Category Archives: Wild Life

New critter discovered on whale carcass

Chance discovery could be unique to whale bone habitat A new species of bug, similar in appearance to the common woodlouse, has been found plastered all over a whale carcass on the floor of the deep Southern Ocean. Scientists say that Jaera tyleri is the first in its genus to be found in the southern hemisphere, and may be unique to the whale bone habitat. The bones themselves are a remarkable chance discovery. They were spotted on a live video … Continue reading

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Flight of the Dung Beetle

Narrated by David Attenborough, this video shows the battle that dung beetles face in order to survive.

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Frogs Shrinking and Squeaking as Climate Warms

The tweets of Puerto Rico’s unofficial mascot, the common coqui frog, became higher pitched during the past two decades, while the animals grew shorter. At the same time, the island increased in average temperature. “We think the animal adapted to temperature change by becoming smaller, which we believe causes the differences in their calls,” said Sebastiaan Meenderink, a UCLA physicist and co-author of a recent study documenting the declining dimensions of the coqui frog, in a press release. Male coqui … Continue reading

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The Flying Mop

Beautiful picture by Tim Flach

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Crows Are As Smart As A Seven-Year-Old Child

Crows are as smart as an average five to seven-year-old human child, according to a new study. The research shows that the crow behavior described in a popular Aesop’s fable is real and that crows actually understand water displacement. Science has known for a long time that crows and other members of the corvid family are intelligent. Now, researchers at the University of Auckland found that New Caledonian crows, Corvus moneduloides, can solve the pitcher puzzle in Aesop’s fable with reasoning abilities … Continue reading

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Tardigrades or Waterbears are classified as extremophiles, organisms that can thrive in a physically or geochemically extreme condition that would be detrimental to most life on Earth. For example, tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, pressures about six times stronger than pressures found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more … Continue reading

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The Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog

The waxy monkey leaf frog, is a type of tree frog from Central and South America. It has adapted to meet the demands of life in the trees and does not need to return to the ground during the mating season, it lays its eggs down the middle of a leaf before folding the leaf and sandwiching the eggs inside. Its nest is attached to a branch suspended over a stream, so the hatching tadpoles drop into the water. The … Continue reading

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Study shows some cuckoo birds may actually help their hosts

A team of researchers in Spain has found that at least one species of cuckoo bird may actually help its nest-mates survive. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how in studying the great spotted cuckoo, they found that crow hatchlings were actually more successful due to the presence of an uninvited bird. Most everyone knows that cuckoo birds are the ultimate free-loaders. Mothers lay their eggs in the nests of birds of different species, leaving … Continue reading

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Crinoids are marine animals that make up the class Crinoidea of the echinoderms. Crinoidea comes from the Greek word krinon, “a lily”, and eidos, “form”. They live both in shallow water and in depths as great as 6,000 metres. Sea lilies refer to the crinoids which, in their adult form, are attached to the sea bottom by a stalk. Feather stars or comatulids refer to the unstalked forms. Crinoids are characterised by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded … Continue reading

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Sea Anemone: Animal and Plant in One

Sea anemones are classified as being animals, but two new genetic studies have found that these water-dwelling creatures are technically half plant and half animal. The discovery does not change the classification of sea anemones, but the studies — both published in the latest issue of the journal Genome Research — reveal just how interconnected life on Earth is. “All animals living now, including humans, are equally distant (i.e. distantly related) to plants,” project leader Ulrich Technau told Discovery News. “However, … Continue reading

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Dogs Poop Along North-South Magnetic Lines

Dog owners have observed some odd behaviors among their pets— sniffing butts, eating garbage, giving unconditional love — but one habit has probably escaped their attention: Dogs apparently prefer to poop while aligned with the north-south axis of the Earth’s magnetic field. That’s the surprising conclusion of an exhaustive study, conducted by German and Czech researchers, who spent two years watching 70 dogs while they defecated and urinated thousands of times. The scientists then compared the dogs’ behavior and orientation with … Continue reading

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Hammerhead Shark Swarm

It’s just a regular dive off the coast of Mozambique — a dolphin pod here, a few kingfish there — until a swarm (and we mean DOZENS!) of hammerhead sharks show up (01:24). Here’s what it’s like to find yourself surrounded by hammerheads! The distinctive-looking sharks are highly threatened by the fin trade, so it’s special to see them converge in such large numbers.

