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March Mammal Madness

2019 MMM Champion!

Bengal Tiger Defeats Warthog and Mongoose!!! (Archived play by play)

Picture of a Tiger on a Wheaties Box - the champion of 2019 MMM

 

Final Roar Results

Final Roar Results: Warthog & Mongoose VS. Bengal Tiger for the Championship!!! (Archived play by play)

Elite Trait Results

Elite Trait Winners: Sea Lion, Tiger, Moose, and Mongoose & Warthog ADVANCE!!! (Archived play by play)

Sports summary by Penn State Grad Student Kate Lesciotto

Sea Lion (1) v. Tiger Quoll (7) - The randomly chosen environment - LAKE!! Sea Lion must be happy with this luck of the draw. The scene: Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The players: a desperately paddling Tiger Quoll and a thicc Sea Lion honing in. Sea Lion is feeling a bit cool in these cooler waters, but his thicc blubber is keeping him warm. Tiger Quoll tries to bare his teeth but only ends up with a mouth full of water. Sea Lion goes in and take Quoll's hind leg in its mouth and drags its new chew tow down to the depths. As the chew toy stops moving, Sea Lion quickly loses interest and let’s go... and Tiger Quoll sinks slowly to the depths. SEA LION for the win!!!

Bengal Tiger (1) v. Spinner Dolphin (3) - Tonight's battle takes place in the Sandhills!!! Bad luck for dolphin. In an open stand of old pines, Dolphin is not terribly happy in this moment. Tiger approaches the motionless Dolphin and takes an investigatory lick to the blowhole. After its previous meals, Tiger isn't even hungry anymore, but watches contently as Spinner Dolphin takes one more spin, rolling down the steep sandhill. BENGAL TIGER for the win!!!

Moose (1) v. Manatee (2) - This battle takes place in the Mangrove!!! Manatee has a chance in this aquatic environment, since this is basically Manatee's home-turf anyway. Moose also love the water, although this environment is bit warmer than preferred for our Canadian friend (yes, I fully realize moose aren't actually Canadian, this Moose is). Craving salt after a long winter, Moose is enjoying the mangrove, rooting around some tasty aquatic plant bits. Moose feels a bump against its leg - Manatee is investigating the strange creature in the water. Moose feels, but does not see, Manatee, but ignores this and continues its foraging. Manatee starts to head in the opposite direction to find a less crowded feeding ground, only get caught up in a net! The strands of the net get caught in one of Manatee's previous propeller wounds. But a nice human eco-patrol is on the lookout and quickly spots the struggling Manatee and remove it from the net... and from the battlefield. MOOSE for the win!!!!

Zebra & Oxpecker (1) v. Banded Mongoose & Warthog (3) - This battle takes place in the Thorn Forest! This southeastern Indian thorn forest is home to a variety of predators. Both of our TagTeams move out into the open, where they will have a better chance of spotting the predators. Warthogs & Zebras often forage in close proximity, so they settle in to old, although slightly uneasy, habits. The previous neck wound is beginning to fester on Zebra, so Oxpecker digs in to help cleanse of parasites. THWACK!!! CRACK!!!! Zebra's kick has broken Warthog's tusk! Another kick and Warthog collapses!! But Zebra also feels the pain as it realizes that the broken tusk has sliced through the pad of its hoof and stumble trots off the battlefield! Oxpecker goes for nummies on fallen warthog but is chased away by mongoose. SUDDENLY Warthog arises, shaking his thick noggin. BANDED MONGOOSE & WARTHOG for the win!!!

Sweet Sixteen Results

Sweet Sixteen Results: Sea Lion, Tiger Quoll, Zebra & Oxpecker, Mongoose & Warthog, Moose, Manatee, Tiger, and Spinner Dolphin ADVANCE!!! (Archived Play by Play)

Sportsing Summary by Penn State grad student Kate Lesciotto

Zebra & Oxpecker (1) v. Crab & Sea Turtle (5) - Zebra & Oxpecker still enjoy homecourt advantage, leaving Crab & Sea Turtle feeling out of sorts in the Nechisar Plains of Ethiopia. Crab & Sea Turtle hunker down in the unfamiliar grass, as Zebra trots through looking for its next snack. CRUNCH! Crab bites the dust underneath Zebra's hoof, and Sea Turtle lashes out, snapping at Zebra's leg while Oxpecker calls the alarm. Zebra avoids the bite and now slams down its hoof with purpose this time, on top of Turtle's shell. Injured and inconsolable at the loss of its friend, Turtle vacates the battlefield. ZEBRA & OXPECKER for the win!!!

