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  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 932 views

Hermit Houses And Fiddler Claws

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Fiddler crabs are an evolutionary marvel. Their major claw is huge, it plays a role in mate selection, but not just in the way you’d think.
Some species are right-clawed and some can have the major claw on either side, but if they lose one and grow it back, the major claw might switch sides! The new major claw isn’t as good for fighting, so he fakes being strong and tries to win without fighting.
... Read more »

Backwell, P., Matsumasa, M., Double, M., Roberts, A., Murai, M., Keogh, J., & Jennions, M. (2007) What are the consequences of being left-clawed in a predominantly right-clawed fiddler crab?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274(1626), 2723-2729. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0666  

  • May 21, 2015
  • 10:22 AM
  • 774 views

Social Contagion: When Fish Go with the Flow

by Bernadeta Dadonaite in The Question Gene

How contagious behaviour spreads in schooling fish... Read more »

Rosenthal SB, Twomey CR, Hartnett AT, Wu HS, & Couzin ID. (2015) Revealing the hidden networks of interaction in mobile animal groups allows prediction of complex behavioral contagion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(15), 4690-5. PMID: 25825752  

  • May 20, 2015
  • 01:48 PM
  • 859 views

Can we save the Golden-winged Warbler by burning the place down?

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

The endangered Golden-winged Warbler can be conserved by fire management.... Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,025 views

The Ugly Butterfly Gets The Girl

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

A current theory is that humans (and other animals) perceive symmetry as beauty and is desirable in a mate. Symmetric bodies and faces are correlated with strength, overall health, facial beauty, and dancing ability, but also with extramarital affairs. On the other hand, on butterfly thrives on ugliness. Asymmetric wings actually help males fly better during sexual competitions and gives them a reproductive advantage.... Read more »

Little, A., Paukner, A., Woodward, R., & Suomi, S. (2012) Facial asymmetry is negatively related to condition in female macaque monkeys. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66(9), 1311-1318. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1386-4  

Fink, B., Weege, B., Manning, J., & Trivers, R. (2014) Body symmetry and physical strength in human males. American Journal of Human Biology, 26(5), 697-700. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22584  

Thomas F, Doyon J, Elguero E, Dujardin JP, Brodeur J, Roucher C, Robert V, Missé D, Raymond M, & Trape JF. (2015) Plasmodium infections and fluctuating asymmetry among children and teenagers from Senegal. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 97-101. PMID: 25725158  

  • May 19, 2015
  • 03:04 PM
  • 761 views

On Snails and Shells

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

The evolution of shell characteristics in snails in simply amazing!... Read more »

  • May 18, 2015
  • 03:14 PM
  • 927 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 17, 2015
  • 06:56 AM
  • 138 views

Opah (Lampris Guttatus): First Fully Warm-Blooded Fish

by beredim in Strange Animals



Biologist Nick Wegner holds an opah caught
during a research survey off the California Coast.
Credit: NOAA Fisheries

New research by NOAA Fisheries* has revealed the opah (Lampris Guttatus) to be the first fully warm-blooded fish. Also known as moonfish, it circulates heated blood throughout its body much like mammals and birds do, giving it a competitive advantage in the cold ocean depths.

... Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,203 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 11, 2015
  • 05:20 AM
  • 1,010 views

Monkey Fever Disease in South India: Some recommendations for its management.

by Sarah Stephen in An ecological oratorio

Macaca radiataThe Western Ghats is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the India starting near the border of the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and running through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu states ending at Kanya Kumari, the southern tip of India. The forests in the Western Ghats are unique in that they are some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests. With  an estimated 7,400 species of flowering plants, ........ Read more »

Kiran, S., Pasi, A., Kumar, S., Kasabi, G., Gujjarappa, P., Shrivastava, A., Mehendale, S., Chauhan, L., Laserson, K., & Murhekar, M. (2015) Kyasanur Forest Disease Outbreak and Vaccination Strategy, Shimoga District, India, 2013–2014. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 21(1), 146-149. DOI: 10.3201/eid2101.141227  

  • May 11, 2015
  • 01:42 AM
  • 947 views

Birth of the blue morphos

by GrrlScientist in The Invisible Scientist

SUMMARY: Today’s “Museum Monday” features a visit to London's Natural History Museum’s new Sensational Butterflies exhibition, where we watch a time-lapse video of their blue morpho butterflies emerging from chrysalises ... Read more »

