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  • March 11, 2017
  • 04:45 PM
  • 146 views

Badass females are unpopular among praying mantids

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll One of the most iconic representations of praying mantids is that of a female eating the male after (or during) sex, an unpleasant scenario that starts with a beheading before the poor male even finishes his … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 8, 2017
  • 05:36 AM
  • 217 views

Sex, alcohol, and structural variants in fission yeast

by Christophe Dessimoz in Open Reading Frame

Our latest study just came out (Jeffares et al., Nature Comm 2017). In it, we carefully catalogued high-confidence structural variants among all known strains of the fission yeast population, and assessed their impact on spore viability, winemaking and other traits. This post gives a summary and the story behind the paper.

Structural variants (SVs) measure genetic variation beyond single nucleotide changes …

Next generation sequencing is enabling the study of genomic diversity on unprec........ Read more »

Jeffares, D., Jolly, C., Hoti, M., Speed, D., Shaw, L., Rallis, C., Balloux, F., Dessimoz, C., Bähler, J., & Sedlazeck, F. (2017) Transient structural variations have strong effects on quantitative traits and reproductive isolation in fission yeast. Nature Communications, 14061. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14061  

Jeffares, D., Rallis, C., Rieux, A., Speed, D., Převorovský, M., Mourier, T., Marsellach, F., Iqbal, Z., Lau, W., Cheng, T.... (2015) The genomic and phenotypic diversity of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nature Genetics, 47(3), 235-241. DOI: 10.1038/ng.3215  

  • December 18, 2016
  • 05:45 AM
  • 447 views

Fusion and sex in protocells & the start of evolution

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

In 1864, five years after reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Pyotr Kropotkin — the anarchist prince of mutual aid — was leading a geographic survey expedition aboard a dog-sleigh — a distinctly Siberian variant of the HMS Beagle. In the harsh Manchurian climate, Kropotkin did not see competition ‘red in tooth and claw’, […]... Read more »

Sinai, S, Olejarz, J, Neagu, IA, & Nowak, MA. (2016) Primordial Sex Facilitates the Emergence of Evolution. arXiv. arXiv: 1612.00825v1

  • October 25, 2016
  • 07:35 PM
  • 402 views

Why do polar bears mock battle? and other facts about polar bear reproduction

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »

Fitzgerald KT. (2013) Polar bears: the fate of an icon. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(4), 135-42. PMID: 24331553  

  • October 16, 2016
  • 08:58 PM
  • 419 views

Call me: female zebra finches prefer their mate’s call

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »

  • September 27, 2016
  • 03:09 PM
  • 415 views

Sex changes in nature

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

We might think of animal mating being as simple as 1 male and 1 female, like on Noah's Ark. But many types of fish undergo sex changes throughout their lives. My goal is to open people's eyes to the diversity among sex in animals.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 06:17 PM
  • 533 views

Girls only, literally: global warming and sea turtle sex ratios

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

The sex of sea turtle offspring is largely dependent on temperature, and global warming could lead to problems where populations are mostly/all female. However, sea turtles have a trick up their sleeve (in their shells?) that may make them more resilient to the effects of global warming than previously thought.... Read more »

  • August 30, 2016
  • 05:48 PM
  • 382 views

How to Live a Life with More Positive Than Negative Feelings?

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Decision-making is the cognitive process of choosing a preferred option from among a set of options (Wilson and Keil 2001). Decision-making is present through every aspect of life, and making good decisions for every important occasion during lifetime is a human being’s constant endeavor (Garnham 2016). Historically, religion and philosophy have been the only domains […]... Read more »

  • August 30, 2016
  • 03:55 PM
  • 473 views

Like mother, like daughter: why some animals teach their daughters more than they teach their sons

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why do some learned behaviors appear more frequently in daughters than in sons? I describe an article that attempts to answer this question by looking at dolphins, and briefly, chimpanzees.... Read more »

  • August 17, 2016
  • 08:03 PM
  • 515 views

It takes a village to raise a capybara

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Capybaras have been making headlines recently. First, they may have established a breeding population in Florida. Then, they took over the Olympic golf course in Rio (part of their natural habitat). This week, I discuss social groupings and parental care in these noteworthy rodents. ... Read more »

Dos Santos E, Tokumaru RS, Nogueira-Filho SL, & Nogueira SS. (2014) The effects of unrelated offspring whistle calls on capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). Brazilian journal of biology , 74(3 Suppl 1). PMID: 25627382  

  • August 10, 2016
  • 11:05 PM
  • 494 views

Size of female-built nests affects how males act

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Last week, I discussed how male quality in birds may be related to their song. How do males evaluate females in return? The answer may lie in their nests.... Read more »

  • August 3, 2016
  • 05:50 PM
  • 520 views

Chicks dig musicians, or, birdsong and male quality

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Ah, music. Many people are profoundly affected by it, and so are birds. In fact, research by Byers et al. in the August 2016 issue of Ethology suggests that female prairie warblers can gain valuable information about a male through that male’s song, and use this information to decide whether to mate.... Read more »

Byers, B., Akresh, M., & King, D. (2016) Song and Male Quality in Prairie Warblers. Ethology, 122(8), 660-670. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12513  

  • August 2, 2016
  • 08:07 PM
  • 567 views

Gender Conflict: Who’s the man in the relationship?

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Everyone with some sort of knowledge on evolution have heard of sexual conflict, how males and females have different interests during reproduction, and sexual selection, i.e., how one sex can influence the evolution of the other. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Janicke, T., Marie-Orleach, L., De Mulder, K., Berezikov, E., Ladurner, P., Vizoso, D., & Schärer, L. (2013) SEX ALLOCATION ADJUSTMENT TO MATING GROUP SIZE IN A SIMULTANEOUS HERMAPHRODITE. Evolution, 67(11), 3233-3242. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12189  

Leonard, J. (1990) The Hermaphrodite's Dilemma. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 147(3), 361-371. DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5193(05)80493-X  

Schärer, L., Littlewood, D., Waeschenbach, A., Yoshida, W., & Vizoso, D. (2011) Mating behavior and the evolution of sperm design. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(4), 1490-1495. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013892108  

Schärer, L., Janicke, T., & Ramm, S. (2015) Sexual Conflict in Hermaphrodites. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 7(1). DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a017673  

  • July 29, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 650 views

Friday Fellow: Cute bee fly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Recently the appearance of a new pokémon, Cutiefly, has brought a lot of attention to the real world species in which it is based. So why not bring it to Friday Fellow so that you may … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 25, 2016
  • 09:04 PM
  • 551 views

Wave that claw: how male crabs attract mates

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Male Ilyoplax pusilla crabs wave their claws in the air to attract females, but why do different-sized males spend different amounts of time waving? The answer lies in research published this year. ... Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 566 views

Eggs can develop without being fertilized in this sturgeon… but they don’t survive

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Parthenogenesis is the development of eggs without fertilization. For the first time, it has been shown to occur in the sterlet sturgeon. ... Read more »

  • July 13, 2016
  • 08:45 AM
  • 650 views

The Perils of Plant Monogamy

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The philodendron that raises its temperature to attract a certain beetle is an exception. Most plants invite many different pollinators, but a few have only a single pollinator species. This leads to some interesting adaptations and some even funkier smells.... Read more »

  • July 11, 2016
  • 12:48 PM
  • 535 views

Size matters (for both sexes of seahorses)

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

This week's article is about research on whether male seahorses contribute to the size of their offspring. Seahorses are unique in that the young develops in the male's specialized pouch.... Read more »

Faleiro F, Almeida AJ, Ré P, & Narciso L. (2016) Size does matter: An assessment of reproductive potential in seahorses. Animal Reproduction Science, 61-7. PMID: 27062576  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 02:44 PM
  • 626 views

Biological fight: kites, mites, quite bright plights

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A recently described fossil from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte in the United Kingdom has called much attention. The appearance of the creature was build by scanning the rock and creating a 3D reconstruction of the fossil. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Briggs, D., Siveter, D., Siveter, D., Sutton, M., & Legg, D. (2016) Tiny individuals attached to a new Silurian arthropod suggest a unique mode of brood care. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(16), 4410-4415. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1600489113  

Briggs, D., Siveter, D., Siveter, D., Sutton, M., & Legg, D. (2016) Reply to Piper: Aquilonifer’s kites are not mites . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(24). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606265113  

  • July 6, 2016
  • 08:45 AM
  • 701 views

Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just My Philodendron?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It is usually animals that are referred to as endotherms or ectotherms – plants can’t regulate their temperature, right? Don’t tell that to a certain philodendron that can spike the temperature of its flowers to more than 113˚F on two nights of the year, just to attract the beetles that will pollinate it.... Read more »

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