Spinner Dolphin (3) v. 9-Banded Armadillo (10) - While the higher-seeded Dolphin is back in its home Bahamian waters, Armadillo is actually fairly adept at swimming. Armadillo's peaceful water yoga is rudely interrupted by nearby ships using compressed gas to create mini-seismic booms to find gas and oil. Underwater, another BOOM sends shockwaves through Dolphin's body, causing intense pain and nausea. As Dolphin reaches the surface effectively paralyzed from the pain, Armadillo spots its chance to go for the kill with a claw strike! The pain revives Dolphin who lands a powerful tail strike. Armadillo attempts to keep up, but ultimately is no match for Dolphin who bites down. DOLPHIN for the win!!!

Sea lion (1) v. Tiger Owl (5) - Sea Lion is relaxing on a homey Alaskan beach, when he begins to feel a big peckish. However, these hunting grounds are also currently the fishing ground for a bunch of pesky humans. Diving down towards a flash of silver, Sea Lion realizes this is a fishing lure and diverts. Thankfully, the humans decide to leave the wildlife alone, leaving Sea Lion to catch his fish, which is quickly brought to land near a fishing camp and pit toilet for snacking. Above head, Tiger Owl spies what it *thinks* might be a good nesting sight and makes it way down the ventilation pipe in the toilet shack. Landing in foul goop, Tiger Owl tries to escape but quickly becomes mired in the goo. Sea Lion enjoys his snack, while Tiger Owl meets her sludgy end. SEA LION for the win!!!

Bengal Tiger (1) v. Bharal (4) - Tiger comes in to battle tonight hungry for a win and squares off against Bharal in a Bangladesh mangrove forest, with Tiger still enjoying the advantage of a home-court meeting. Alone and out of place, Bharal puts his worries aside and stops for a leafy snack. Bharal keeps a sharp eye above, used to snow leopards on the prowl, but fails to see the even larger cat crouched behind the leaves. Tiger pounces, but Bharal makes a quick get away - or would have but Bharal's footing isn't quite so sure off the mountains and Bharal trips on a mangrove foot! Tiger moves in the for the kill, grasping Bharal's belly with sharp claws and delivers the killing blow to the neck. TIGER for the win!!! 

Manatee (2) v. Lowland Tapir (3) - This battle of the herbivores takes place in the Florida Everglades, and both combatants are at risk for human activity related fatalities (e.g., boat strikes and habitat loss). Tapir quickly takes to the water in this new environment, desperate to avoid potential dangers on land. Spying some tasty looking seagrass at the bottom, Tapir goes in for a closer look, but thanks to poor eyesight bumps boop-able snoots with Manatee! Both stare at the other in shock as they rise to the surface for a breath of fresh air. BUMP! The foreshadowed boat strikes Tapir first with a critical hit. MANATEE for the win!! 

Coyote & Badger (2) v. Banded Mongoose & Warthog (3) - In a Colorado prairie, Team Badyote watches with little interest as WarGoose approaches - yesterday's Capybara meal (RIP) has slowed Badyote down. Without the shared motivation to hunt, Coyote and Badger have little motivation to associate with each other. Warthog investigates a nearby depression as a potential place to crash for the night, but is rudely rebuffed by Badger. Warthog gives Badger a shove with his tusks, and Badger takes a harsh tumble down a rocky embankment! Coyote warily approaches the strange Mongoose, who makes a surprise rush at Coyote with teeth bared. Honing their skills in predatory-heavy Africa, has given WarGoose strong anti-predator skills, while full bellies leaves Team Badyote with little motivation to waste energy. BANDED MONGOOSE & WARTHOG for the win!!!

Bearcat (3) v. Tiger Quoll (7) - In a fractured forest fragment in Malaysia, Tiger Quoll sniffs the unfamiliar air, looking for the quoll communal latrine, while Bearcat prowls the ground for a meal. Tiger Quoll has the high ground, as he goes in to investigate Bearcat and pounces! Quoll gets the first attack, but Bearcat is larger and she shakes him off. Blood rolls down Bearcat's back as they face off ... until Bearcat starts climbing a tree, and keeps climbing away from the battle. In a stunning repeat from 2017, Bearcat elects to go after a figgy treat rather than battle. TIGER QUOLL for the win!!

