Miss Behavior

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  • June 15, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 161 views

Loving to Death

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The brown antechinus may look like a mouse - but that is where the similarities end. Photo by Glen Fergus at Wikimedia.Although most animal species breed multiple times throughout their lives, a few oddballs put everything they've got into a single reproductive season, after which they promptly die. This is a rare strategy (for obvious reasons), especially in mammals. One Australian mammal, the brown antechinus, is just odd enough to pull it off.The brown antechinus is a small insectivorous mous........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2015
  • 11:32 AM
  • 287 views

Gut Feelings

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

This boy may be influencing who he will marry when he grows up. Photo by Orrling at Wikimedia Commons.Animals (including humans) are swarming with microorganisms both on and in our bodies. Humans harbor so many different microorganisms that we have over 150 times more microbial genes than mammalian genes, and it is reasonable to suspect that this scenario is similar for most animals. But before you run to soak in a tub of hand sanitizer, you should realize that many of these microorganisms are a........ Read more »

Ezenwa, V., Gerardo, N., Inouye, D., Medina, M., & Xavier, J. (2012) Animal Behavior and the Microbiome. Science, 338(6104), 198-199. DOI: 10.1126/science.1227412  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 10:34 AM
  • 263 views

Komodo Dragons: Their Bite is Worse than Their Bark

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Shelly Sonsalla Komodo Dragon. Image by Arturo de Frias Marques on Wikimedia. Komodo dragons are the world’s largest living lizard and can be found only on select islands in the Indonesian archipelago. These massive lizards can grow to be 10 feet in length and up to 150 pounds! Their natural prey includes wild boars, deer, and water buffalo—animals which may outweigh them by several hundred pounds. So how does a lizard, even such a large one, manage to take down prey so much larger tha........ Read more »

Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H.... (2009) A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(22), 8969-8974. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106  

Merchant, M., Henry, D., Falconi, R., Muscher, B., & Bryja, J. (2013) Antibacterial activities of serum from the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Microbiology Research, 4(1), 4. DOI: 10.4081/mr.2013.e4  

Montgomery JM, Gillespie D, Sastrawan P, Fredeking TM, & Stewart GL. (2002) Aerobic salivary bacteria in wild and captive Komodo dragons. Journal of wildlife diseases, 38(3), 545-51. PMID: 12238371  

  • March 9, 2015
  • 11:25 AM
  • 191 views

Vole Pee: An Epiphany (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Nate Kueffer You’re driving down the road, looking out the window, and you see a large raptor hovering above a field. Have you ever wondered what exactly the raptor could see that you couldn’t? Well, it is thought that raptors may be able to sense ultraviolet light and use it to track voles through urine and feces trails. A hovering kestrel, possibly tracking a vole. Photo by Mark Likner at Flickr. Ultraviolet light is a non-detectable form of radiation by the human eye and is similar to ........ Read more »

Viitala, J., Korplmäki, E., Palokangas, P., & Koivula, M. (1995) Attraction of kestrels to vole scent marks visible in ultraviolet light. Nature, 373(6513), 425-427. DOI: 10.1038/373425a0  

  • February 23, 2015
  • 10:06 AM
  • 227 views

Effects of Iron Deficiency in Female Runners (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Ana Breit When people think of nutritional deficiencies, they probably picture women with goiters due to lack of iodine or other newsworthy examples. In reality, the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States is iron deficiency. Iron Deficiency (ID) is especially common in endurance athletes, especially female athletes. Start of 2013 Roy Griak Invitational Cross Country Meet at the University of Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Larson.Iron is the metal in humans that ........ Read more »

  • February 9, 2015
  • 11:21 AM
  • 388 views

The Beginnings of Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Blood Discovered? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Samantha VoldThe classic tale of Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs once again walked the earth has tickled the fancy of many a reader. Dinosaur DNA preserved in a fossilized mosquito was used to bring these giants back to life. But in real life, it was previously thought that there was no possible way for organic materials to be preserved, that they often degraded within 1 million years if not rapidly attacked by bacteria and other organisms specialized in decomposition. Skin and other soft tiss........ Read more »