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Guillemot eggs

The common guillemot is a bird with decidedly uncommon eggs. They’re shaped in such a way that when they roll, they do so not in a long, wide arc but a tight, uniform circle. But why would an egg do such a thing? Guillemots are seabirds, and they tend to congregate on the ledges of cliffs overlooking the ocean. The view is spectacular, but it’s a pretty precarious place for a newly laid clutch of baby birds. Guillemots don’t even … Continue reading

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Killer starfish threaten Great Barrier Reef

Waves of carnivorous starfish are eating their way through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – and sugar cane farming is being blamed. Researchers at Australia’s Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), just outside Townsville, Queensland, in north-east Australia, have mapped the pattern of destruction. “Coral cover is half of what it was 27 years ago, coral cover is going down at an alarming rate.” Dr Katharina Fabricius, coral reef ecologist and AIMS principal research scientist, told the BBC World Service programme Discovery. She said … Continue reading

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Plants compete for friendly ants

Many woodland plants rely on ants to disperse their seeds; such seed dispersal increases the plant population’s chance of survival. Robert Warren, assistant professor of biology, has recently demonstrated that ant-dispersed plants (myrmecochores) compete for ant dispersers by staggering seed release. “Competition as a mechanism structuring mutualisms” by Warren and coauthors Itamar Giladi and Mark A. Bradford was published online on January 13 in the Journal of Ecology. The researchers hypothesized that the staggered timing of seed release by ant-dependent … Continue reading

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Arctic cod inspire new way to help hospitals keep blood on ice

Antifreeze proteins from fish living in icy seas have inspired a new way to freeze blood which could one day increase the precious stocks available for medical procedures. University of Warwick researchers have found a new application for a common polymer which allows blood cells to better survive being stored at freezing temperatures. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications. Polyvinyl alcohol – which mimics antifreeze properties found in cold-acclimatised fish like arctic cod – works by inhibiting the … Continue reading

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Researchers are piecing together causes of decline in honey bees

Last spring, when Mary Harris started looking for particular pesticides in the pollen carried by honey bees in northwest Iowa, she didn’t find any. But that changed the week tractors hit the fields to plant crops. That week, every pollen sample she took tested positive for the presence of neonicotinoids, pesticides often used to coat seeds before they’re planted. Harris, an Iowa State University adjunct assistant professor of natural resource ecology and management, was part of a research team formed by … Continue reading

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Urban Bees Using Plastic to Build Nests

Comedian George Carlin once joked that perhaps the Earth wanted plastic, yet didn’t know how to produce it. So, the planet spawned humans only so that we could create the polymer. Two species of leafcutter bee seem to have taken Carlin seriously and now incorporate plastic into their nests. In Toronto, bees were observed using shreds of plastic bags or dollops of polyurethane sealant to construct some of their nests. Leafcutter bees don’t form hives like honey bees. Instead, solitary … Continue reading

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The bombardier beetle’s deadly attack

Bombardier Beetle when threatened, sprays the attacker with a boiling hot mixture of caustic chemicals reaching 212° F (100° C). Even more impressive, the bombardier beetle can aim the poisonous eruption in the direction of the harasser. The beetle itself is not harmed by the fiery chemical reaction. Using two special chambers inside the abdomen, the bombardier beetle mixes potent chemicals and uses an enzymatic trigger to heat and release them. The foul concoction does burn and stain the skin. … Continue reading

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Fur and feathers keep animals warm by scattering light

In work that has major implications for improving the performance of building insulation, scientists at the University of Namur in Belgium and the University of Hassan I in Morocco have calculated that hairs that reflect infrared light may contribute significant insulating power to the exceptionally warm winter coats of polar bears and other animals. The research was published today in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal, Optics Express. Biophotonics expert Priscilla Simonis, a researcher at the University of Namur and … Continue reading

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