Moose (1) v. Rakali (13) - In Isle Royale National Park, the persevering underdog Rakali runs for the cover of the forest just as Moose is heading out towards an islet. But our MMM competitors are not alone - one of the newly translocated Isle Royale wolves is on the prowl and heads towards the water. Moose takes off and passes Rakali, making it to the safety of the water, and Rakali isn't far behind, making it to the water before the wolf. And yet Rakali victory is short-lived, as he can only swim half as fast as he runs and wolf's jaws quickly approach from behind. MOOSE for the win!!

Round 2 Results

Round 2 - Tag Team and Cat-e-GORY Divisions: Sea Lion, Zebra & Oxpecker, Crab & Sea Turtle, Tiger Owl, Mongoose & Warthog, Bear Cat, Coyote & Badger, and Tiger Quoll ADVANCE to the Sweet 16. (Archived play by play)

Sportsing Summary by Penn State Grad Student Kate Lesciotto 

Sealion (1) v. Small Spotted Cat Shark (8) - We join Sealion on the shores of San Francisco as he enjoys some late afternoon sunning. Cat Shark has evolved the ability to be semi-terrestrial - as long as its gills stay moist, it can spend short amounts of time out of the water. Cat Shark spies some tourist leftovers on the beach and saunters over. Sealion is hungry too, but Cat Shark reaches that tasty treat first - Victory! Well, victory in that Cat Shark won the snack, but another 2019MMM squishy defeat as Sealion's lumbering bulk crushes Cat Shark. SEALION for the win!!! Sealion grabs the Cat Shark carcass to use against kayakers invading his territory. Narration by Josh Drew. 

Zebra & Oxpecker (1) v. Aardvark & Aardvark Cucumber (8) - Amid dozens of termite mounds in Namibia, Aardvark is busy lapping up termites, while Zebra stands guard while the females graze. Zebra is more concerned with an interloper bachelor zebra, hoping to find a mate. Battle of the Zebras ensues - on top of the termite mound where Aardvark was snacking! Zebra gets a nasty bite to the neck before he can deliver a swift kick to the intervening interloper. As the interloper flees in pain, Zebra rears back, kicking his hooves in victory and coming down hard with the full weight of his body ... right on top of Aardvark's head, cracking its skull. Without Aardvark to spread its seeds, Aardvark Cucumber remains forever entombed underground. As blood trickles down Zebra's neck, attracting a horsefly, but Oxpecker picks them off quickly. ZEBRA & OXPECKER for the win!!! Hmmm, does that neck wound look like it's starting to fester? Narration by Jessica Light.

Wrasse & Moray Eel (4) v. Crab & Sea Turtle (5) - In a warm Fijian sea, Crab gently picks off algae growing on Sea Turtle, making Turtle even more hydrodynamically efficient for the upcoming battle. Wrasse and Eel leave their coral hidey-hole and spy a potential meal - Crab looks like a tasty treat for Eel, while Wrasse would love to nibble on whatever is growing on Turtle's shell. Both go in for the kill, and soon the water is green with shattered algal bodies. Turtle turns to see what the ruckus is and strikes true with his sharp beak, severing Eel's spine! Turtle swims on, and now its up to Crab to reclaim its territory from Wrasse. Crab's claws eviscerate Wrasse! CRAB & SEA TURTLE for the win!!! Narration by Josh Drew.

Fisher Cat (4) v. Tiger Owl (5) - At the end of Round 1, we saw Fisher Cat getting caught in a trap and being transported to Calgary Zoo - this was actually part of the Washington Cascades Reintroduction Project! Now outfitted with a radio tracker collar that can monitor Fisher's status, tonight's battle takes place in Mount Rainier National Park, and after Fisher has enjoyed a meal in its new home, Fisher climbs a tree to find a suitable resting place. Tiger Owl is guarding her nest and chicks - her mate is out on patrol, so Tiger Owl gives a vocal outburst and takes to flight herself. As Fisher creeps to the edge of the owl nest, Tiger Owl strikes with her talons! Fisher falls hard to the ground, with Tiger Owl following and delivering another talon strike. Fisher's eyes close as the signal from his radio tracker changes. The relocation scientists find Fisher's body the next day, bearing the fatal wounds of an owl attack. TIGER OWL for the win!!!
Narration by Tara Chestnut.

Banded Mongoose & Warthog (3) v. Diana Monkey & Red Colobus (6) - In Senegal, WarGoose feels at ease, while DM & RC give distress calls at finding themselves without trees for refuge. As a savannah chimpanzee arrives on scene, DM & RC spring towards the nearest shrubby trees but there is no safety. RC falls first, succumbing to the chimpanzee as DM races away, hoping only to save itself. WarGoose looks on, happy they are not a chimpanzee preferred food. BANDED MONGOOSE & WARTHOG for the win!! Narration by Lara Durgavich and Katie Hinde. 