Schweitzer, M. (2010) Blood from Stone. Scientific American, 303(6), 62-69. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1210-62  

  • February 2, 2015
  • 10:12 AM
  • 247 views

Melatonin is Not a Magic Pill

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

European hamsters showed us that there is more to annual body rhythms than melatonin. Image by Agnieszka Szeląg at Wikimedia Commons.Many animals undergo seasonal physiological changes in order to ensure that their babies are born during a time of more abundant food and milder weather and to help their bodies prepare for harsh winter conditions. In order to precisely time these physiological changes with the seasons, most animals have evolved to respond to the most reliable marker for time of y........ Read more »

Monecke, S., Sage-Ciocca, D., Wollnik, F., & Pevet, P. (2013) Photoperiod Can Entrain Circannual Rhythms in Pinealectomized European Hamsters. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 28(4), 278-290. DOI: 10.1177/0748730413498561  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 01:26 PM
  • 292 views

The Bed Bug’s Piercing Penis (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Rachael Pahl Sex is a dangerous, but necessary, part of life. Across the animal kingdom, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong. You could be injured in a fight by someone who wants to steal your mate, or maybe your partner eats you because you’re taking too long. Either way, nature must have a pretty good reason for the traumatizing effects of sex. A male bed bug traumatically inseminates a female. Image by Rickard Ignell at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciencespo........ Read more »

Morrow, E., & Arnqvist, G. (2003) Costly traumatic insemination and a female counter-adaptation in bed bugs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270(1531), 2377-2381. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2514  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:24 AM
  • 276 views

Collective Personality and Our Environment

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

We are all familiar with the concept of the personality of an individual. We are less familiar with group- or collective personalities (although most teachers can tell you at length about the personalities of each of their classes). The concept is the same: whereas an individual personality relates to an individual’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts, a collective personality relates to a group’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts. Collective personalities can be stron........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2014
  • 03:40 PM
  • 431 views

Real Zombie-Making Parasites Among Us

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The mummified cat and the rat in the crypt of Christ Church in Dublin. Photo by Adrian Grycuk at Wikimedia Commons.The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s worst panned movie of all time, is a science fiction thriller about people going into a mysterious trance and committing suicide as a result of other mind-hacking species. One of the leading criticisms raised against this movie is the ridiculousness of the premise. One species can’t cause another to willingly commit suicide! …Or can they? T........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 02:29 PM
  • 407 views

The Biology of Nagging

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

A female pied flycatcher can't feed herself sufficientlywhile she incubates her eggs and newly-hatchedchicks. Photo by Alejandro Cantarero.I have been blessed with the fortune of not just having two healthy and happy babies, but being able to spend much of the spring and summer nurturing them and watching them develop and grow. But it has not been all roses: their smiles beam through the fog of my sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Their tears are met with my own. Our clothes are stained in a ra........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2014
  • 03:52 PM
  • 645 views

We Are Each A Community

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Lactobacillus (the purple rod-shaped things) is a common bacterial species in reproductive tracts. Image by Janice Carr from the CDC at Wikimedia Commons. In our world of antibacterial soaps, we have learned that bacteria are evil, dirty, sickness-causing agents to be eliminated at all costs. Although some bacteria can cause sickness, bacteria in general are actually a critical component of animal bodies. A human body has ten times as many bacterial cells as human cells and a hundred times........ Read more »

Archie, E.A., & Theis, K.R. (2011) Animal behaviour meets microbial ecology. Animal Behaviour, 425-436. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.029  

  • January 8, 2014
  • 01:12 PM
  • 495 views

Freezing the Winter Away

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The clutches of the Polar Vortex are finally releasing its grasp on us and we can be thankful for our home heating, our layers of warm clothing, and most of all, our bodies’ abilities to generate heat. But it is times like these that make me wonder about our friends that live outside year-round… especially those that don’t generate most of their own body heat. How do they survive these periods of intense cold? There are several species of North American frogs that have an unusual trick up ........ Read more »

  • January 1, 2014
  • 04:52 PM
  • 686 views

Metabolism and Body Size Influence the Perception of Movement and Time

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Zoetropes like this one have been used for almost 2000 years. If you look in the slits from the side, the image appears to be animated. Image by Andrew Dunn at Wikimedia Commons.When we watch TV or a movie, we are essentially watching a series of still images presented in rapid succession… so rapid, in fact, that we perceive them to be a single moving image. The ability of movie-makers to convince us that still images are fluid in time is based on our physiology. Specifically, moving-pictures,........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2013
  • 11:43 AM
  • 480 views

Personality and the Spread of Disease

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

This image was provided by the CDC and the Partnership, Inc. Available at Wikimedia Commons.Studies of the spread of infectious diseases have shown that behavior plays a strong role in which individuals are more likely to be infected and which ones aren't. For example, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are more commonly diagnosed in people that have more sexual partners. But despite our understanding of how diseases are spread among people, we know very little about the spread of diseases amo........ Read more »

  • November 20, 2013
  • 10:06 AM
  • 443 views

What Cetaceans Can Teach Us About Culture

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

A bottlenose dolphin mother shares her culture with her offspring. Image by M. Herko at the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) available at Wikimedia Commons.We often think of culture as being food dishes, music, dance, and clothing that are specific to a group of people. But are we the only species that have culture? What is culture exactly and how does it relate to relationships? Scientifically, culture is behavior that is socially transmitted between individuals and shared within po........ Read more »

  • November 13, 2013
  • 02:15 PM
  • 648 views

Can Animals Sense Each Other’s Wants and Hopes?

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Is the ability to empathize uniquely human? This question has long been pondered by philosophers and animal behaviorists alike. Empathy depends in part on the ability to recognize the wants and hopes of others. A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge suggests that we may not be alone with this ability. A male Eurasian jay feeds his female mate. Photo provided by Ljerka Ostojić.Ljerka Ostojić, Rachael Shaw, Lucy Cheke, and Nicky Clayton conducted a series of studies on Eurasia........ Read more »

  • October 31, 2013
  • 01:30 PM
  • 735 views

The Mimic Octopus: Master of Disguise

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The disguises of the mimic octopus: (a) shows a mimic octopus looking out of its burrow; (b) is a foraging mimic octopus with coloration to blend with the sand; (c) shows a mimic octopus as a sole fish and (d) is an actual sole fish; (e) shows a mimic octopus as a lion-fish and (f) is an actual lion-fish; and (g) shows a mimic octopus as a banded sea-snake and (h) is an actual banded sea-snake. Images from the Norman, 2001 article in Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B.Different animal species have evolv........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2013
  • 10:43 AM
  • 870 views

Honeybees Can Avoid Deadlock When Making Group Decisions, So Why Can't We?

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

This honeybee swarm has precious little time to make a democratic decision as to where they will move to. A decision deadlock could have fatal consequences. Image by Nino Barbieri at Wikimedia Commons.In case you've been living in a cave lately, the U.S. Government has been shut down since October 1st. Not because of a terrorist attack or a bank system meltdown or a natural disaster, but because Congress cannot agree on a spending bill to determine our government's funding plan for the next year........ Read more »

  • September 25, 2013
  • 10:52 AM
  • 412 views

Just Another Day (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Cassie Apostolou The zooplankton picture on the left was provided by the EPA at Wikimedia Commons. The human picture on the right was provided by Cassie Apostolou.Check out the two pictures above. It doesn’t look like those two animals share a lot in common, right? Obviously the two organisms don’t look alike and the zooplankton (the odd looking microorganism creature in the left picture) lives in water and us humans typically like to stay dry on land. But if you dig a little deeper than ........ Read more »

Haney, J.F. (1988) Diel Patterns of Zooplankton Behavior. Bulletin of Marine Science, 43(3), 583-603. info:/

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