Vukusic P., C. R. Lawrence, & R. J. Wootton. (1999) Quantified interference and diffraction in single Morpho butterfly scales. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266(1427), 1403-1411. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1999.0794  

  • May 9, 2015
  • 06:34 AM
  • 579 views

The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish

by Olesya Pavlova in genome ecology evolution etc

Evolutionary diversification among species attracts the attention of scientist during long time. Adaptive radiation underlies evolution and comprises the rapid adaptation of a single lineage to its changed environment which provides new resources and opens new environmental niches. Among all … Continue reading →... Read more »

Brawand, D., Wagner, C., Li, Y., Malinsky, M., Keller, I., Fan, S., Simakov, O., Ng, A., Lim, Z., Bezault, E.... (2014) The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish. Nature, 513(7518), 375-381. DOI: 10.1038/nature13726  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 08:12 AM
  • 740 views

The genomic landscape underlying phenotypic integrity in the face of gene flow in crows

by Thomas Martignier in genome ecology evolution etc

The role of interspecific gene flow in species diversification has long been debated and is increasingly appreciated. However, the effect of gene introgression on phenotypic divergences and genome heterogeneity remain unclear in case of early speciation. To investigate these questions … Continue reading →... Read more »

Poelstra, J., Vijay, N., Bossu, C., Lantz, H., Ryll, B., Muller, I., Baglione, V., Unneberg, P., Wikelski, M., Grabherr, M.... (2014) The genomic landscape underlying phenotypic integrity in the face of gene flow in crows. Science, 344(6190), 1410-1414. DOI: 10.1126/science.1253226  

  • May 6, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,313 views

Plants Aren’t Just Male Or Female

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It’s hard enough to believe that flowering plants have different sexes, but how about plants that have three sexes? One trioecious plant varies it sex ratio depending on how much water is around, while another only shows three sexes when it lives near a particular bat. But most amazing, man made the papaya into a three-sex plant. Your tropical fruit salad is made with a hermaphrodite.... Read more »

VanBuren R, Zeng F, Chen C, Zhang J, Wai CM, Han J, Aryal R, Gschwend AR, Wang J, Na JK.... (2015) Origin and domestication of papaya Yh chromosome. Genome research, 25(4), 524-33. PMID: 25762551  

  • May 5, 2015
  • 08:55 AM
  • 908 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
  • 08:44 AM
  • 1,049 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
  • 07:00 AM
  • 455 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
  • 08:00 AM
  • 823 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 28, 2015
  • 11:10 AM
  • 799 views

Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, T-rex’s Vegetarian Cousin

by beredim in Strange Animals



Chilesaurus diegosuarezi
Artistic interpretation
Credit: Gabriel Lío

Researchers announced yesterday the discovery of a new dinosaur that although closely related to the carnivorous T-Rex it preferred to feed on plant material. The new lineage of dinosaur was discovered in Chile and has proven to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle.


Paleontologists are referring to the newly described species (... Read more »

Novas, F., Salgado, L., Suárez, M., Agnolín, F., Ezcurra, M., Chimento, N., de la Cruz, R., Isasi, M., Vargas, A., & Rubilar-Rogers, D. (2015) An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14307  

  • April 28, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,358 views

Quicksilver: The Avenger With Mutations For Speed

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

The New Avengers movie comes out in a couple days. In this film, a new Avenger named Quicksilver makes his debut. Quicksilver is a mutant who can run fast – really fast. What mutation could make him that fast? Well, science has found several gene changes he might use to become a superhero.... Read more »

Reyes, N., Banks, G., Tsang, M., Margineantu, D., Gu, H., Djukovic, D., Chan, J., Torres, M., Liggitt, H., Hirenallur-S, D.... (2015) Fnip1 regulates skeletal muscle fiber type specification, fatigue resistance, and susceptibility to muscular dystrophy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(2), 424-429. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1413021112  

Potter, M., Wyble, B., Hagmann, C., & McCourt, E. (2013) Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture. Attention, Perception, , 76(2), 270-279. DOI: 10.3758/s13414-013-0605-z  

  • April 27, 2015
  • 01:39 PM
  • 786 views

Parasite-Infected Bumblebees Seek out Flowers with Nicotine

by beredim in Strange Animals



 A buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris

Buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) that have been infected by parasites seek out flowers with nicotine in their nectar, according to a new study by researchers at the Royal Holloway University of London and Queen Mary University of London, UK.

Apparently, the nicotine in the flowers slows the progression of disease in infected bees but has ... Read more »

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