About

About The Scorpion and the Frog

Rats giggle when they’re tickled and flatworms fence with their penises. Who knew? Explore the science behind animal behavior and see where we fit in this quirky world.


About Miss Behavior

Photo by Matt Magolan
Miss Behavior’s real name is Sarah Jane Alger and she is a biologist. Depending on the day, she may be an animal behaviorist, a neuroethologist, a behavioral neuroendocrinologist, a behavioral ecologist, a physiologist, or a statistician. She has a PhD in Zoology and an MS in Biometry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is also a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, a student of life, a teacher, an adventurer, an admirer, a traveler and a thinker. Her greatest weakness is cheesecake.

Friend/Follow her on Facebook and/or Google+ (look for this picture) to get updates on The Scorpion and the Frog.


About Our Guest Science Writers

Cassie Apostolou is just a run-of-the-mill student at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in Wildlife Ecology: Research and Management with a minor in Biology. Cassie’s area of interests includes wildlife diseases, habitat management and invasive species. She has been an animal nut ever since she was little, wanting to catch and play with any animal that came across her path. She is also involved in the student chapter of the Wildlife Society at UW-Stevens Point where she is conducting a research project involving the abundance and diversity of small mammal populations depending on different habitat types/successions. Cassie has many passions in life, some of them being camping, drawing, watching movies, kayaking, and fishing. Check out her post at Just Another Day.


Sam Brunner is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point studying Wildlife Ecology and German. Nearly fluent in the German language after 5 months studying abroad in Marburg, and independently studying Spanish, her lifetime goal is to someday become a polyglot. She is fascinated by the formation of language, and especially interested in how language is observed in non-human animals. Check out her post at Did That Rock Just Ink On Me?.


Porscha Carriveau is a non-traditional student at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point double majoring in Biology and Psychology, as there is no animal behavior degree offered on campus. Porscha’s area of interest is in animal behavior focused around animal learning/cognition, communication, and enrichment. She is currently researching the effectiveness of the model rival training technique that was established by Irene Pepperburg with her famous African grey parrot ALEX (Avian Learning EXperiment). Porscha is looking at the ability of the model rival training procedure to teach a parrot, past the critical period in life, to make association and reproduce human vocalizations. Anyone who has ever met Porscha knows that her pet parrots control her life; as well as her belief that that mushrooms can save the world. Check out her post at Who Said What?.


Brittanie Delorit is a senior finishing up her last year at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. There she’s majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. Brittanie is currently a member and the secretary for the Ichthyology and Aquarium Science Society Club at Stevens Point, through the club Brittanie also dedicates her time volunteering in UWSP’s live herpetology and ichthyology wet lab where she feeds fish and cleans tanks. She and her boyfriend also have a few tanks and critters at home, including a snake, dart frogs, many fish, and of course Brittanie’s turtle, Bukolta, who will be 3 years old in April! For the past two summers Brittanie has been a volunteer and an intern at the NEW Zoo in Suamico, Wi where she cleaned exhibits, did diet prep, and fed many of the animals. Although she loved every second she spent at the zoo her real passion is marine life. Her overall career goal and dream is to one day work at an aquarium taking care of its marine mammals. Brittanie loves many things in life, some of which include the beach, her family, cotton candy, traveling, tattoos, being barefoot, and wild flowers, to name a few. Check out her post at With a Fish in Your Pooper, Things Are Never Super.


Alyssa DeRubeis is finishing her last semester at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UW-SP). She is double-majoring in Wildlife Ecology (Research and Management) and Biology and is minoring in Spanish. After graduation, she plans on taking a year off to work technician jobs in North and Central America before attending graduate school. Alyssa is from Golden Valley, a suburb of Minneapolis, MN. She has been fascinated with all sorts of critters ever since she was a toddler, so she knew that she wanted to do something with wildlife for a long time. Currently, Alyssa dedicates much of her free time to The Wildlife Society (UW-SP student chapter) as the vice president and Wild Bird Project co-leader. She is also active in Women in Natural Resources and the Herpetology Society, which are two other student organizations on campus. Alyssa also loves to travel and partake in many outdoor recreational activities such as birding, biking, canoeing, hiking, fishing, hunting, and photography, to name a few. If you asked her friends, family, or boyfriend to describe her, they would use words such as enthusiastic, curious, goofy, artistic, and driven. They may also use other words such as ‘worry-wort,’ ‘stubborn,’ or ‘busy.’ Check out her post at Birds, Vitamin E, and the Race Against Time.


