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E.g., 11/21/2017
E.g., 11/21/2017
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  • News in Brief

    Even a tiny oil spill spells bad news for birds

    MINNEAPOLIS — Birds don’t need to be drenched in crude oil to be harmed by spills and leaks.

    Ingesting even small amounts of oil can interfere with the animals’ normal behavior, researchers reported November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America. Birds can take in these smaller doses by preening slightly greasy feathers or eating...

    11/21/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Pollution
  • News in Brief

    The key to breaking down plastic may be in caterpillars’ guts

    MINNEAPOLIS — To destroy plastic, caterpillars go with their gut bacteria.

    Caterpillars that nibble through polyethylene plastic cultivate a diverse community of digestive bacteria that process the plastic, researchers reported November 13 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America. Dousing old plastic in a similar mix of bacteria might...

    11/17/2017 - 13:12 Animals, Pollution
  • Science Visualized

    Fluorescence could help diagnose sick corals

    Sickness makes some corals lose their glow.

    Disease reduces a coral’s overall fluorescence even before any sign of the infection is visible to the naked eye, a new study finds. An imaging technique that illuminates the change could help with efforts to better monitor coral health, researchers report November 6 in Scientific Reports.

    Many corals naturally produce fluorescent...

    11/17/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Technology, Conservation
  • Wild Things

    Coconut crabs are a bird’s worst nightmare

    Imagine you’re a red-footed booby napping on a not-quite-high-enough branch of a tree. It’s nighttime on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and you can’t see much of what’s around you. Then, out of the darkness comes a monster. Its claw grabs you, breaking bones and dragging you to the ground. You don’t realize it yet, but you’re doomed. The creature breaks more of your bones. You...

    11/15/2017 - 07:00 Animals
  • News

    These spiders may have the world’s fastest body clocks

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — If it takes you a while to recover from a few lost hours of sleep, be grateful you aren’t an orb weaver. 

    Three orb-weaving spiders — Allocyclosa bifurca, Cyclosa turbinata and Gasteracantha cancriformis — may have the shortest natural circadian rhythms discovered in an animal thus far, researchers reported November 12 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting...

    11/14/2017 - 16:00 Animals, Evolution, Development
  • Introducing

    The Lord Howe stick insect is officially back from the dead

    It’s a rare triumph when a species comes back from the dead. A new genetic analysis has officially established what many entomologists and conservation biologists hoped was true: The Lord Howe stick insect (Dryococelus australis) lives.

    Nicknamed “tree lobsters,” the dark-brown crawlers are nocturnal, flightless creatures that can grow up to 15 centimeters long. They feed on tea trees,...

    11/13/2017 - 12:30 Animals, Conservation, Evolution
  • News

    This deep-sea fish uses weird eyes to see in dark and light

    Light-sensitive cells in the eyes of some fish do double-duty. In pearlsides, cells that look like rods — the stars of low-light vision — actually act more like cones, which only respond to brighter light, researchers report November 8 in Science Advances. It’s probably an adaptation to give the deep-sea fish acute vision at dawn and dusk, when they come to the surface of the water to feed....

    11/09/2017 - 15:25 Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Crested pigeons sound the alarm with their wings

    Crested pigeons communicate without even opening their beaks. The birds have a built-in alarm system that’s set off by fluttering feathers when flying away from danger, researchers report November 9 in Current Biology.

    In animals, nonvocal sounds are not uncommon. “All animals produce sound as we move, even humans, and that sound can be useful to those that hear it,” says study coauthor...

    11/09/2017 - 13:28 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Honeybees fumble their way to blueberry pollination

    DENVER — Honeybees may be the world’s most famous pollinator, but a new study shows that blueberry blooms reduce the insects to improvisational klutzes. Not useless ones though.

    Pollination specialists have realized that the pollen haul found in hives of Apis mellifera honeybees has little, if any, from blueberry flowers, ecologist George Hoffman said November 5 at the Entomology 2017...

    11/09/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Plants, Agriculture
  • Science Ticker

    EPA OKs first living pest-control mosquito for use in United States

    In a big step toward catching up with the rest of the world, the United States cleared the way for using mosquitoes as a commercial pest control for the first time.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved using a strain of male Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) as a biopesticide in the District of Columbia and 20 states, including California and New York. Kentucky-...

    11/08/2017 - 18:58 Animals, Agriculture, Science & Society