Bearcat (3) v. Lion-Tailed Macaque (6) - Transported to Thailand, Lion-Tailed Macaque is confused by its new surroundings, and Bearcat is startled awake from its catnap by the newcomer. Macaque is curious about this potential novel interaction buddy and leaps over to Bearcat's tree. Bearcat is not happy about this as Macaque invades her personal space, and Bearcat chases Macaque away. BEARCAT for the win!!! Narration by Mauna Dasari. 

Coyote & Badger (2) v. Wattled Jacana & Capybara (7) - In a Mexican desert, Coyote & Badger feel right at home, while Jacana & Capybara miss their watering hole and try to find some shade as the sun begins to set. Coyote catches an unusual scent and lopes over to investigate Capybara, while Badger finds an ephemeral pond more interesting. Capybara is unaware, but Jacana sounds the alarm before taking flight. Capybara's usual escape tactic of running for open water isn't working today, as Badger cuts off the escape path to the pond. Badger's claws savagely open an artery, and Coyote soon joins the rodent feast as we say goodbye to our rodent-of-unusual-size. COYOTE & BADGER for the win!! Narration by Brian Tanis & Marc Kissel. 

Nimvarid (2) v. Tiger Quoll (7) - Coming off of an exciting, heart-pounded win over Dandelion in Round 1, Nimravid (aka the sabre-toothed badger) is comfortable in ancient South Dakota scrub/woodland. But Nimravid is still suffering the ill-effects of Dandelion's savage attack, with a seed having embedded itself in Nimravid's nasal cavity! Incessant wheezing gives Nimravid's position away, as Tiger Quoll takes down an ancient hare for a meal. Nimravid considers stealing a meal, when THWONK!!! Another nimravid, Nimravid's main predator, attacks! Carnage reigns as Nimravid feels its skull being pierced behind the right eye. Another bite and Nimravid feels its scapula being punctured, as the two nimravids become stuck together in battle FOR WHICH THERE IS FOSSIL EVIDENCE!. As Nimravid can't extract itself from the other nimravid's jaws, they both face slow death. TIGER QUOLL for the win!!! Narration by Patrice Kurnath & Katie Hinde. Check out poem about this fossil find.

Round 2 - Waterfalls and Jump Jump Divisions: Tiger, Dolphin, Manatee, Moose, Armadillo, Rakali, Bharal, and Tapir ADVANCE! (Archived play by play)

Sportsing Summary by Penn State grad student Kate Lesciotto

Bengal Tiger (1) v. Springhare (8) - Tiger and Springhare both enter the battlefield unscathed after Round 1. Darkness falls in the Tiger's home turf in India, but both combatants are nocturnal so neither fears the darkness. Springhare tries in vane to sense any ground vibrations from approaching animals, but Tiger is stealthy and moves undetected. Springhare catches the scent of an unfamiliar felid, tenses, and leaps off into the surrounding forest ... right into Tiger's waiting jaws! TIGER for the win!!! Narration by Lara Durgavich. 

Impala (6) v. Spinner Dolphin (3) - After using the Spinifex Hopping Mouse as a water-logged cat toy in Round 1, Dolphin is resting in the shallows. As ecotourists watch, they catch the unusual sight of Impala swimming along the bay! While capable of swimming up to a quarter mile, this is not Impala's preferred method of locomotion from an anatomical/biomechanical perspective. Curious Dolphin gives a gentle investigatory bump from below...and then another bump...and then a bite. Impala sees blood in the water and starts thrashing about and choking on the water until it can take no more. DOLPHIN for the win!!! Narration by Josh Drew & Chris Anderson.

Bharal (4) v. Rock Wallaby (12) - Rock Wallaby earned its Round 1 victory with a wicked kick that took out Serval, but now it's up against Bharal on Bharal's home turf. Interestingly, wallabies and hoofed eutherians represent convergent evolution in terms of niche and skull & tooth anatomy- but have wildly different body plans because of the #NeonatalMarsupialCommandoPouch crawl, requiring grippy front limbs #TheBetterToCrawlMomWith. Hence no hoofed marsupials. While Rock Wallaby is comfortable on a mountainside, it isn't digging the colder weather. Bharal easily spots to intruder, and Rock Wallaby makes a hasty escape to some rocky cover. BHARAL for the win!!! Narration by Patrice Connors. 

