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E.g., 06/28/2017
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  • Wild Things

    Drowned wildebeests can feed a river ecosystem for years

    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...

    06/27/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Science Stats

    Earth’s dry zones support a surprising number of trees

    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...

    06/26/2017 - 07:00 Ecology
  • Science Visualized

    Big slimy lips are the secret to this fish’s coral diet

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    Tubelip wrasses eat dangerously, daring to dine on sharp corals lined with stinging cells. New images reveal the fish’s secret to safe eating: lubing up and planting a big one on their dinner.

    “It is like sucking dew off a stinging nettle. A thick layer of grease may help,” says David Bellwood, a marine biologist at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, who...

    06/05/2017 - 17:50 Animals, Ecology
  • Science Ticker

    Higher temperatures could trigger an uptick in damselfly cannibalism

    A warmer climate could put some damselflies in distress, as others get bigger and hungrier.

    Because of differences in hatching time, nymphs — the immature form of the insects — vary in size. Sometimes when ponds are overcrowded, other food options are scarce or size differences are significant, bigger, older nymphs nosh on the little nymphs. While temperature doesn’t typically affect...

    05/16/2017 - 19:05 Climate, Animals, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    Watch male cuttlefish fight over a female in the wild

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    The Bro Code apparently does not exist among wild cuttlefish. The first field video of male European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) getting physical over a female shows that they are not above stealing another guy’s girl.

    Cuttlefish, cephalopods known for their ability to alter their skin color, have complex and competitive courtship rituals. While scientists have...

    05/12/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Seabirds use preening to decide how to divvy up parenting duties

    Seabirds called common murres appear to use preening as a way to negotiate whose turn it is to watch their chick and who must find food. And when one parent is feeling foul, irregularities in this grooming ritual may send the other a signal that all is not well, researchers report in the July issue of The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

    “The fascinating part of this study is the inference...

    05/09/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Mystery Solved

    Hawk moths convert nectar into antioxidants

    Hawk moths have a sweet solution to muscle damage.

    Manduca sexta moths dine solely on nectar, but the sugary liquid does more than fuel their bodies. The insects convert some of the sugars into antioxidants that protect the moths’ hardworking muscles, researchers report in the Feb. 17 Science.

    When animals expend a lot of energy, like hawk moths do as they rapidly beat their wings...

    04/17/2017 - 07:00 Ecology, Microbiology
  • Introducing

    New worm-snail is a super slimer

    A new species of worm-snail is rather snotty. Thylacodes vandyensis shoots out strands of mucus that tangle together, building a spiderweb-like trap for plankton and other floating snacks, researchers report April 5 in PeerJ.

    Other worm-snails use this hunting technique, but T. vandyensis stands out because of the “copious amounts of mucus” it ejects, says coauthor Rüdiger Bieler. This...

    04/13/2017 - 10:30 Animals, Ecology, Oceans
  • Science Ticker

    Volcanic eruptions nearly snuffed out Gentoo penguin colony

    Penguins have been pooping on Ardley Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula for a long, long time. The population there is one of the biggest and oldest Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) colonies. But evidence from ancient excrement suggests that these animals didn’t always flourish.

    The Gentoo colony on Ardley Island continues to grow in comparison to other Antarctic penguin...

    04/12/2017 - 14:00 Ecology, Animals, Earth
  • News in Brief

    Volcanic eruptions nearly snuffed out Gentoo penguin colony

    Penguins have been pooping on Ardley Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula for a long, long time. The population there is one of the biggest and oldest Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) colonies. But evidence from ancient excrement suggests that these animals didn’t always flourish.

    Stephen Roberts of the British Antarctic Survey and colleagues set out to see how the Ardley...

    04/12/2017 - 14:00 Ecology, Animals, Earth