Under normal light, the South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) sports a muted palette of greens, yellows and reds. But dim the lights and switch on ultraviolet illumination, and this little amphibian gives off a bright blue and green glow.
Vultures are in trouble. Worldwide, 73 percent of vulture species are endangered or near threatened with extinction; only six of 22 species aren’t threatened. The problem is particularly bad in Africa and on the Indian subcontinent, where the birds are mostly killed by poisons and a veterinary anti-inflammatory drug used on livestock, finds a new study in the journal Biological Conservation by Evan Buechley and Çağan Şekercioğlu of the University of Utah.
The prospect of losing the unattractive, bald-headed carrion-eaters may not seem alarming for humans, but it is.
Madagascar is home to many unique and threatened mammals, such as lemurs and small hedgehog-like creatures called tenrecs. Most people wouldn’t think of consuming one of these animals, but for many in Madagascar, bushmeat is on the menu. Scientists assumed that people turned to wild meat just to survive, but two new studies that examine the entire supply chain for this meat have found that consumption of wild mammals in Madagascar is common and far more open a practice than anyone had suspected.Read the full article in Smithsonian.
By cadging a free ride for their offspring, female workers may boost their chances of passing on their genes
Cooperative insects like bees and wasps all pitch in for the good of the hive, raising the queen’s offspring without a thought toward producing their own, right? Not so fast—in the common wasp, about one percent of workers defect from their own hives to lay eggs in a foreign one.
It’s a low-down, dirty cheat. A newly discovered Japanese plant spends most of its life hidden underground and steals nutrients from fungi rather than getting its energy from the sun.
Baby giraffes have got some cheek. They seem to use stealth to steal milk from giraffes that are not their mothers, at least in zoos.
About 40 per cent of their suckling is from non-mothers, which is the highest rate recorded in any non-domesticated mammal. This is unexpected since milk is costly to produce, so a mother is expected to save it for her own offspring. So what is going on?
The West Indian fuzzy chiton, a small marine mollusc, lives a sheltered life protected by its tough armoured shell.
Like a knight peering over the battlements of a castle, it can see the world without venturing out of its fortress – using hundreds of tiny rock-hard eyes embedded in its shell.
Quick – can you tell where north is? Animals as diverse as sea turtles, birds, worms, butterflies and wolves can, thanks to sensing Earth’s magnetic field.
But the magnet-sensing structures inside their cells that allow them to do this have evaded scientists – until now.
Two alpine bumblebee species, formerly picky eaters, are expanding their palates – by shortening their tongues.
As the climate warms, their homes near the peaks of the Rocky Mountains have fewer flowers than before. At Pennsylvania Mountain in Colorado, for example, the number of flowers the bees feed on has dropped by 60 per cent since the 1970s.