Manatee (2) v. Aquatic Genet (10) - In a calm salt marsh, Genet taps its pawpads against the water to try and startle up some fish to reveal their location. Genet tries this tactic again and again, making its way down the bank until it is startled by the lumbering shape of Manatee. With a jump, a tumble, and a scramble, Genet flees the battlefield. MANATEE for the win!!! Narration by Mauna Dasani. 

Moose (1) v. Flat-Headed Cat (8) - As Flat-Headed Cat splashes around in the mud flats and encounters a Moose clambering about. Taking Moose's size into consideration, a stress myopathy that took down the chevrotain in round 1 is clearly not an option. Flat-headed cat bravely turns his tail and runs. MOOSE for the win!! Narration by Marc Kissell. 

Lowland Tapir (3) v. Moonrat (11) - In Round 1, Moonrat eked out a win by utilizing its secret power of stench to defeat Crab-Eating Fox, while Tapir took the easy road of squishing its opponent. This battle of the boop-able snoots takes place in Ecuador, with Tapir browsing near a forest stream in which Moonrat swims, seeking out snacks. Tapir lifts out a hefty, “multi-hoofed” foot, churning up the mud, which narrowly misses Moonrat ... the first time. Moonrat tries to swim away, but runs into Tapir's other leg, and meets another MMM squishy end. TAPIR for the win!!! Narration by Anne Hilborn

9-Banded Armadillo (10) v. Streaked Tenrec (15) - Both combatants enter Round 2 in top shape. Tenrec is transported to the scrublands of Texas. Armadillo exits its burrow to be faced with a strange smol spikey boi Tenrec, who immediately bum-rushes Armadillo and jumps at its face! But what worked so effectively against Markhor, has no effect against Armadillo's natural armor. Armadillo digs its heels in and refuses to leave - but Tenrec has lost interest and wanders off to find a mate. ARMADILLO for the win!!! Narration by Asia Murphy

Beaver (5) v. Rakali (13) - It's battle of the rodents in the final match-up of the night. In western Washington state, this Beaver has recently been reintroduced to the ecosystem where Rakali has just caught a juvenile salmon. As Rakali settles in for a nice meal of fish heads, Beaver gets to work gnawing on a nearby aspen. The aspen starts to lean and then WHOMP crashes down inches away from Rakali. Beaver focuses on getting that tree out of the field of battle and back towards its lodge, not giving a second glance as it leaves the battlefield. RAKALI for the win!!! Narration by Jessica Light.

Round 1 Results

Round 1 - Tag Team Division: Zebra & Oxpecker, Aardvark & AardCucumber, Crab & Sea Turtle, Wrasse & Moray Eel, Diana Monkey & Red Colobus, Banded Mongoose & Warthog, Wattled Jacana & Capybara, Coyote & Badger ADVANCE! (Archived Story)

Sportsing Summary by Penn State grad student Kate Lesciotto

Zebra & Oxpecker (1) v. Batfly & Gammaproteobacteria (16) - Tonight's first battle features Zebra getting free spa-treatments (aka tick removal) from Oxpecker, and the ectoparasite Batfly that hosts Gammaproteobacteria that facilitates full nutrition from blood meals. Batfly internally hatches the larva and then the uterus produces milk for vertical transmission of bacterial buddies! Batfly, having moved off bat host to give live birth, attempts this on a dark Zebra stripe, Oxpecker snags a tasty Batfly treat. ZEBRA & OXPECKER advance! Narration by Mauna Dasari.

Wrasse & Moray Eel (4) v. Fire Coral & Algae (13) – A spa combo makes an appearance, with Wrasse removing Eel's ectoparasites, while Algae provides an extra food source for Fire Coral in plankton free waters. Enjoying its spa treatment a little too much, Eel forgets where it is for just a moment and rubs against Fire Coral. Eel jerks away quickly, making room for a visiting parrotfish to take a few nibbles on Fire Coral. WRASSE & MORAY EEL for the win!!! Wrasse helps take the sting out of Eel's fire coral burn, but will this injury carry through to Round 2? Narration by Josh Drew.

Banded Mongoose & Warthog (3) v. Burying Beetles & Phoretic Mites (14) - Team WarGoose continues the spa-themed mutualistic relationships featured in the Tag Team division. Beetles and Mites seeking out a nice carcass to provide life for their young. As Warthog lays down for the snooze under the hot Kenyan sun, Mongoose sets to work grooming. Beetle searches for a cool place to hide - perhaps in the shadow of that Wart- CRUNCH!! Mongoose's sharp teeth pierce Beetle's exoskeleton, sending the Mites scattering. Mongoose snaps mites like skittles #TasteThePainFoe! BANDED MONGOOSE & WARTHOG advance. Narration by Anne Hilborn.

