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Everybody poops, but the poop of bloblike filter feeders called giant larvaceans could be laced with microplastics.
Every day, these gelatinous creatures (Bathochordaeus stygius) build giant disposable mucus mansions to round up zooplankton into their stomachs — sometimes sifting through around 80 liters of seawater per hour. Kakani Katija and her colleagues at the...
If you look at a map of the world, it’s easy to think that the vast oceans would be effective barriers to the movement of land animals. And while an elephant can’t swim across the Pacific, it turns out that plenty of plants and animals — and even people — have unintentionally floated across oceans from one continent to another. Now comes evidence that tiny, sedentary trapdoor spiders made such...
Maybe it’s more than reptile fashion. The high percentage of citified sea snakes wearing black might be a sign that pollution is an evolutionary force.
Off the coasts of Australia and New Caledonia, some turtle-headed sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus) sport pale bands on their dark skins. Others go all black. In 15 places surveyed, the all-black form was more likely to predominate in...
Many accounts of solar eclipses include tales of animals behaving strangely: Birds fall silent. Bees return to the hive.
“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence for how animals and even plants respond to totality,” when the moon completely blocks the sun, says Elise Ricard, spokesperson for an eclipse project called Life Responds at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. “But...
Speed has its limits — on the open road and the Serengeti. Midsize animals tend to be the speedsters, even though, in theory, the biggest animals should be the fastest. A new analysis that relates speed and body size in 474 species shows that the pattern holds for animals whether they run, fly or swim (see graphs below) and suggests how size becomes a liability.
This relationship between...
In deciding on a cover image for this issue, the Science News team had a difficult choice to make: Do we print a picture of a tick that reminds readers how much we all despise these critters? Or, do we go with a closeup view that masks ticks’ revolting character and makes you wonder: “Ooh. What’s that?” We chose to highlight hostilities to match the story headline, “Bulletins from the tick...
Letters to the Editor
Suck it up08/09/2017 - 11:31 Animals, Neuroscience, Physics
Tubelip wrasses’ slimy lips help the fish suck up dinner from coral reefs, Helen Thompson reported in “The better to eat you with, my dear” (SN: 7/8/17 & 7/22/17, p. 44).
“How do wrasses ‘suck’ if they have no lungs?” asked reader John Coventry.
Suction-feeding fish let their mouths do all the work, says marine biologist David Bellwood. “In just the same way that we...
Thanks, Holly Gaff. Soon, anyone straining to tweeze off a mid-back tick can find answers to the obvious question: What if humankind just went after the little bloodsuckers with killer robots?
Gaff, who calls herself a mathematical ecoepidemiologist, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., is one of the few people collecting real field data on the efficacy of tick-slaying robots....
A round belly, stubby feet and a tapering tail made one armored reptile a lousy swimmer. Despite earlier reports, Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi might not have swum at all, scientists now say.
E. dalsassoi was first identified in 2003. Fossils were found near Monte San Giorgio at the Swiss-Italian border alongside the remains of marine reptiles and fish that lived roughly 240 million years...
Some deep-sea tube worms get long in the tooth ... er, tube. Living several decades longer than its shallow-water relatives, Escarpia laminata has the longest known life span for a tube worm, aging beyond 300 years, researchers report in the August Science of Nature.
E. laminata lives 1,000 to 3,300 meters deep in the Gulf of Mexico, near seafloor vents that seep energy-rich compounds...