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All posts; Tags Include "Behavioral Biology"

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  • May 18, 2015
  • 04:14 PM
  • 1,010 views

Batesian Snake Necklaces

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

Batesian Mimicry - where an edible species is protected from predation by resembling an inedible or dangerous species might lead to the origin of new species. This suggestion was tested by putting "snake necklaces" in the field...... Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,260 views

Half Male, Half Female, Completely Weird

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It’s tough being a guy. I imagine it’s just as tough being a girl. What if you were exactly half of each? Bilateral gynandromrophs are rare animals that are exactly one half of each sex. They have occurred in insects, crustaceans, spiders, and birds. We know how some come about, but the birds are giving scientists a heck of a time.... Read more »

Renfree, M., Chew, K., & Shaw, G. (2014) Hormone-Independent Pathways of Sexual Differentiation. Sexual Development, 8(5), 327-336. DOI: 10.1159/000358447  

Dumanski, J., Rasi, C., Lonn, M., Davies, H., Ingelsson, M., Giedraitis, V., Lannfelt, L., Magnusson, P., Lindgren, C., Morris, A.... (2014) Smoking is associated with mosaic loss of chromosome Y. Science, 347(6217), 81-83. DOI: 10.1126/science.1262092  

Zhao, D., McBride, D., Nandi, S., McQueen, H., McGrew, M., Hocking, P., Lewis, P., Sang, H., & Clinton, M. (2010) Somatic sex identity is cell autonomous in the chicken. Nature, 464(7286), 237-242. DOI: 10.1038/nature08852  

  • May 5, 2015
  • 09:55 AM
  • 990 views

Journal Club: Birdfeeding favours non-native bird species

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: Feeding wild birds on bread and seed encourages high densities of introduced bird species at the expense of native species, thereby altering urban bird communities, according to a new study... Read more »

  • May 5, 2015
  • 09:44 AM
  • 1,133 views

Journal Club: Birdfeeding favours non-native bird species

by GrrlScientist in The Invisible Scientist

SUMMARY: Feeding wild birds on bread and seed encourages high densities of introduced bird species at the expense of native species, thereby altering urban bird communities, according to a new study... Read more »

  • May 1, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 485 views

Biological fight: the case of artificial stimuli in behavior research

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll The study of animal behavior is an important approach to understand several aspects on the ecology and the evolution of living beings, both from the analyzed animals themselves and the species with which they interact. For … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 29, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 865 views

The Flower Child Must Be Confused

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Very few animal species have true hermaphrodites, but over 90% of flowering plants are bisexual. Even though the rest are exceptions, they aren’t all the same type of exception. Some plants are male and some are female all the time, but some change sex every morning they flower. And maple tress can decide to be male or female for a whole year and then change their mind for next year.... Read more »

Spigler, R., & Ashman, T. (2011) Gynodioecy to dioecy: are we there yet?. Annals of Botany, 109(3), 531-543. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcr170  

Matallana, G., Wendt, T., Araujo, D., & Scarano, F. (2005) High abundance of dioecious plants in a tropical coastal vegetation. American Journal of Botany, 92(9), 1513-1519. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.92.9.1513  

Renner SS, Beenken L, Grimm GW, Kocyan A, & Ricklefs RE. (2007) The evolution of dioecy, heterodichogamy, and labile sex expression in Acer. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 61(11), 2701-19. PMID: 17894810  

  • April 21, 2015
  • 09:36 AM
  • 1,097 views

If only all science were this reproducible

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

For our course this year I was planning a standard neurogenetic experiment. I hadn’t ever done this experiment in a course, yet, just two weeks ago I tried it once myself, with an N=1. The students would get two groups […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

Kaun, K., Riedl, C., Chakaborty-Chatterjee, M., Belay, A., Douglas, S., Gibbs, A., & Sokolowski, M. (2007) Natural variation in food acquisition mediated via a Drosophila cGMP-dependent protein kinase. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210(20), 3547-3558. DOI: 10.1242/​jeb.006924  

  • April 16, 2015
  • 02:10 PM
  • 697 views

Counting Chicks

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

It’s probably not a surprise that humans aren’t the only animals with a sense of numbers. While they’re probably not …Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 864 views

Boy Plants Are From Mars …..

