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Animal Behavior

May 6, 2006 | From Bloomberg
A tiny black-and-white songbird that flies from West Africa to the Netherlands to lay its eggs in mid-April is arriving too late for dinner, in what may be one of the subtler consequences of global warming, a new study says. The number of European pied flycatchers has dropped 90% in some areas because the supply of caterpillars is peaking earlier, leaving the birds with no food for their chicks, according to results in this week's issue of the journal Science.
December 29, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
Scientists are stumped about why thousands of rare seabirds are suddenly being spotted on land in Northern California. Red phalaropes live many miles off the Pacific Coast and usually land only in the Arctic, where they breed and raise their young. But bird enthusiasts began spotting the birds in Sonoma County on Christmas Day, and flocks have since been reported in residential neighborhoods of San Francisco, Palo Alto and Los Gatos, among other areas.
November 28, 2005 | Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
Among the tortoises -- out in their Mojave Desert kingdom of arroyos and burrows fringed with creosote -- the hormones were running high. Among them was an old male courting so many females that scientists dubbed him a "cad." An unusually cooperative female they called a "hussy." Then there was a bully who thrashed competitors, but was no stud, and a huge female who showed little interest in guys. Recent dawn-to-dusk observations have led U.S.
November 19, 2005 | Alex Raksin, Times Staff Writer
Scientists have identified a "fear" gene in mice that when removed turns them into daredevils, seemingly heedless to both inborn fears and risky situations that normal mice have learned to avoid through experience. The gene, known as stathmin, controls the production of a protein linked to the creation of long-term fear patterns, said Rutgers University geneticist Gleb Shumyatsky, who led the study, published Friday in the journal Cell.
November 8, 2005 | Scott Doggett
WILDLIFE officials are reminding Californians not to feed deer in the wake of three recent buck attacks, including a fatal assault on a San Diego man. According to Ryan Broddrick, director of the California Department of Fish and Game, this is the time of year bucks exhibit breeding behavior and become more aggressive. In San Diego County, a 73-year-old Rancho Santa Fe man died several weeks after he was gored in the mouth by a buck he surprised while working in his backyard.
October 1, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two female gorillas have been photographed using sticks as tools to get through swampy areas, the first time the apes have been seen doing so in the wild, researchers reported this week in the online journal Public Library of Science Biology. The findings can help shed light on how humans came to use tools, and also broaden the understanding of how animals use them, the researchers said.
September 24, 2005 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
A species of Amazonian ant has adopted a unique method of providing Lebensraum for its expanding colonies: It kills off all other species of vegetation in an area of forest to give its host trees the "living space" to expand. The ant's housing tracts, called "devil's gardens" by the region's human inhabitants, are curiosities amid the normal diversity of trees, vines, shrubs and wildflowers in the jungle. Biologist Deborah M.
August 13, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Satellite tracking has shown a polar bear swimming at least 46 miles in just one day, the first conclusive proof that the bears can cover such distances in the water. The collared bear entered the water from the east side of the Norwegian Arctic island of Spitsbergen early July 20, swam northeast and reemerged on Edgeoya island July 21, the Norwegian Polar Institute reported Friday.
August 9, 2005 | Lomi Kriel, Times Staff Writer
A 195-pound sea lion was recovering Monday after swimming nearly five miles up the San Diego Creek channel, reaching the unlikely destination of the Irvine Civic Center before calling it a day. The mammal, a 3- or 4-year-old female dubbed Irvine, was expected to be released back into the ocean Wednesday after resting at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.
July 30, 2005 | Rosie Mestel, Times Staff Writer
The mating of flies that lay maggots on blueberries with flies whose maggots prefer snowberries has created an evolutionary oddity: an emerging fly species whose maggots eat only honeysuckle. The discovery, published online Thursday in the journal Nature, was made by scientists at Pennsylvania State University working in the lab of entomologist Bruce McPheron.
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