Wattled Jacana & Capybara (7) v. Fork-tailed Drongos & Sociable Weaver (10) - This battle features the unusual spa-like mutualism (shocking, right?) between the Jacana that picks ectoparasites off rodent-of-unusual-size (ROUS) Capybara. Drongos have a much more antagonistic relationship with Sociable Weavers, with Drongos mimicking the Weaver's alarm call, causing them to drop their food and flee so the Drongos can scoop that food up. But Weavers will put up with this childish behavior, because sometimes the Drongos do give a legit warning for bigger, badder predators. Already feeling out of place in the Brazilian swamp, Drongo and Weaver find a perch and keep an eye on Warthog and spy a green anaconda in the water. The water, warthog, and snake are just too much for these birds to handle. Drongo gives an alarm call, and off they fly. WATTLED JACANA & CAPYBARA for the win!! Narration by Jessica Light. 

Crab & Sea Turtle (5) v. Clown Fish & Sea Anemone (12) - In the mid-North Atlantic, Crab enjoys the free housing provided by Turtle, and of course the free meals consisting of things growing on the Turtle and ... "food particles expelled from host turtles". Anemone also provides housing for Clown Fish, who returns the courtesy of much needed nitrogen and phosphorus to Anemone through its own, uhhhh, excretions. But at the surface of the open ocean, the Anemone isn't doing well and immediately starts to sink as Turtle investigates. Now Clown Fish must decide its fate - swim towards the surface and live or stay with its lifelong companion and embrace icy death. Clown Fish accepts its fate and swims down towards its sinking companion. CRAB & SEA TURTLE for the win!! Narration by Josh Drew. 

Aardvark & Aardvark Cucumber (8) v. Goeldi's Monkey & Saddleback Tamarin & White-Lipped Tamarin (9) - Aardvark's secret life as a foodie is the reason for teaming up with the Aardvark Cucumber. The fruit of the Aardvark Cucumber is underground, requiring the Aardvark to dig it up, eat it, and disperse the seeds. Our Triple Threat Monkeys practice vertical segregation, foraging at different levels of the canopy. The arboreal, rainforest #TripleTrouble Monkeys run around the semi-arid desert thirsty & terrestrial, find Aardvark digging up his salad fixing. The bold monkeys attempts to thieve the cucumber get them into trouble as Aardvark takes down the #CallitrichineCrew AARDVARK & AARDVARK CUCUMBER for the win! Narration by Katie Hinde

Diana Monkey & Red Colobus (6) v. Bornean Bat & Pitcher Plant (11) - These monkeys team up for extra vigilance, while Bat uses the Pitcher Plant as a toilet. In this short battle, the #SimianSquad monkeys evade chimpanzees and in their rush, another MMM victim gets squished! Pitcher Plant dies a lonely death waiting for its Bat companion to find its way home. DIANA MONKEY & RED COLOBUS advance. Narration by Lara Durgavich & Marc Kissel

Coyote & Badger (2) v. Ants & Aphids (15) - In the Colorado desert, Coyote & Badger find they more effectively succeed on hunting squirrels when combing their respective chase & dig abilities. Waiting as Badger gets fossorial, Coyote flops down by some fireweed, but spots some movement in its peripheral vision - hundreds of Aphids! These Aphids are feeding on the fireweed under the watchful gaze of their ant shepherds. Aphids excrete "delicious honeydew from the end of its gastrointestinal tract", which is quickly harvested by the Ants.  Coyote, always the practical opportunist, starts scarfing insects and the Ants quickly mobilize to move their Aphids to the safety of an underground nest. But Badger has clawed its way underground as well in pursuit of squirrel. As Badger disrupts the Ant/Aphid underground nest, they flood back to the surface, only to be lapped up by Coyote. COYOTE & BADGER for the win!!! Narration by Brian Tanis & Patrice Connors.

Round 1 Cat-e-GORY Division: Sea Lion, Tiger Quoll, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Bearcat, Shark, Fisher, Tiger Owl, and Nimravid ADVANCE (Archived Story)

Sportsball-Style Summary by Penn State Grad Student Kate Lesciotto

Sea Lion (1) v. Antlion (16) - First up is fake lion versus even faker lion! As Sea Lion basks in the setting California sun, it doesn't notice the larval Antlion creeping up with its large mandibles...and continues to not notice Antlion as Sea Lion yawns, rolls over, and smooshes Antlion to a pulp. SEA LION for the win!!

Bearcat (3) v. Leopard Frog (14) - A returning competitor, you may remember Bearcat from 2014MMM and 2017MMM. Bearcat lounges in a tree, while Leopard Frog hops along the forest floor snapping up taste invertebrate treats. SNAP! As the branch breaks loose, Bearcat takes a tumble to the forest floor, luckily unharmed. After taking a moment to gather its senses, Bearcat stands back up and heads towards more snacks.... with the squished remains of Leopard Frog on its rump. BEARCAT for the win!!!

Lion-Tailed Macaque (6) v. Cat Snake (11) - Though primarily fruit-eaters, the Macaque decides to make itself a squirrel appetizer. Halfway through it's meal, Macaque spots Cat Snake on the ground. Mistaking it for a pit viper, Macaque starts the troop's alarm call, prompting a primate-snake standoff - who will cede the battlefield first? While that standoff continues....

Fisher Cat (4) v. Tiger Salamander (13) - Fun fact, not only is Fisher Cat not actually a cat (like everything in this division), but it also isn't known to prey on fish! Although Fisher Cat gets the home court advantage, Tiger Salamander feels right at home, looking for proper burrows and heading towards the breeding pond. Fisher Cat sniffs out a mouse burrow and starts digging for its breakfast. On the way to the mice, Fisher Cat's claws impale Tiger Salamander and toss it out of the way. FISHER CAT for the win!!! But...wait...Fisher Cat smells the alluring scent of a dead deer in a felled log and investigates - only to be caught in a trap and taken to Calgary Zoo!!!! #CliffHanger

We return to the Macaque v. Cat Snake standoff ... where both parties continue to stand their ground .... and so back to another battle ...

Tiger Quoll (7) v. Green Catbird (10) - With a shared environmental range, Tiger Quoll gets no home-field advantage tonight. Tiger Quoll is not having any luck finding its favorite greater glider chicken wings, when a loud cry from below startles Tiger Quoll. It's the cry of the male Catbird, guarding its nest, who is settling down for the night, unaware of the Tiger Quoll now stalking it from above. In a stunning strike, Tiger Quoll pounces, and with a flurry of feathers, this battle is over. TIGER QUOLL for the win!!!

Small Spotted Cat Shark (8) v. Stonecat (9) - It's the classic mammal battle between ... 2 fish. Stonecat may not have the intimidation factor of a shark, but it does sport some venom glands at the base of its pectoral fins. Cat Shark is resting quietly between two rocks, waiting for its next meal to swim by, as Stonecat is also surveying the sandy bottom to find its own burrow. Stonecat finds two nice looking rocks and tries to nestle in, only to get a lashing from Cat Shark. Stonecat responds with an attack with its venomous spines!! But female Cat Sharks have thick skin to survive brutal mating behavior, and Cat Shark uses it teeth to take a chunk out of Stonecat for a tasty treat. CAT SHARK for the win!!!

Back to the Macaque v. Cat Snake stand off - the macaque's troop starts to wander off, but our Macaque stands his ground as Cat Snake slithers closer. Macaque tenses for potential battle, but Cat Snake changes direction and vacates the battlefield. MACAQUE wins (finally)!!!

Tiger Owl (5) v. Panther Chameleon (12) - The Panther Chameleon has green camouflaged coloration. Tiger Owl has talons that could palm a basketball. Let's see how this very evenly-matched battle goes. Transported to the cold Canadian winter turf of Tiger Owl, Panther Chameleon heads out to try and find some warmth. Tiger Owl's eyes focus in on the movement, and soon Panther Chameleon's green camo is tinged with red as it is skewered by talons. TIGER OWL for the win!!!

Nimravid (2) v. Dandelion (15) - In perhaps the most highly anticipated battle of this division, a fossil saber-toothed not-quite-cat faces off against the invasive Dandelion...wait...what's that hiding in the Dandelion's tufts? Is it the return of the TARDIGRADE???? It is not. Nimravid is on the prowl, coming across a tasty carcass it would be happy to scavenge, but this kill is protected by larger predators. Angry at its poor luck, Nimravid lunges at a nearby Dandelion, which instigates a sneezing fit. The sneezing causes Nimravid to bite down and decapitate Dandelion. And then rolls around and stretches on the ground, crushing Dandelion's leaves and stalks. NIMRAVID for the win!!