Tricia Horvath is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Biology (neuroscience focus) and Psychology. She is currently taking a year off to work as a laboratory technician for Dr. Cirelli in the Department of Psychiatry in UW-Madison. Tricia would like to then attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in neuroscience. Molecular mechanisms of psychiatric disorders are especially of interest to her. She also enjoys singing, dancing, travelling, and just being outside. Her current favorite animal is the red panda. Check out her post at Epigenetics: The Fusion of Nature and Nurture.


Joseph McDonald is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Psychology, Social Welfare, and Global Health. He is especially interested in epidemiology and policy development to combat health disparities from an ecological perspective. He likes grilling outdoors, hiking, and the occasional romantic comedy. Maybe at the same time… one day. Check out his post at Friends Without Benefits.



Ian Straus is a senior studying Wildlife Ecology and Captive Wildlife at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During a summer job at the Madison Primate Center, Ian became deeply fascinated in animal behavior and the lives of animals who have found themselves in human captivity. When he isn't in school, or traveling the globe, Ian likes to spend his time reading, playing video games and messing with his Home-built PC. Check out his post at Did That Rock Just Ink On Me?.


Rachel Wang is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Psychology, Linguistics, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She is fascinated with how language works in humans, although she thinks that we may be more like animals than we'd like to think! Rachel likes making sushi, lists, and bad puns. She has always felt that she would make an excellent cat. Check out her post at Baby, You Light Up My World Like Nobody Else.


Photo by Jingbo Sun
My name is Yunhan Zhao. I am a senior psychology student and also an international student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I come from an eastern city where The Great Wall and tons of delicious cuisines were created—Beijing, China. Although English is my second language, I could be expressive especially when I am writing and singing. After being a member of school chorus for 6 years, I am continuing my vocal journey by practicing classical western Art songs under professional vocalists at UW-Madison. When I am not in school, I love to travel. My favorite places in the U.S. are Seattle and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando! Check out my post at Uncontrollable Love!


Photo Credits and Animal Identification for the Eye-Montage Header

From left to right: crocodile gecko by Yanpetro, parrot fish by Gustavo Gerdel, wood duck by kat+sam, human by Matt Magolan (Hee hee! That’s me!), longlegged fly by Thomas Shahan, silk snapper by Citron, red-tailed hawk by Steve Jurvetson, Japanese macaque by Alfonso Paz, jumping spider by Opoterser, agua rica leaf frog by Ron Santiago, Amazon parrot by anonymous, stoat by Kevin Law, panther chameleon by H Zell, northern leopard frog by Matt Reinbold, and cheetah by Kevin Law

All images except for the human eye were cropped from images posted on Wikimedia Commons.

My profile picture was taken by Matt Magolan and was previously published in Canoe and Kayak Magazine.


Contact and Policies

If you would like to chat in an informal group setting, please leave a comment attached to one of my posts (either the post that inspired your comment or my most recent post). If you have something to say of a more personal nature or if you would like to send me any suggestions, articles or artwork (see below), e-mail me at missbehaviorbiology(at)gmail(dot)com

While we’re talking about comments, when you leave a comment feel free to be quizzical, challenging, confused, blunt, or contemplative, but please remember to not be mean or completely inappropriate. That’s just rude. I reserve the right to delete mean comments and ban mean people. Hopefully, I won’t ever have to.

If you have any artwork, photographs or video that portrays animals (including people) displaying behavior (including just sitting there) and you would like to see it published (a blog counts as “published”, right?), send it my way. If it ties in with a post I’m writing, I’ll include it and give you credit. And if it inspires a post, I’ll give you credit for that too. Be sure to include the name I should give credit to and any additional information you like.

If you know of a research paper (maybe yours?) on a behavior story that you think would make a good The Scorpion and the Frog  post, send me a copy! I’m always looking for new inspiration.

I am the copyright holder of all written material on this site. If you would like to reproduce or redistribute any part of it, you may only do so with my permission (which I will likely give you if you just ask) and appropriate citations. If you would like to reproduce any imagery on this site, contact me and I will try to get you in touch with the artist/photographer/videographer so you can ask for his/her permission. All opinions expressed in this blog are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any institution or organization with which I am affiliated.