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Your search has returned 2199 articles:
  • The Science Life

    A scientist used chalk in a box to show that bats use sunsets to migrate

    When it comes to migration science, birds rule. Although many mammals — antelopes, whales, bats — migrate, too, scientists know far less about how those animals do it. But a new device, invented by animal navigation researcher Oliver Lindecke, could open a new way to test how far-ranging bats find their way.

    Lindecke, of Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, has...

    04/19/2019 - 08:00 Animals
  • It's Alive

    Parenting chores cut into how much these bird dads fool around

    The extreme dads of the bird world do all the work raising chicks while females fight intruders. The result: Male black coucals don’t sleep around as much when busy parenting.

    On occasion, a male black coucal (Centropus grillii) slips over to another male’s nest to sire a chick. The demands of incubating eggs, however, reduce a male’s excursions about 17 percent, on average, compared...

    04/17/2019 - 08:00 Animals, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Testing mosquito pee could help track the spread of diseases

    There are no teensy cups. But a urine test for wild mosquitoes has for the first time proved it can give an early warning that local pests are spreading diseases.

    Mosquito traps remodeled with a pee-collecting card picked up telltale genetic traces of West Nile and two other worrisome viruses circulating in the wild, researchers in Australia report April 4 in the Journal of Medical...

    04/05/2019 - 08:00 Health, Genetics, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Cats recognize their own names

    Whether practical, dramatical or pragmatical, domestic cats appear to recognize the familiar sound of their own names and can distinguish them from other words, researchers report April 4 in Scientific Reports.

    While dog responses to human behavior and speech have received much attention (SN: 10/1/16, p. 11), researchers are just scratching the surface of human-cat interactions. Research...

    04/04/2019 - 09:00 Animals
  • News

    A major crop pest can make tomato plants lie to their neighbors

    Don’t blame the tomato. Tiny pests called silverleaf whiteflies can make a tomato plant spread deceptive scents that leave its neighbors vulnerable to attach.

    Sap-sucking Bemisia tabaci, an invasive menace to a wide range of crops, are definitely insects. Yet when they attack a tomato plant, prompting a silent shriek of scents, the plant starts smelling as if bacteria or fungi have...

    04/04/2019 - 06:00 Plants, Animals, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    Tiny pumpkin toadlets have glowing bony plates on their backs

    When a group of biologists realized that pumpkin toadlets had no middle ear bone, the team was stumped. That meant that these tiny, toxic frogs couldn’t hear each other’s high-pitched chirps, which is how most frogs attract mates. 

    “We scratched our heads about how they could communicate by other means,” says Sandra Goutte, an evolutionary biologist at New York University Abu Dhabi in...

    04/03/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    Watch a desert kangaroo rat drop-kick a rattlesnake

    The deserts of the southwestern United States may be the lair of secret ninja masters: desert kangaroo rats.

    Researchers armed with high-speed cameras have captured the complex maneuvers that the rodents (Dipodomys deserti) deploy to avoid deadly bites from sidewinder rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerastes). Two new studies, published online March 27 in Functional Ecology and the Biological...

    03/29/2019 - 13:54 Animals
  • News

    Chytrid’s frog-killing toll has been tallied — and it’s bad

    A skin fungus that has plagued frogs and toads worldwide now holds the title of being the world’s worst invasive killer, displacing cats and rodents. 

    The first global tally of the toll caused by a chytrid infection shows that it’s responsible for population declines in at least 500 amphibian species, including 90 presumed extinctions. And that’s a conservative estimate, scientists say....

    03/28/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Ecosystems
  • News in Brief

    Geneticists close in on how mosquitoes sniff out human sweat

    Geneticists have found a scent-sniffer protein molecule in mosquito antennae that — if somehow jammed — might leave a bloodsucker confused about whether we’re human enough to bite.

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can spread Zika and dengue, prefer human blood to the blood of other animals. A string of experiments now shows that a protein called IR8a, found in the insects’ antennae, is...

    03/28/2019 - 11:14 Animals
  • Feature

    Saber-toothed cats were fierce and family-oriented

    The adolescent saber-toothed cat on a summertime hunt realized too late that she had made a terrible miscalculation. 

    Already the size of a modern-day tiger, with huge canine teeth, she had crept across grassy terrain to ambush a giant ground sloth bellowing in distress. Ready to pounce, the cat’s front paw sank into sticky ground. Pressing down with her other three paws to free herself...

    03/24/2019 - 06:00 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution