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  • January 21, 2017
  • 09:54 PM
  • 436 views

Don’t let the web bugs bite

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you think spiders are scary creatures, today you will learn that they are scared too. But what could scary a spider? Well, a web bug! We usually think of spider webs as an astonishing evolutionary … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 388 views

Friday Fellow: Branching Vase Sponge

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A fascinating group of animals that has not yet joined the Friday Fellows are the sponges. Different from all other animals, sponges have a unique body structure that behaves more like a plant or fungus. They … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 14, 2016
  • 07:43 AM
  • 450 views

The spotted gar genome illuminates vertebrate evolution and facilitates human-teleost comparisons

by Christian de Guttry in genome ecology evolution etc

The spotted gar genome illuminates vertebrate evolution and facilitates human-teleost comparisons About 450 mya bony vertebrates radiated into Lobe-finned fish, from which tetrapods appeared later, and Ray-finned fish, which include Teleost (Fig.1). Nowadays they make up to 96 percent of … Continue reading →... Read more »

Braasch I, Gehrke AR, Smith JJ, Kawasaki K, Manousaki T, Pasquier J, Amores A, Desvignes T, Batzel P, Catchen J.... (2016) The spotted gar genome illuminates vertebrate evolution and facilitates human-teleost comparisons. Nature genetics, 48(4), 427-37. PMID: 26950095  

  • November 29, 2016
  • 02:32 AM
  • 448 views

New Groin Flashing Frog Discovered

by beredim in Strange Animals





Researchers recently announced the discovery of a frog whose groin flashes orange to scare away predators! The species was discovered in Australia.

When biologist Simon Clulow spotted a frog with an unusual marble pattern on its belly, he knew it could be a new species. If that turned to be true, it would be very surprising as the sighting took place on land close to an airport and not some ... Read more »

  • November 25, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 458 views

Friday Fellow: Persian Carpet Flatworm

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A flatworm again, at last! Not a land planarian, but a flatworm nonetheless. If there is a group of flatworms that may put land planarians in second plan regarding beauty, those are the polyclads. Living in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 28, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 342 views

Friday Fellow: Sun Beetle

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Who says beetles cannot be cute? Take a look at those guys: These little fellows are beetles of the species Pachnoda marginata, commonly known as sun beetle or taxi cab beetle. Native from Africa, they reach up … Continue reading →... Read more »

Stensmyr, Marcus C., Larsson, Mattias C., Bice, Shannon, & Hansson, Bill S. (2001) Detection of fruit- and flower-emitted volatiles by olfactory receptor neurons in the polyphagous fruit chafer Pachnoda marginata (Coleoptera: Cetoniinae). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 187(7), 509-519. info:/

  • October 25, 2016
  • 07:35 PM
  • 528 views

Why do polar bears mock battle? and other facts about polar bear reproduction

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »

Fitzgerald KT. (2013) Polar bears: the fate of an icon. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(4), 135-42. PMID: 24331553  

  • October 16, 2016
  • 08:58 PM
  • 538 views

Call me: female zebra finches prefer their mate’s call

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2016
  • 03:15 PM
  • 558 views

That time 20,000 jellyfish orbited Earth

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »

Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1  

  • October 5, 2016
  • 09:06 AM
  • 776 views

Of microbes and men: Evolving as one and terraforming earth

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Me and my microbes In the past decade or so, the microbiota, the community of microbes that makes its home in the guts of humans and other animals, has become quite a popular research topic. Quite rightly so, since our little guests seem to affect aspects of our lives that we wouldn’t necessarily consider to […]... Read more »

Faria VG, Martins NE, Magalhães S, Paulo TF, Nolte V, Schlötterer C, Sucena É, & Teixeira L. (2016) Drosophila Adaptation to Viral Infection through Defensive Symbiont Evolution. PLoS genetics, 12(9). PMID: 27684942  

Solé RV, Montañez R, & Duran-Nebreda S. (2015) Synthetic circuit designs for earth terraformation. Biology direct, 37. PMID: 26187273  

