September 11, 2013 |
The outsiders arrive at a stranger's home with lethal chemical weapons, eat the host's food, kill its children and mutilate the adult females. And yet the host, the Costa Rican ant Sericomyrmex amabilis, is pretty simpatico with the arrangement: It goes along, gets along and survives over the long haul. There has to be something in the deal for the rather wimpy fungus-rearing host ant, which doesn't have much of a venom and often quits the battlefield by playing dead. Evolutionary biologist Rachelle M.M. Adams of the University of Copenhagen believes she knows what makes this social parasitism mutually beneficial.
September 3, 2013 |
Tiny frogs that have no middle ear use their mouths to hear, French scientists say. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the almighty eardrum may not be vertebrates' only solution for picking up sound. Gardiner's Seychelles frogs, known formally as Sechellophryne gardineri , are some of the tiniest amphibians to crawl the Earth, growing to a maximum 11 millimeters long. They and a few other species have evolved in isolation over the last 47 million to 65 million years, and aside from their extreme smallness, the frogs are known for being 'earless' -- they lack a middle ear or an eardrum.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 2, 2013 |
WALKER, Calif. - State fisheries biologist Dave Lentz poured poison into a remote High Sierra stream and watched quietly as every rainbow and golden trout in the water turned belly up. After the rotenone spread along 11 miles of Silver King Creek last Wednesday, other biologists poured in a neutralizing agent, making the river again habitable - and a suitable home for the rarest trout in the world. Kneeling beside a small brass spigot that dripped the milky white toxin into a pool edged with alders, Lentz, a conservation coordinator for native trout with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, smiled and said, "Looks like everything is working as intended.
August 27, 2013 |
Cameroon, located on the west coast of Africa between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, is a nation of unparalleled beauty and biological diversity. Mt. Cameroon, in the west, is one of Africa's largest volcanoes, reaching 13,255 feet; in the north of the country, savanna and semi-desert extend to Lake Chad; and in the south, lush tropical rain forests form the northwestern boundary of the Congo basin. Similar in size to California, Cameroon is one of the most biodiverse countries in Africa, home to more than 900 species of birds and 300 species of mammals (including more than 29 primate species)
August 20, 2013 |
Quarterbacks are the most protected players in the NFL. The league revolves around them. Running backs are the least protected players. Even helmet-to-helmet hits are legal against them. In a read-option offense, a scheme rapidly gaining popularity in the league, a quarterback often looks like a running back, whether he actually has the ball or is simply pretending to hold it. So what happens when an irresistible force - a defensive player hellbent on taking a free shot at the quarterback - meets an otherwise untouchable object?
August 9, 2013 |
Popeye the Sailor Man wouldn't hurt a fly - at least, not this one. Scientists reported earlier this week in the journal Zootaxa that they had discovered six new species of “Popeye flies” on the islands of Tahiti. The insects are distinguished by their bulging middle legs, which resemble Popeye's buff forearms (no tattoos are visible on the bugs, however). They're also one of the most diverse groups of insects in Tahiti. The yellowish flies, in the genus Campsicnemus (Latin for “bent legs”)
August 6, 2013 |
Feared and despised by California's $43.5-billion agricultural industry, the Mediterranean fruit fly is seen as a potentially devastating foreign invader who routinely hitchhikes across the border in smuggled fruit. But a new study argues that the infamous Medfly has established permanent residence in the Golden State - even after decades of diligent spraying, trapping and biological attacks by state officials, who say they have eradicated the pest. "The invasion is complete and it's irreversible," said study coauthor James Carey, an entomologist at UC Davis.
July 26, 2013 |
Half zebra and half donkey, the fuzzy little zonkey named Ippo was born one week ago on an animal reserve near Florence, Italy. The zonkey is not the brainchild of some deranged Dr. Moreau-like figure trying to put two animals of a different species together, but rather is the product of good old-fashioned natural lust. In an interview with the Italian news channel RTV38 (which you can see above), a member of the family that owns the reserve described a romantic love affair between a female donkey and a male zebra that was adopted after it was confiscated from a failing zoo. The zebra probably jumped the metal fence that separated the two animals to mate with the neighboring donkey.
July 22, 2013 |
Removing just one species of bee from fields can make the remaining species less faithful to flowers, significantly lowering the pollination chances of plants, a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests. The research, conducted in subalpine meadows in the Rocky Mountains, appears to upend conventional wisdom that one pollinator is as good as another and fields won't suffer from the loss of a species. Ecologists were examining the notion of floral fidelity - the propensity of bumble bee species to be true to one source of nectar, in this case, the larkspur.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 21, 2013 |
SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND - The unique wildlife of San Clemente Island has survived the appetites and hooves of feral livestock, bombardments by Navy vessels and wave after wave of amphibious assault vehicles storming local beaches and grassy plateaus. The operative word is "survived. " Through it all, native species clung to life on the 57-square-mile volcanic isle about 75 miles northwest of San Diego that includes the only ship-to-shore bombardment training range in the United States.