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  • News in Brief

    Young emperor penguins brave icy, winter waters in their first year

    Only months after their first ocean swim, young emperor penguins are braving Antarctica’s treacherous winter seas. GPS trackers strapped to 15 young penguins showed the birds venturing north to warmer waters beyond Antarctica’s pack ice in December 2013, and returning a few months later as the waters chilled.

    That finding surprised some scientists, who thought the inexperienced juveniles...

    01/23/2019 - 17:07 Animals, Oceans
  • News

    A CRISPR gene drive for mice is one step closer to reality

    Scientists are getting closer to creating a genetic pest-control measure against rodents.

    Female mice engineered to carry a genetic cut-and-paste machine called a gene drive may be able to pass a particular version of one gene on to more than 80 percent of their offspring, researchers report January 23 in Nature. That rate would beat the usual 50 percent chance of handing down a gene...

    01/23/2019 - 13:17 Genetics, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Cryptic remains of tiny animals have turned up in an Antarctic lake

    Much to their surprise, scientists in Antarctica have uncovered what appear to be remnants of tiny animals in mud dredged from a lake that has been covered by a thick mantle of ice for thousands of years.

    The researchers on this expedition — known as the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access, or SALSA — are the first to sample Lake Mercer, a body of water about 600 kilometers from...

    01/18/2019 - 17:35 Animals, Paleontology
  • Science Visualized

    This honeybee parasite may be more of a fat stealer than a bloodsucker

    Tests with fake bee larvae reveal that a “vampire” mite attacking honeybees may not be so much a bloodsucker as a fat slurper.

    The ominously named Varroa destructor mite invaded North America in the 1980s, and has become one of the biggest threats to honeybees. Based on research from the 1970s, scientists thought that the parasitic mites feed on the bee version of blood, called hemolymph...

    01/18/2019 - 13:15 Animals, Agriculture
  • News

    This rediscovered Bolivian frog species survived deadly chytrid fungus

    Save for one “lonely” survivor in captivity, the Sehuencas water frog hadn’t been seen in the wild since 2008. That’s when its numbers collapsed, primarily due to chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease that has devastated frog populations worldwide. Fearing the species might be extinct, some scientists spent 10 years searching the Bolivian mountain forests for the amphibians. Now, they’ve found a...

    01/17/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Conservation
  • News

    Bacterial compounds may be as good as DEET at repelling mosquitoes

    Molecules made by bacteria keep mosquitoes at bay. The compounds are a newfound potential stand-in for DEET, a ubiquitous chemical used in most commercially available mosquito repellents in the United States.

    In lab tests, the molecules were as effective as DEET in stopping Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can carry Zika, dengue and yellow fever, from snacking on artificial blood,...

    01/16/2019 - 14:18 Animals, Health
  • News

    How worm blobs behave like a liquid and a solid

    TAMPA, Fla. — Blobs of worms flow like a fluid, plop like a solid and fascinate scientists.

    A worm by itself is as solid as any other living animal. But a mass of aquatic California blackworms tangled together flows through a tube like a liquid. Pouring, heating and otherwise playing with blobs of worms shows that a tangled mass of them has properties of both fluids and solids, Saad...

    01/11/2019 - 13:11 Animals, Biophysics
  • News

    Poison toilet paper reveals how termites help rainforests resist drought

    It took hundreds of teabags and thousands of rolls of toilet paper for tropical ecologist Kate Parr and her colleagues to demonstrate that termites help tropical rainforests resist drought. Forests with more termites show more soil moisture, leaf litter decomposition and seedling survival during a drought than forests with fewer termites, the scientists report January 10 in Science.

    The...

    01/10/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Ecosystems
  • 50 years ago, scientists studied orcas in the wild for the first time

    The astonishing capture [of seven orcas off British Columbia] has made possible the first scientific study of killer whales in their more or less natural environment…. There is little doubt that the animals have a sophisticated language with which they can communicate with each other, but practically nothing is known about the complexity of their speech. — Science News, January 18,...
    01/10/2019 - 08:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    A protein in mosquito eggshells could be the insects’ Achilles’ heel

    Mosquito researchers may have hatched a new plan to control the bloodsuckers: Break their eggshells.

    A protein called eggshell organizing factor 1, or EOF1, is necessary for some mosquito species’ eggs and embryos to develop properly, a new study finds. Genetically disrupting production of that protein in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes caused about 60 percent of their normally dark eggshells...

    01/08/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Genetics, Development