Credit: Gabriel Lío
Researchers announced yesterday the discovery of a new dinosaur that although closely related to the carnivorous T-Rex it preferred to feed on plant material. The new lineage of dinosaur was discovered in Chile and has proven to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle.
Paleontologists are referring to the newly described species (... Read more »
Novas, F., Salgado, L., Suárez, M., Agnolín, F., Ezcurra, M., Chimento, N., de la Cruz, R., Isasi, M., Vargas, A., & Rubilar-Rogers, D. (2015) An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14307
A buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris
Buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) that have been infected by parasites seek out flowers with nicotine in their nectar, according to a new study by researchers at the Royal Holloway University of London and Queen Mary University of London, UK.
Apparently, the nicotine in the flowers slows the progression of disease in infected bees but has ... Read more »
Baracchi, D., Brown, M., & Chittka, L. (2015) Weak and contradictory effects of self-medication with nectar nicotine by parasitized bumblebees. F1000Research. DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.6262.1
To us humans, it seems extremely unnatural that other animals can reproduce without having sex. Yet with the passing of time, evolution has endowed females of several species of amphibians, insects, reptiles and fish the ability to asexually produce offsprings without "help" from males.
Now, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) say that in ... Read more »
Miyakawa MO, & Mikheyev AS. (2015) Males are here to stay: fertilization enhances viable egg production by clonal queens of the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata). Die Naturwissenschaften, 102(3-4), 15. PMID: 25801787
Species: Edwardsiella andrillae
Meet Edwardsiella andrillae, a recently discovered species of sea anemone that lives anchored to the underside of sea ice offshore of Antarctica.
The species was discovered in December 2010 during a test run of an ... Read more »
Daly, M., Rack, F., & Zook, R. (2013) Edwardsiella andrillae, a New Species of Sea Anemone from Antarctic Ice. PLoS ONE, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083476
From pink blind fish to mushroom shaped animals to flic-flac jumping spiders, here is a pick of the weirdest animals described in 2014.
1. Hoosier cavefish (Amblyopsis hoosieri)
A live specimen of A. hoosieri, measuring 6.07 cm (2.39 in) long.
The Hoosier cavefish (Amblyopsis hoosieri) is a subterranean blind fish from southern Indiana, U.S.
First discovered during a 2013 study on ... Read more »
Chakrabarty P, Prejean JA, & Niemiller ML. (2014) The Hoosier cavefish, a new and endangered species (Amblyopsidae, Amblyopsis) from the caves of southern Indiana. ZooKeys, 41-57. PMID: 24899861
Just J, Kristensen RM, & Olesen J. (2014) Dendrogramma, new genus, with two new non-bilaterian species from the marine bathyal of southeastern Australia (Animalia, Metazoa incertae sedis)--with similarities to some medusoids from the Precambrian Ediacara. PloS one, 9(9). PMID: 25184248
Hrbek T, da Silva VM, Dutra N, Gravena W, Martin AR, & Farias IP. (2014) A new species of river dolphin from Brazil or: how little do we know our biodiversity. PloS one, 9(1). PMID: 24465386
There are about 200 species of caecilians (pronounced ‘seh-SILL-yuns’) but it's highly unlikely you have or will ever encounter one. Why? Because they live underground, burrowing through loose soil and ground litter with their long, snake-like bodies.
Read on to learn 9 weird and interesting facts about these unusual creatures.
Bombay caecilian (Ichthyophis bombayensis)
Credit - Wikicommons... Read more »
Mohun, S., Davies, W., Bowmaker, J., Pisani, D., Himstedt, W., Gower, D., Hunt, D., & Wilkinson, M. (2010) Identification and characterization of visual pigments in caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona), an order of limbless vertebrates with rudimentary eyes. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(20), 3586-3592. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.045914
Kupfer, A., Müller, H., Antoniazzi, M., Jared, C., Greven, H., Nussbaum, R., & Wilkinson, M. (2006) Parental investment by skin feeding in a caecilian amphibian. Nature, 440(7086), 926-929. DOI: 10.1038/nature04403
Penis, the primary sexual organ that male and hermaphrodite animals use to inseminate sexually receptive mates (usually females and hermaphrodites respectively) during sex. Almost all species use some variation of the organ to transfer sperm into females' eggs in order to create more offsprings.
However, thanks to evolution, some species have come up with some really remarkable and weird ... Read more »
McCracken, K. (2000) The 20-cm Spiny Penis of the Argentine Lake Duck (Oxyura vittata). The Auk, 117(3), 820. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2000)117[0820:TCSPOT]2.0.CO;2
Sueur, J., Mackie, D., & Windmill, J. (2011) So Small, So Loud: Extremely High Sound Pressure Level from a Pygmy Aquatic Insect (Corixidae, Micronectinae). PLoS ONE, 6(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021089
Yoshizawa, K., Ferreira, R., Kamimura, Y., & Lienhard, C. (2014) Female Penis, Male Vagina, and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect. Current Biology, 24(9), 1006-1010. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.022
Engh, A., Van Horn, R., Szykman, M., Holekamp, K., & Boydston, E. (2007) Courtship and mating in free-living spotted hyenas. Behaviour, 144(7), 815-846. DOI: 10.1163/156853907781476418
Credit: Dorit Hockman from the University of Cambridge
This cute alien-like thing is actually a bat embryo of the species Molossus rufus, the black mastiff bat. Adorable, ain't it?
The photo was taken by Dorit Hockman from the University of Cambridge during a study on the species' embryonic development. It was one of the finalists in the Nikon Small World 2012 photomicrography ... Read more »
Nolte, M., Hockman, D., Cretekos, C., Behringer, R., & Rasweiler, J. (2009) Embryonic Staging System for the Black Mastiff Bat,(Molossidae), Correlated With Structure-Function Relationships in the Adult. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 292(2), 155-168. DOI: 10.1002/ar.20835
Credit: Dr. Devi Stuart Fox
A new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne suggests that Draco Cornutus, a species of gliding lizard from Borneo, mimicks the red and green colors of the falling leaves to avoid falling prey to birds whilst gliding.
According to the study, D. cornutus have evolved extendable gliding membranes, like wings, which closely match the ... Read more »
Klomp, D., Stuart-Fox, D., Das, I., & Ord, T. (2014) Marked colour divergence in the gliding membranes of a tropical lizard mirrors population differences in the colour of falling leaves. Biology Letters, 10(12), 20140776-20140776. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0776
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are known to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate with each other still remain a mystery.
A new study by Susan Parks, assistant professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with a consortium of other researchers examined the importance of specific auditory cues that these whales emit... Read more »
Parks SE, Cusano DA, Stimpert AK, Weinrich MT, Friedlaender AS, & Wiley DN. (2014) Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales. Scientific reports, 7508. PMID: 25512188
Pseudis paradoxa in a pond
Credit: Mauricio Rivera Correa
Species: Pseudis paradoxa
Common Name(s): Paradoxical frog or Shrinking frog
Conservation Status: Least Concern (Not Threatened)
Looks like a pretty much regular frog, doesn't it? Well.. it's not! Meet P. paradoxa, a frog that grows down ... Read more »
Abdel-Wahab YH, Power GJ, Ng MT, Flatt PR, & Conlon JM. (2008) Insulin-releasing properties of the frog skin peptide pseudin-2 and its [Lys18]-substituted analogue. Biological chemistry, 389(2), 143-8. PMID: 18163889
Arias, M., Peltzer, P., & Lajmanovich, R. (2002) Diet of the giant tadpole Pseudis paradoxa platensis (Anura, Pseudidae) from Argentina. Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 1(2), 97. DOI: 10.11606/issn.2316-9079.v1i2p97-100
Male Osedax priapus
The entire body of males has evolved as a tool for mating
Osedax is a genus of weird, deep-sea polychaetes worms, commonly known as boneworms, zombie worms, or bone-eating worms.
The story of these creatures began twelve years ago, when researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) first discovered them, using the submarine ROV Tiburon in ... Read more »
Rouse GW, Worsaae K, Johnson SB, Jones WJ, & Vrijenhoek RC. (2008) Acquisition of dwarf male "harems" by recently settled females of Osedax roseus n. sp. (Siboglinidae; Annelida). The Biological bulletin, 214(1), 67-82. PMID: 18258777
Vrijenhoek RC, Johnson SB, & Rouse GW. (2008) Bone-eating Osedax females and their 'harems' of dwarf males are recruited from a common larval pool. Molecular ecology, 17(20), 4535-44. PMID: 18986498
Pacific barreleye fish
By Isa2014 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Species: Macropinna microstoma
Common Name(s): Pacific barreleye
The Pacific barreleye fish is one the weirdest creatures lurking deep in the ocean. Named after its eyes that are ... Read more »
Robison, B., & Reisenbichler, K. (2008) Macropinna microstoma and the Paradox of Its Tubular Eyes. Copeia, 2008(4), 780-784. DOI: 10.1643/CG-07-082
The duck-billed platypis is one of the handful
mammals with the ability to sense electrical fields
By TwoWings, via Wikimedia Commons
Electroreception is the biological ability to perceive natural electrical stimuli or in simpler words, the ability to perceive the world via electricity.
Electroreception is quite common in aquatic or amphibious animals, since water is a much better conductor... Read more »
Czech-Damal NU, Liebschner A, Miersch L, Klauer G, Hanke FD, Marshall C, Dehnhardt G, & Hanke W. (2012) Electroreception in the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis). Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 279(1729), 663-8. PMID: 21795271
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus)A non-echolocating speciesCredit: MnolfContrary to what most people think, bats are not blind. The truth is that all one-thousand something bat species can see. Most people also think that since bats are blind they rely on their echolocation to get around. Again a mistake, since many bats don't possess echolocation.For example, most species of Megabats [Suborder: Megachiroptera] have to rely exclusively on their vision. Or that's what we thought up ........ Read more »
Boonman, A., Bumrungsri, S., & Yovel, Y. (2014) Nonecholocating Fruit Bats Produce Biosonar Clicks with Their Wings. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.077
Jewel WaspBy Muhammad Mahdi Karim (Own work) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: HymenopteraSuborder: ApocritaSuperfamily: ApoideaFamily: AmpulicidaeGenus: AmpulexSpecies: Ampulex compressaCommon Name(s): Emerald cockroach wasp or jewel waspThe Emerald cockroach wasp is best known for its unusual parasitoid reproductive behavior, which among other includes stinging and injecting a cockroach with mind controlling toxins and using its ........ Read more »
Haspel, G., Rosenberg, L., & Libersat, F. (2003) Direct injection of venom by a predatory wasp into cockroach brain. Journal of Neurobiology, 56(3), 287-292. DOI: 10.1002/neu.10238
Moore EL, Haspel G, Libersat F, & Adams ME. (2006) Parasitoid wasp sting: a cocktail of GABA, taurine, and beta-alanine opens chloride channels for central synaptic block and transient paralysis of a cockroach host. Journal of neurobiology, 66(8), 811-20. PMID: 16673394
Gal, R., & Libersat, F. (2010) A Wasp Manipulates Neuronal Activity in the Sub-Esophageal Ganglion to Decrease the Drive for Walking in Its Cockroach Prey. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010019
Banks, C., & Adams, M. (2012) Biogenic amines in the nervous system of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana following envenomation by the jewel wasp, Ampulex compressa. Toxicon, 59(2), 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.10.011
Bipalium kewenseNotice the distinctive hammer-like headBy Ajaykuyiloor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: PlatyhelminthesClass: TurbellariaOrder: TricladidaSuborder: ContinenticolaFamily: GeoplanidaeSubfamily: BipaliinaeGenus: BipaliumSpecies: Bipalium kewenseCommon Names: Hammerhead slug, Greenhouse PlanarianNicknamed as the "hammerhead slug" due to its half-moon shaped head, Bipalium kewense is not your ev........ Read more »