  • September 27, 2016
  • 03:09 PM
  • 539 views

Sex changes in nature

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

We might think of animal mating being as simple as 1 male and 1 female, like on Noah's Ark. But many types of fish undergo sex changes throughout their lives. My goal is to open people's eyes to the diversity among sex in animals.... Read more »

  • September 22, 2016
  • 09:27 AM
  • 742 views

Will tardigrades get humanity into space?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The mighty water bear Tardigrades, aka water bears, are tiny animals that can be found just about everywhere on earth, with a slight preference for the moisture in moss. They happily amble along on their four pairs of legs and slurp up plant cells, algae, and even smaller invertebrates that can’t get away fast enough […]... Read more »

Boothby TC, Tenlen JR, Smith FW, Wang JR, Patanella KA, Nishimura EO, Tintori SC, Li Q, Jones CD, Yandell M.... (2015) Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(52), 15976-81. PMID: 26598659  

Koutsovoulos G, Kumar S, Laetsch DR, Stevens L, Daub J, Conlon C, Maroon H, Thomas F, Aboobaker AA, & Blaxter M. (2016) No evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer in the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(18), 5053-8. PMID: 27035985  

Hashimoto T, Horikawa DD, Saito Y, Kuwahara H, Kozuka-Hata H, Shin-I T, Minakuchi Y, Ohishi K, Motoyama A, Aizu T.... (2016) Extremotolerant tardigrade genome and improved radiotolerance of human cultured cells by tardigrade-unique protein. Nature communications, 12808. PMID: 27649274  

  • September 9, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 572 views

Friday Fellow: Helicopter Damselfly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Damselflies are usually delicate versions of dragonflies, but some species challenge their place among the odonates. The most extreme example comes from the moist forests of Central and South America and is known as Megaloprepus caerulatus or … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 06:17 PM
  • 658 views

Girls only, literally: global warming and sea turtle sex ratios

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

The sex of sea turtle offspring is largely dependent on temperature, and global warming could lead to problems where populations are mostly/all female. However, sea turtles have a trick up their sleeve (in their shells?) that may make them more resilient to the effects of global warming than previously thought.... Read more »

  • September 2, 2016
  • 10:28 AM
  • 583 views

Red Kangaroo

by Jason Organ in Eatlemania!

The Eatles are chomping on the remains of a red kangaroo. Come learn about some of the anatomical specializations in this fascinating animal.... Read more »

  • September 2, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 577 views

Friday Fellow: Gold-and-Brown Rove Beetle

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s time for our next beetle. Today the fellow I chose is Ontholestes cingulatus or gold-and-brown rove beetle. Rove beetles are the second most numerous family of beetles after weevils. Their more remarkable feature is that their … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 1, 2016
  • 10:19 AM
  • 699 views

Responsible resurrection: The ecology of de-extinction

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

March of the mammoths Improvements in our genetic tinkering capabilities have led several people to suggest potential uses for our newfound powers. Although we ought to add some nuance and note that those powers are still in development. In any case, one of those powers is quite impressive. De-extinction, or the process of bringing back […]... Read more »

  • August 30, 2016
  • 03:55 PM
  • 589 views

Like mother, like daughter: why some animals teach their daughters more than they teach their sons

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why do some learned behaviors appear more frequently in daughters than in sons? I describe an article that attempts to answer this question by looking at dolphins, and briefly, chimpanzees.... Read more »

  • August 26, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 606 views

Friday Fellow: Six-Spot Burnet

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Found in Europe, today’s Friday Fellow is a nice day-flying moth with beautiful colors and toxic compounds. Scientifically known as Zygaena filipendulae, its common name is six-spot burnet, burnet being the common name of moths in the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 18, 2016
  • 08:00 AM
  • 684 views

Sorry, I Don't Drink

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Koalas don’t drink a lot of water, but the spinifex hopping mouse and kangaroo rat put him to shame. They never drink. What water they need they get from the seeds they eat and from the fact that they conserve water amazingly well – including the water that they produce during metabolism. Adult mayflies don’t drink either – they don’t have working mouthparts! Of course, some only live a few minutes as adults, so it may not be that big a deal.... Read more »

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