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Darwin missed the boat on plants. He recognized sexual dimorphism and sexual selection in animals, but didn’t see the same thing in flowers. Boy plants can look, grow, smell or locate very different from female plants. And it matters – some beetles seek out boy plants for their smell and deliver pollen to girl plants as a bribe for letting them lay eggs there! They have learned to tell guy from gal.
... Read more »

Okamoto, T., Kawakita, A., Goto, R., Svensson, G., & Kato, M. (2013) Active pollination favours sexual dimorphism in floral scent. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1772), 20132280-20132280. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2280  

  • April 8, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,065 views

Why Do Males And Females Look Different?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

You see a spotted hyena – is it a male or female. There’s no way of telling without a blood test or a litter of pups. Other animals have obvious differences between males and females; eclectus parrots have green males but red and blue females, while male elephant seals weigh 10x as much as females. Are the differences for sexual selection or natural selection?... Read more »

Cunha, G., Risbridger, G., Wang, H., Place, N., Grumbach, M., Cunha, T., Weldele, M., Conley, A., Barcellos, D., Agarwal, S.... (2014) Development of the external genitalia: Perspectives from the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). Differentiation, 87(1-2), 4-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.diff.2013.12.003  

Hammond, G., Miguel-Queralt, S., Yalcinkaya, T., Underhill, C., Place, N., Glickman, S., Drea, C., Wagner, A., & Siiteri, P. (2012) Phylogenetic Comparisons Implicate Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin in “Masculinization” of the Female Spotted Hyena . Endocrinology, 153(3), 1435-1443. DOI: 10.1210/en.2011-1837  

  • April 1, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,184 views

The Bird Jaws Of Life

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Do birds have teeth? No, but they did once, and sometimes a throwback mutation can create a chick with a full set of chompers. That’s weird, but bird mouths get weirder. Birds can open their upper jaw, not just their lower. And some birds take being weird even farther. The crossbill has a mouth where the upper and lower beaks scissor past one another while the wrybill has a beak that always turns right. ... Read more »

Meredith, R., Zhang, G., Gilbert, M., Jarvis, E., & Springer, M. (2014) Evidence for a single loss of mineralized teeth in the common avian ancestor. Science, 346(6215), 1254390-1254390. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254390  

Smith, J., Sjoberg, S., Mueller, M., & Benkman, C. (2012) Assortative flocking in crossbills and implications for ecological speciation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1745), 4223-4229. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1500  

Benkman, C., Parchman, T., & Mezquida, E. (2010) Patterns of coevolution in the adaptive radiation of crossbills. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1206(1), 1-16. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05702.x  

SNOWBERG, L., & BENKMAN, C. (2009) Mate choice based on a key ecological performance trait. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22(4), 762-769. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01699.x  

  • March 30, 2015
  • 12:00 PM
  • 953 views

Human Evolution

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Evolution: How we became human. An Infographic by Yisela A. Trentini.... Read more »

W. Howard Levie, & Richard Lentz. (1982) Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Technology Research , 30(4), 195-232. info:/10.1007/BF02765184

  • March 26, 2015
  • 08:50 AM
  • 1,073 views

Watching a paradigm shift in neuroscience

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

When I finished my PhD 15 years ago, the neurosciences defined the main function of brains in terms of processing input to compute output: “brain function is ultimately best understood in terms of input/output transformations and how they are produced” […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

  • March 26, 2015
  • 01:38 AM
  • 1,085 views

The Smell of Stress and Fear

by Aurametrix team in Olfactics and Diagnostics

Can we recognize if people around us are stressed, anxious or fearful without observing their facial expressions, body language and actions or hearing their voice and messages? Can we understand if we are stressed ourselves without assessing our heart rate, blood pressure, noticing dry throat, sweating, drops or surges in energy? Yes, we can - by using our nose - as humans, too, recognize and transmit their emotions through chemical senses.When we are stressed or panic we become more sensit........ Read more »

Haegler, K., Zernecke, R., Kleemann, A., Albrecht, J., Pollatos, O., Brückmann, H., & Wiesmann, M. (2010) No fear no risk! Human risk behavior is affected by chemosensory anxiety signals. Neuropsychologia, 48(13), 3901-3908. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.09.019  

Prehn-Kristensen A, Wiesner C, Bergmann TO, Wolff S, Jansen O, Mehdorn HM, Ferstl R, & Pause BM. (2009) Induction of empathy by the smell of anxiety. PloS one, 4(6). PMID: 19551135  

