Posts

October 31, 2014

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11:53 AM | Biologically Accurate Halloween Cards
      Earlier: Biologically Accurate Valentines. Spider-tailed horned viper photo by Omid Mozaffari (video and more information here). Crab spider photo by Lynette Schimming (via Flickr). Big brown bat photo by Matt Reinbold (via Flickr).The post Biologically Accurate Halloween Cards appeared first on Inkfish.

October 30, 2014

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1:57 PM | Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes
When a new developer comes to town and starts aggressively building up the empty property around your home, you can get mad—or you can move in. That’s what tiny crustaceans in the Georgia mudflats have done. Facing an invasive Japanese seaweed, they’ve discovered that it makes excellent shelter, protecting them from all kinds of threats. […]The post Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes appeared first on Inkfish.

Wright, J., Byers, J., DeVore, J. & Sotka, E. (2014). Engineering or food? mechanisms of facilitation by a habitat-forming invasive seaweed, Ecology, 95 (10) 2699-2706. DOI: 10.1890/14-0127.1

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October 28, 2014

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1:51 PM | Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly
Scientists love the data they get by attaching electronic tags to animals, but these devices can be a literal drag. For animals that fly or swim, tags can mess up their mechanics and force them to spend more energy. That’s what scientists expected to see when they studied dolphins with data loggers suction-cupped to their […]The post Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly appeared first on Inkfish.

van der Hoop JM, Fahlman A, Hurst T, Rocho-Levine J, Shorter KA, Petrov V & Moore MJ (2014). Bottlenose dolphins modify behavior to reduce metabolic effect of tag attachment., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25324344

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October 24, 2014

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5:14 PM | Fish Want to Play Too
Yes, fish. These aquarium lap-swimmers and pursuers of flaked food aren’t known for their joie de vivre. Yet in one hobbyist’s tanks, scientists say they’ve captured a rare instance of fish playing around. James Murphy is a herpetologist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Although he professionally studies reptiles and amphibians, he keeps fish as […]The post Fish Want to Play Too appeared first on Inkfish.

Burghardt, G., Dinets, V. & Murphy, J. (2014). Highly Repetitive Object Play in a Cichlid Fish (Tropheus duboisi). , Ethology, DOI: 10.1111/eth.12312

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October 17, 2014

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12:55 PM | People Are More Swayed by Things That Look Sciencey
Anyone who’s paged through a women’s magazine will recognize this strategy: to make a product seem better, surround it with a scientific glow. “Clinical trials show lashes grow up to 400% fuller!” “27% reduction of dark spots in 10 weeks!” “Ceramides!” Does this actually help convince people to hand over their cash? A study using […]The post People Are More Swayed by Things That Look Sciencey appeared first on Inkfish.

Tal, A. & Wansink, B. (2014). Blinded with science: Trivial graphs and formulas increase ad persuasiveness and belief in product efficacy., Public Understanding of Science, DOI: 10.1177/0963662514549688

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October 14, 2014

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5:34 PM | These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood
Maybe you gave your last realtor a long series of must-haves: a washing machine in unit, proximity to the train, a gas stovetop. But there’s no way you’re as picky as the driftwood hopper. This minute crustacean will only live in rotting chunks of driftwood. David Wildish, a marine zoologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, […]The post These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood appeared first on Inkfish.

Wildish, D. (2014). New genus and two new species of driftwood hoppers (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitridae) from northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal regions, Zoosystematics and Evolution, 90 (2) 133-146. DOI: 10.3897/zse.90.8410

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October 10, 2014

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12:00 PM | For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes
Did you know this week is International Cephalopod Awareness Days? I’ll assume your gifts are in the mail. Today is dedicated to squid, and you can’t have total cephalopod awareness without discussing fake squid testes. This post was first published in September 2013. The best way to stay out of trouble, if you’re a shimmery, […]The post For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes appeared first on Inkfish.

DeMartini DG, Ghoshal A, Pandolfi E, Weaver AT, Baum M & Morse DE (2013). Dynamic biophotonics: female squid exhibit sexually dimorphic tunable leucophores and iridocytes., The Journal of experimental biology, 216 (Pt 19) 3733-41. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006348

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October 07, 2014

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2:15 PM | Scientists Recommend Vole Shaving
Sometimes scientists need to make their research subjects’ lives harder. No matter how much affection they may feel for those flatworms or fish or pigeons, there are certain things they can only learn by forcing the animals to use more energy. But for animals living in the wild, this can be tricky. Now scientists studying […]The post Scientists Recommend Vole Shaving appeared first on Inkfish.

Szafrańska PA, Zub K, Wieczorek M, Książek A, Speakman JR & Konarzewski M (2014). Shaving increases daily energy expenditures in free living root voles., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25278468

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October 03, 2014

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2:02 PM | How to Say “SOS” in Catfish
It’s good to have a plan in case of emergency. If there’s a fire, take the stairs to the ground floor. If a bird tries to eat you, say “ERK ERK ERK” by grinding your spine bone against your shoulder bone until it drops you. That latter one will work best if you’re a certain […]The post How to Say “SOS” in Catfish appeared first on Inkfish.

Knight L & Ladich F (2014). Distress sounds of thorny catfishes emitted underwater and in air: characteristics and potential significance., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25267850

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