ROUND 1 WATERFALLS DIVISION: Beaver, Moose, Flat-Headed Cat, Manatee, Rakali, Lowland Tapir, Aquatic Genet, & Moonrat ADVANCE!!! (Archived story)

The ecological engineering of dams & bonds by the beaver creates a habitat for muskrats that in turn attract predatory mink with a taste for muskrat. AKA: Beaver brings all the Mink to the yard, because their Muskrat, it's better than yours. Dam right, it's better than yours. The hunting mink got a bit too close to beaver who signaled for the mink to stay away by slapping his thick beaver tail against the water. Mink changed course to avoid the beaver!

While resting on an intertidal rock, marine otter was flushed into the water and killed by marauding orcas allowing the aquatic genet to persist into the 2nd round.

The snowscape of Colorado was no place for a tropical bat, a gust of wind sent the bat careening into a snowbank. Moose investigate the bat, exhaling moist air onto the bat that hastened his demise in a frozen tomb. Farewell batsicle.

Vontsira swiped the snoot of the manatee, but quickly beat a retreat from the large herbivore.

An encroaching logger keen for some forest bacon spelled the doom of the white lipped peccary, rakali advances into round 2.

Moonrat defenses come in twos: their personal eau de onion et amonia and defensive aggression of puff-hissing & growling! Crab-eating fox wanted no part of any of it.

The water possum (females can swim with young in their pouch bc their muscles hold the pouch closed!) could get out of the way or get squashed by tapir. Water possum chose to scamper away, like all prudent unmatched animals.

On the bank of a stream, the water chevrotain became trapped and pinned by a flat-headed cat defending his fish dinner. As adrenaline surged through the chevrotain, her heart beat rapidly, her breathing became erratic and labored, and potassium in her blood stream rose until it was all TOO MUCH. A stress-induced heart attack felled the tiny mouse deer.

Round 1 JUMP JUMP: TIGER, TENREC, ROCK-WALLABY, ARMADILLO, IMPALA, BHARAL, SPRINGHARE, & SPINNER DOLPHIN ADVANCE!!!! (Archived story)

Tiger as an optimal forager, wasn't going to waste energy going for the bite-sized ringtail, not when the preferred hog deer was on the scene, but the tiger's charge through ringtail to ambush hog deer sent the ringtail running!

Serval, a lethal killing machine of half pound rodents, hear scratching in the tail grass... launching from 12 feet away, serval came down on #CrouchingMarsupialHiddenWallaby! The Serval paw punch caused wallaby to spring kick in the air, sending the serval packing!

Spinner dolphins love to play, tossing around sea sponges and kelp among the pod... when a flash flood washed a raft of vegetation from mainland Australia into the ocean with the clinging Spinnifex hopping mouse, trying to stay afloat. A dolphin's spinning splash capsized the mouse and we last saw it in a dolphin game of catch!

Springhare don't care... for jackrabbit showing up in his territory. The two males squared off in a jump-punch-pow, jackrabbit had greater reach, but springhare had greater motivation to defend his home turf!

A large male sifaka vertical leaping and clinging through the forest lands near the forest floor where the armadillo was foraging on all these new bugs it had never seen before. When a juvenile sifaka mistook the armadillo for a fossa, it set up the fosa "tchi-faks" alarm call. And the male sifaka made for the canopy, while looking down to double check out if the armadillo was dangerous... a HARRIER HAWK took the sifaka out of the competition!

In the battle of twinkle-toes (klipspringer) vs. dancy-prance (impala), the much smaller klipspringer quickly got out of the way of the impala.

Similarly, the mighty mustelid stoat bravely turned his tail and ran when confronted by a fully functional battle bharal!

And in the biggest upset of the night, perched on a cliff crag, the poor-eyesight of the streaked tenrec mistook the approaching head of the markhor for a predatory fossa and pointed its detachable spines 180 degrees forward, spiking them into the nasal cavity of the markhor. Eyes watering and launching a big sneeze of snot onto the mighty tenrec, markhor leapt away to forage in a less stabby locale.

Wild Card Result

Wild Card Battle! Antlion Advances! (Archived story)

In an exciting tournament open, the incredibly fast tiger beetle had to pause for visual acuity toward an ant. Tiger beetle rushed the ant, just as an antlion larva ambush erupted from leaf litter! Antlion mandibles ripped off tiger beetle's leg and tiger beetle bolted, departing the field of battle more slowly than it arrived.

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