  • March 25, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,292 views

This Nose Knows

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Evolution has given the sperm whale the most amazing head in the animal kingdom. They’ve got the biggest brain – all 18 lb.s of it. It has 1900 liters of sperm oil that almost caused in the extinction of the animal. It has one nostril that’s offset on its head, making the whale asymmetric. But most impressively, he can change the density of his head to help him dive or surface, and to do it he uses the same organ he uses for echolocation!... Read more »

  • March 23, 2015
  • 05:55 PM
  • 1,062 views

A Dottyback in Damsel Clothing: Color Mimicking in Fish

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

I was looking around for a study and stumbled upon one about fish mimicry in Current Biology. What first caught my attention was its use of a video abstract. What a cool idea amped up a few notches by beginning with music reminiscent of Game of Thrones. Then I started to think back about posts I've done on predator-prey relationships and could only come up with 1, the One-Third for the Birds post back in 2012. Clearly it is time to revisit that topic. Oh, and while we’re at it, we’ll ........ Read more »

F. Cortesi, W.E. Feeney, M.C.O. Ferrari, P.A. Waldie, G.A.C. Phillips, E.C. McClure, H.N. Sköld, W. Salzburger, N.J. Marshall, & K.L. Cheney. (2015) Phenotypic Plasticity Confers Multiple Fitness Benefits to a Mimic. Current Biology, 25(1-6). info:/10.1016/j.cub.2015.02.013

  • March 23, 2015
  • 08:05 AM
  • 1,026 views

Pictures, Not Paragraphs

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Old and new literature confirm the common idea that visual communication and learning is far more effective and appealing than just text.... Read more »

W. Howard Levie, & Richard Lentz. (1982) Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Technology Research , 30(4), 195-232. info:/10.1007/BF02765184

  • March 20, 2015
  • 01:08 PM
  • 880 views

Gliding Ant Flies like a Backward Superman

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Travel to the Amazon and flick an ant off a leaf, and you might be surprised what you see. Certain rainforest ant species can control their falls and glide back onto the trunks of the trees they came from. Unlike Superman, though, they're only flying to rescue themselves.

An ant is light enough that a drop to the forest floor might not hurt it. But the other animals cruising the ground for snacks will cause trouble for that ant soon enough. That's why many rainforest ants have evolved to ... Read more »

Munk Y, Yanoviak SP, Koehl MA, & Dudley R. (2015) The descent of ant: field-measured performance of gliding ants. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 25788722  

  • March 18, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,251 views

The Search For The Unicorn - Slightly Off Center

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

One of the most amazing animals is one of the least often seen. It has one tooth that grows into a tusk that’s off center. The tusk is basically inside out, with the inside of the tooth exposed to the world. This animal also has the world’s only spiraled tooth, for strength and because that’s what keeps it growing straight. Finally, this animal spends an amazing amount of time on its back. Why do we care about these animal…..because they are so awesome!... Read more »

Christen AG, & Christen JA. (2011) The unicorn and the narwhal: a tale of the tooth. Journal of the history of dentistry, 59(3), 135-42. PMID: 22372187  

Kingsley, M., & Ramsay, M. (1988) The Spiral in the Tusk of the Narwhal. ARCTIC, 41(3). DOI: 10.14430/arctic1723  

Nweeia, M., Eichmiller, F., Hauschka, P., Donahue, G., Orr, J., Ferguson, S., Watt, C., Mead, J., Potter, C., Dietz, R.... (2014) Sensory ability in the narwhal tooth organ system. The Anatomical Record, 297(4), 599-617. DOI: 10.1002/ar.22886  

Dietz, R., Shapiro, A., Bakhtiari, M., Orr, J., Tyack, P., Richard, P., Eskesen, I., & Marshall, G. (2007) Upside-down swimming behaviour of free-ranging narwhals. BMC Ecology, 7(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-7-14  

  • March 12, 2015
  • 11:25 PM
  • 995 views

Wounded by love: snails struck by love darts have lower survival and reproductive rates

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

Some species of land snails shoot love darts at their mating partners to increase their reproductive success.These sharp and pointy darts are made of a crystalline form of calcium carbonate called aragonite and coated with mucus. If the dart hits its target, chemicals in the mucus coating are released into the recipient snail’s blood stream. These chemicals serve as signals that trick the female reproductive organs to divert the shooter’s sperm away from the sperm digesting organs an........ Read more »

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