L. Winsor. (1981) The taxonomy, zoogeography and biology of Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878 (Tricladida, Terricola). Hydrobiologia, 84(1), 17-17. DOI: 10.1007/BF00026158
Yasuko Shirasawa . (1991) Pharyngeal regeneration in the land planarian Bipalium kewense. Hydrobiologia, 227(1), 57-57. DOI: 10.1007/BF00027581
Daly JJ, Farris HE Jr, & Matthews HM. (1976) Pseudoparasitism of dogs and cats by the land planarian, Bipalium kewense. Veterinary medicine, small animal clinician : VM, SAC, 71(11), 1540-2. PMID: 1049475
Stokes, A., Ducey, P., Neuman-Lee, L., Hanifin, C., French, S., Pfrender, M., Brodie, E., & Brodie Jr, E. (2014) Confirmation and Distribution of Tetrodotoxin for the First Time in Terrestrial Invertebrates: Two Terrestrial Flatworm Species (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense). PLoS ONE, 9(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100718
Someone's having a really bad day!In a study published a few days ago, researchers from the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa reported three incidents of fur seals (Aptenodytes patagonicus) sexually harassing and coercing with king penguins!The authors even took footage of the large mammals forcefully putting the birds to the ground and attempting to mate with them! The incidents took place at the sub-Antarctic Marion Island, on Goodhope Bay and Funk beach.The........ Read more »
de Bruyn, P., Tosh, C., & Bester, M. (2008) Sexual harassment of a king penguin by an Antarctic fur seal. Journal of Ethology, 26(2), 295-297. DOI: 10.1007/s10164-007-0073-9
Haddad, W., Reisinger, R., Scott, T., Bester, M., & de Bruyn, P. (2014) Multiple occurrences of king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) sexual harassment by Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella). Polar Biology. DOI: 10.1007/s00300-014-1618-3
Kiwa PuravidaCredit: Andrew ThurberKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaSubphylum: CrustaceaClass: MalacostracaOrder: DecapodaInfraorder: AnomuraFamily: KiwaidaeGenus: KiwaSpecies: Kiwa puravidaConservation Status: Not assessedCommon Name: Yeti crabMeet Kiwa puravida, a recently discovered deep-sea dwelling decapod and one of three species informally known as "yeti crabs". The other two are kiwa hirsuta and a creature commonly known as the "Hoff cr........ Read more »
Thurber, A., Jones, W., & Schnabel, K. (2011) Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab. PLoS ONE, 6(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026243
Roterman CN, Copley JT, Linse KT, Tyler PA, & Rogers AD. (2013) The biogeography of the yeti crabs (Kiwaidae) with notes on the phylogeny of the Chirostyloidea (Decapoda: Anomura). Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1764), 20130718. PMID: 23782878
Jorunna funebrisPhoto by © Mark Rosenstein [CC BY-NC-SA 3.0]Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: MolluscaClass: GastropodaSuperfamily: DoridoideaFamily: DiscodorididaeGenus: JorunnaSpecies: Jorunna funebrisCommon Name: Dotted nudibranch, Polka DotWhen I was writing my "14 Most Amazing Nudibranchs" post I had a really hard time choosing which species to include and which not.This animal group is very diverse and full of beautiful, alien-like or simply weir........ Read more »
Pattira Kasamesiri, Shettapong Meksumpun, and Charumas Meksumpun. (2012) Observations on Embryonic Development of Black-Spot Jorunna, Jorunna Funebris (Kelaart, 1859) (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) . Journal of Shellfish Research, 33(2), 111-117. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.2983/035.031.0114
Camacho-Garcia, Y., & Gosliner, T. (2008) Systematic revision of Jorunna Bergh, 1876 (Nudibranchia: Discodorididae) with a morphological phylogenetic analysis. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 74(2), 143-181. DOI: 10.1093/mollus/eyn002
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