals is to better discover the diversity of animals kingdom, more than we can see, the world repartition of wildlife, some information of how can I differenciate two species (of tortoise for example the russian tortoise and hermann tortoise), and finally to know how places on the phylogenetical tree.

Thanks in advance for your help !

12:47 UTC


Why reptiles seem to rarely evolve exaggerated display features?

Many animals such as mammals, birds, teleosts and insects seem to readily evolve exaggerated features such as horns, antlers, humps, throat pouches, coloration etc to attract mates. Reptiles seem rarely to go this path, even though they have the ability to evolve them. Most of the prominent display structures exist in the lizard clade iguania, and they tend to appear more in forest species, where they have the dual function of camouflage as well. Although exceptions exist another reptiles, many reptiles make use only of coloration or bulk and many more nothing at all. Why is that the case? Do reptiles experience more predation pressure on average? Would those structures interfere with streamlining, for example in snakes, skinks or anguids? Or is it because they are energetically costly?

01:59 UTC


Research of a visual book about tons of species


I research a visual book with tons of pictures of animals (pictures with a good resolution, and a short description to allow identification, and some information about food and where the specie lives).

I don't want a book concentrate on the US (I am french) but cover all over the world, and variety of animals (insects, mammals, fishes, birds, with the phylogenetic classification.

Maybe hard to find but I count on you !

18:55 UTC


What if piranhas adapted to saltwater ??

Some species of sharks such as the bullshark and stingrays are able to adapt to freshwater but what if there was a species of piranha that can adapt to both waters ?? How big will they get if they adapted or will they still be small in size similar to how a school of sardines is adaptive to open water yet remain in small size ?? What effect will they have on the ocean's food web ??

18:03 UTC


We all know how strong apes are, but how strong are monkeys physically ??

Everyone (mostly) know the strength level that apes have, Chimps and gorillas are twice as stronger than humans. But what is the strength level of monkeys ??

02:42 UTC


Do heavy algae eaters need unusual adaptations?

Predators need some way to kill prey, lots of herbivores need ways to digest cellulose, bloodsuckers need to access blood, More specialized eaters need some way to detect/search out appropriate food, etc. Do animals that mostly eat algae need/tend to have any kinds of specializations along these lines?

04:41 UTC

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