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Animal Sciences
When Industrious Ants Go Too Far PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 08:02
Nature is full of mutually beneficial arrangements between organisms—like the relationship between flowering plants and their bee pollinators. But sometimes these blissful relationships have a dark side, as Harvard biologist Megan Frederickson describes in an article in The American Naturalist.
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Norwegian Red Foxes Have More Trichina, but Less Scabies than Previously PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 07:47
Trichina worms (Trichinella spp.) are roundworms that can invade a wide range of animals and man. People are most often infected through eating trichina-containing pork. For her doctorate, Rebecca Davidson investigated the incidence of trichina in red foxes in Norway. Her findings show that red foxes throughout Norway are liable to become infected, but that the parasite is most common in southern and especially south-eastern areas.
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Some Vocal-mimicking Animals, Particularly Parrots, Can Move to a Musical Beat PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 May 2009 09:05
Researchers at Harvard University have found that humans aren’t the only ones who can groove to a beat — some other species can dance, too. The capability was previously believed to be specific to humans. The research team found that only species that can mimic sound seem to be able to keep a beat, implying an evolutionary link between the two capacities.
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Dogs Are Aggressive if They Are Trained Badly PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 April 2009 08:10
Many dogs are put down or abandoned due to their violent nature, but contrary to popular belief, breed has little to do with a dog's aggressive behaviour compared to all the owner-dependant factors. This is shown in a new study from the University of Córdoba, which includes breeds that are considered aggressive by nature, such as the Rottweiler or the Pit Bull.
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Animals that Seem Identical May Be Completely Different Species PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 April 2009 07:19
Animals that seem identical may belong to completely different species. This is the conclusion of researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who have used DNA analyses to discover that one of our most common segmented worms is actually two types of worm.
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Secret to Night Vision Found in DNA's Unconventional 'Architecture' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 09:22
Researchers have discovered an important element for making night vision possible in nocturnal mammals: the DNA within the photoreceptor rod cells responsible for low light vision is packaged in a very unconventional way, according to a report in the April 17th issue of Cell. That special DNA architecture turns the rod cell nuclei themselves into tiny light-collecting lenses, with millions of them in every nocturnal eye.
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Live-in Domestics: Mites as Maids in Tropical Rainforest Sweat Bee Nests PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 07:48
Mites not only inhabit the dust bunnies under the bed, they also occupy the nests of tropical sweat bees where they keep fungi in check. Bees and their young are healthier when mites live-in, report researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the University of Texas at Austin.
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Pig of the Future Might Be Free of Diseases that Can Infect People PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 April 2009 10:55
Pigs are known carriers of the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica, and they can infect both other pigs and people. Human infection occurs through eating improperly-cooked pork. Professor Truls Nesbakken of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science is trying to rid pigs of the bacterium.
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Biochemical Buzz on Career Changes in Bees PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 April 2009 10:45
Adults facing unexpected career changes, take note. Scientists from Brazil and Cuba are reporting that honey bees — a mainstay for behavioral research that cannot be done in other animals — change their brains before transitioning to that new job. The research provides valuable insight into the biochemistry behind the behavior, feats of navigation, and social organization in these animals.
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Owls' Dawn and Dusk Concerts Promote Visual Communication PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 09:29
Reporting in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE April 8, Vincenzo Penteriani and Maria Delgado of the Estacion Biologica de Doñana, Spain, describe the evolution of white throat badges in association with dawn and dusk vocal signals in certain species of nocturnal bird, which maximise the potential for these species to communicate during hours when light is low.
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Dolphins Maintain Round-the-clock Visual Vigilance PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 07:58
Dolphins have a clever trick for overcoming sleep deprivation. Sam Ridgway from the US Navy Marine Mammal Program explains that they are able to send half of their brains to sleep while the other half remains conscious. What is more, the mammals seem to be able to remain continually vigilant for sounds for days on end. All of this made Ridgway and his colleagues from San Diego and Tel Aviv wonder whether the dolphins' unrelenting auditory vigilance tired them and took a toll on the animals' other senses?
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Fish May Actually Feel Pain and React to It Much Like Humans Do PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 May 2009 10:39
Fish don't make noises or contort their faces to show that it hurts when hooks are pulled from their mouths, but a Purdue University researcher believes they feel that pain all the same.
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Ecosystem Gone Haywire: Cape Gannet Bird Threatened with Extinction PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 April 2009 08:12
The ecosystem of the Cape Gannet, a protected bird species, has gone haywire. As a result of overfishing, the birds are no longer able to find enough food to rear their young. Pelicans, kelp gulls and seals are becoming increasing threats – the lack of fish means that these predators are attacking Cape Gannet chicks more often.
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Our Penchant for Rarity Could Threaten Conservation Efforts PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 April 2009 08:25
Rare plant and animal species are like rare stamps or coins: they are perceived to be inherently more valuable to people, whatever they look like. Researchers Elena Angulo and Franck Courchamp, from Université de Paris-Sud, have found that people are more attracted to species labeled "rare" than those labeled "common" even when they do not know which species are involved.
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Guam Rhino Beetles Got Rhythm PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 09:33
In May 2008 the island of Guam became a living laboratory for scientists as they attached acoustic equipment to coconut trees in order to listen for rhinoceros beetles. A grant from USDA IPM allowed Richard Mankin, a recognized world-class expert on acoustic detection of insects, to travel to Guam to collaborate with island scientists on the Guam Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Eradication Project. 
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Fish Researcher Demonstrates First 'Non-visual Feeding' by African Cichlids PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 09:20
Most fish rely primarily on their vision to find prey to feed upon, but a University of Rhode Island biologist and her colleagues have demonstrated that a group of African cichlids feeds by using its lateral line sensory system to detect minute vibrations made by prey hidden in the sediments.
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Lizards Bask in the Sun for a Vitamin D Boost PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 07:43
Keeping warm isn't the only reason lizards and other cold-blooded critters bask in the sun. According to a study published in the May/June issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, chameleons alter their sunbathing behavior based on their need for vitamin D.
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Seabirds' Suitability as a Mate Tied to Crest Size PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 April 2009 10:53
A new study by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers evidence that in one breed of northern seabird, the size of males’ feather crests may be more than simple ornamentation.
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All Octopuses Are Venomous: Could Lead to Drug Discovery PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 09:32
Once thought to be only the realm of the blue-ringed octopus, researchers have now shown that all octopuses and cuttlefish, and some squid are venomous. The work indicates that they all share a common, ancient venomous ancestor and highlights new avenues for drug discovery.
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Red Pandas Reveal an Unexpected (artificial) Sweet Tooth PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 09:26
Researchers from the Monell Center report that the red panda is the first non-primate mammal to display a liking for the artificial sweetener aspartame. This unexpected affinity for an artificial sweetener may reflect structural variation in the red panda's sweet taste receptor.
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