Asher Elbein

Asher Elbein is a freelance journalist and fiction writer based in Austin.

By Asher Elbein:

Culture

In Texas, One of the World’s Oldest, Weirdest Fish Finally Gets its Due

Long considered “trash fish,” alligator gar have patrolled Texas rivers for millions of years. Now this living fossil may finally be getting its due.

In Texas, One of the World’s Oldest, Weirdest Fish Finally Gets its Due Long considered “trash fish,” alligator gar have patrolled Texas rivers for millions of years. Now this living fossil is catching the attention of anglers, naturalists and TV … Read More

Big Bend -- Pete Gallego and Will Hurd district
Books

‘The Natural History of Texas’ Celebrates the State’s Lesser-Known Critters and In-Between Places

At first glance, the book appears to be a textbook. But it soon transforms into a welcome collection of oddities, a bestiary of the strange, unexpected and overlooked.

On December 7, 1941, two events coincided in a wholly unpredictable way. That the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor is household knowledge. Less well known is that a dentist — one Lytle Adams of Irwin, Pennsylvania — was driving home that … Read More

jellyfish juli berwald spineless
Books

A New Book on Jellyfish is Filled with Wonder and Climate Change Woes

Berwald pops between scientific conferences and labs, fishes for giant jellyfish off the coast of Japan and dives with a swarm in Israel.

Jellyfish drift. It’s practically their defining feature. Many creatures have hard parts of one kind or another; jellies are 95 percent water, and look it. Their bodies pulse with motion, from the slow contractions of gelatinous bells to the drifting … Read More

Culture, Features, The Issue

Field Notes from Santa Ana

A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump's wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life.

Field Notes from Santa Ana A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump’s wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a 3.3-square-mile tract … Read More

Culture

Our Lady of the Underground

Whether you need love or money, safety or security, Santa Muerte is open for business—and business is booming.

Santa Muerte also protects those who work in darkness: cabbies and street kids, prostitutes and petty hustlers, cops and soldiers. Read More

Culture

Turning Tail

There's a war on feral hogs in Texas, and the hogs are winning.

Turning Tail There’s a war on feral hogs in Texas, and the hogs are winning. When night falls on Storm Ranch, a 5,700-acre expanse in Dripping Springs, it falls purple and soft over fields and groves of oak and pecan. … Read More

Culture

The Art of Looking

An afternoon with the king of birding in Texas, Victor Emanuel. His new memoir, "One More Warbler," hits shelves this week.

Across the river from the Austin airport, past forests and muddy banks, four retention ponds stand open beneath the sky. The wind is heavy with the sickly sweet smell of sewage; sludge dredged from the pond bottoms dries for recycling … Read More

Ranch land in DeWitt County, Texas. Illustration for chupacabra story.
Culture

Chasing the Chupacabra

Texas chupacabras have a way of leaving behind bodies — or perhaps, bodies in Texas have a way of becoming chupacabras.

Texas chupacabras have a way of leaving behind bodies — or perhaps, bodies in Texas have a way of becoming chupacabras. Read More

Texas Landscape Project - Big Bend night sky
Books

Mapping Texas’ Fraught Environmental History

A new atlas of Texas ecology reveals how thoroughly humans have woven ourselves into the geography of the state, for good and for ill.

A new atlas of Texas ecology reveals how thoroughly humans have woven ourselves into the geography of the state, for good and for ill. Read More

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