Category Archives: Wild Life

Ancient Scorpions may have Lived in Water but Walked on Land

Paleontologists have hypothesized that scorpions evolved on the seafloor, but some recently discovered fossils have scientists reconsidering exactly how it happened. Eramoscorpius brucensis, possibly the second oldest known scorpion at 430 million to 433 million years old, appears to have lived primarily in water and occasionally spent time on land, putting scorpions on dry ground much earlier than previously thought. There’s a clear evolutionary advantage to spending time on land – scorpions molt, and they’re extremely vulnerable during the process; … Continue reading

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Wonders in the Sky

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How big are the ocean’s biggest animals?

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Click to enlarge Want to know what life is really like under the sea? From whales and sharks to squids, crabs and clams, this infographic shows just how big the ocean’s most colossal animals can get. Via NatGeo.

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This Freaky New Frog Gives Birth To Live Tadpoles, Not Eggs

Scientists have never seen anything quite like this before. It’s a newly discovered species of fanged frog that gives direct birth to live tadpoles instead of laying eggs. It isn’t that rare for scientists to find new species of animals, but finding an entirely new mode of reproduction is a different story altogether. The newly described species, called Limnonectes larvaepartus, was first discovered a few decades ago in the rain forests of Indonesia’s Sulawesie island by researcher Djoko Iskandar. Scientists … Continue reading

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Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces

Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don’t have any difficulty turning left. New research from the University of Bristol, UK published today in Biology Letters, has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go left when entering unknown spaces. PhD student Edmund Hunt and colleagues studied how Temnothorax albipennis ants explore nest cavities and negotiate through branching mazes. They found that ants were significantly more likely to turn left than right when exploring new nests. Such left bias was also present … Continue reading

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Amazonian bird chicks mimic poisonous caterpillar to avoid detection

A trio of researchers has found and documented the case of a newly hatched bird with plumage that mimics a poisonous caterpillar to ward off predators. In their paper published in American Naturalist, Gustavo Londoño, Duván García and Manuel Sánchez Martínez, describe finding the young birds and observing their habits while in their nests. Scientists have discovered a number of creatures that mimic other species to protect themselves from predators, but until now, no evidence for it has been found … Continue reading

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Some parasite bugs can control their hosts’ brains from inside

Ladybugs are said to bring good luck—but one infected by the wasp species Dinocampus coccinellae is decidedly unfortunate. When a female wasp stings a ladybug, it leaves behind a single egg. After the egg hatches, the larva begins to eat its host from the inside out. When ready, the parasite emerges and spins a cocoon between the ladybug’s legs. Though its body is now free of the tormentor, the bug remains enslaved, standing over the cocoon and protecting it from … Continue reading

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Rockhopper

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Penguins may lack teeth, but they have backward facing spines in their throats that grip and guide fish down. This photo of a rockhopper penguin was taken by Will Burrard-Lucas on the Falkland Islands. Via Facebook.

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Giant kangaroos ‘walked on two feet’

They roamed Australia while mammoths and Neanderthals lived in Europe – and it now seems they did so by putting one heavy foot in front of the other. According to new research, the extinct “sthenurine” family of giant kangaroos, up to three times larger than living roos, was able to walk on two feet. Today’s kangaroos can only hop or use all fours, but their extinct cousins’ bones suggest a two-legged gait. The biggest members of the family may not … Continue reading

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Researchers find LEDs attract more flying invertebrates than conventional lighting

A pair of researchers with the New Zealand research institute Scion, has found that flying invertebrates are more attracted to LED lights than to conventional outdoor lighting. In their paper published in the journal, Ecological Applications, Stephen Pawson and Martin Bader describe a simple study they carried out to see how attractive lighting was to flying bugs and what they found in doing so. LEDs are in the news of course, because the trio of researchers that invented the blue-light … Continue reading

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Researchers take cells from chrysalis and grow butterfly wings in the lab

A pair of researchers, one from Oxford University, the other with the Natural History Museum in London, has found a way to grow butterfly wings in their lab. In their paper published in Bioinspired, Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials, Helen Townley and Andrew Parker describe the transparent nature of certain butterfly and beetle wings and their efforts to reproduce them using cell cultures to grow colored materials. Many butterfly wings, it turns out, are not actually colored by pigments or dyes—instead, their … Continue reading

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Remarkably slender green vine snake

This remarkably slender green vine snake, Oxybelis fulgidus, is a colubrid from Central America and northern South America. It is mildly venomous and is shown here opening its mouth in threat display. Image: Suhaas Premkumar

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Armadillo in defensive mode

The very neat defensive pose of a southern three banded armadillo. Via Facebook.

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We love Diatoms

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Diatoms are single-celled organisms found in oceans all over the world. There are estimated to be 100,000 species of these micron-sized creatures in existence, and they play a crucial role as one of the main food sources for marine organisms, including fish, molluscs and tunicates, such as sea squirts. Once you get them under the microscope, the diatoms will reveal the incredible glass shells that contain their tiny bodies. During the Victorian era – the second half of the 19th … Continue reading

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Killer Chimps Reveal Why Violence Persists

Chimpanzees and humans share much in common, including cooperating to kill perceived rivals, and now a new study finds that this kind of lethal aggression — at least among chimps — is “normal” and sadly all too common. “Normal,” in this case, means that the behavior results from natural and evolved tendencies and does not, as some other researchers have suggested, emerge in response to human pressures, such as habitat loss. The study, published in the journal Nature, sheds light … Continue reading

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Bacteria found in bees show potential as an alternative to antibiotics

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Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly serious problem in the western world, and in April this year, the World Health Organisation declared it a major threat to public health. For centuries, people have used raw honey to help fight infections, but scientists have struggled to figure out what gives it its antimicrobial properties. Now a team of researchers from Lund University in Sweden has identified a unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that come from the honey stomach of … Continue reading

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Stringray migration

Stringray migrations are beautiful to watch from the air. The cownose ray is known for its long migrations across the Atlantic. These mass migrations occur seasonally in response to temperature changes: Via Facebook. Image credit Ryan Kidd

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Weird mushroom-shaped animals may rewrite animal family tree

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Weird deep-sea animals discovered off the coast of Australia in the 1980s have finally been classified, and they’re like no animal alive today. The newly described species, discovered between 400 and 1,000 metres below the ocean off the coast of Tasmania back in 1986, have been named Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides. And they’re so unique that they don’t fit into any existing animal groupings – in fact, they appear to most closely resemble long-extinct organisms that lived in the Ediacaran period, … Continue reading

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MASSIVE BIRD NESTS

One would normally assume that massive bird nests would house massive birds. These nests are so big that one wonders if they could house dinosaurs… They are built, in actuality, by some of the dinosaurs smallest descendents: Social Weaver Birds live in Namibia. They look rather like sparrows, and are about the size of sparrows. But somehow or other, they seem to have got into their bird-brains the necessity to build BIG, that is, REALLY BIG nests. Indeed, they build … Continue reading

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The incredible honey hunters of the Himalayan foothills

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Growing up to 3 centimetres (1.2 inches) in length, the Himalayan cliff honey bee of Nepal is the world’s largest honeybee. Found only in the foothills of the Himalayas, building their homes at altitudes of between 2,500 and 3,000 metres (8,200 and 9,800 feet) and foraging as high up as 4,100 metres (13,500 feet) above the ground, these insects have a unique ability to thrive at incredible heights. They’re so good at it, that the rest of the Himalayan honey … Continue reading

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