A new species of hermit crab discovered in the shallow waters of southern Japan has been enjoying the perks of living like a peanut worm. Like the worms, the 7- to 8-millimeter-long hermit crab uses corals as a covering, researchers report September 20 in PLOS ONE.
Other kinds of hermit crabs live in coral reefs, but typically move in and out of a series of mollusk shells as the crabs...
When nocturnal aardvarks start sunbathing, something’s wrong.
If the animals are desperate enough to bask like some cold, sluggish turtle, it’s because they’ve got the chills. Robyn Hetem, an ecophysiologist, has the body temperature data to prove it — collected from late 2012 into 2013, the hottest summer the arid Kalahari region in South Africa had seen in more than 30 years.
Earthworms are great for soil, right? Well, not always. In places where there have been no earthworms for thousands of years, foreign worms can wreak havoc on soils. And that can cause a cascade of problems throughout an area’s food web. Now comes evidence that invader worms in the Upper Great Lakes may be stressing the region’s sugar maples.
There are native earthworms in North America...
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...
Anyone who’s had a sandwich stolen out of their hands by a gull at the beach knows firsthand how bold and aggressive these birds can be in their quest for food. But there are gulls that do far worse than steal your sandwich.
The absolute worst might be the kelp gulls that pick at the skin and blubber on the backs of Southern right whales off the coast of Argentina. The wounds caused by...
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Humpback whales, those innovative foodies, have discovered their own pop-up restaurants.
Migrant humpbacks returning to southeastern Alaska in spring are the first of their kind known to make routine visits to fish hatcheries releasing young salmon into the sea, says marine ecologist Ellen Chenoweth.
The whales are “40 feet long and they’re feeding on fish that...
BOSTON — If kelp growing in an underwater forest makes a sound, such noises could be used to keep tabs on ocean health.
Listening to how projected sound reverberates through kelp beds allows scientists to eavesdrop on environmental factors such as water temperature and photosynthetic activity, bioacoustician Jean-Pierre Hermand reported June 28 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of...
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Like 1980s hair bands, male cockatoos woo females with flamboyant tresses and killer drum solos.
Male palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) in northern Australia refashion sticks and seedpods into tools that the animals use to bang against trees as part of an elaborate visual and auditory display designed to seduce females. These beats aren’t random, but truly...
More than a million wildebeests migrate each year from Tanzania to Kenya and back again, following the rains and abundant grass that springs up afterward. Their path takes them across the Mara River, and some of the crossings are so dangerous that hundreds or thousands of wildebeests drown as they try to traverse the waterway.
Those animals provide a brief, free buffet for crocodiles and...
Earth’s dry regions have more trees than once thought — a hopeful note in the fight against climate change.
An analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery reveals that drylands globally have 40 to 47 percent more tree cover (an extra 467 million hectares) than reported in earlier estimates. An international team of researchers used Google Earth and Collect Earth, a program developed by...