This week it’s a great story about “ant-loving” (i.e. ant parasitizing) beetles that hide among army ants by looking and acting and smelling like one of them. This has evolved independently multiple times, even though the rove beetles are a very old group with lots of time diverge.
What is the advantage of being right/left-handed? How does that change if you’re a predator attacking with a group? And how can a fish have handedness in the first place? Relax. All will be answered.
Today’s paper is:
Kurvers, R. H. J. M., S. Krause, P. E. Viblanc, J. E. Herbert-Read, P. Zaslansky, P. Domenici, S. Marras, J. F. Steffensen, M. B. S. Svendsen, A. D. M. Wilson, P. Couillaud, K. M. Boswell, and J. Krause 2016. The Evolution of Lateralization in Group Hunting SailfishCurrent Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.044
Feathers are made darker by melanin, which is known to bind heavy metals. In this study, researchers test the idea that darker birds might be protected from things like lead by the ability to store that crap in their feathers.
Whiskers are specialized hairs that are especially sensitive to touch. Your cat uses them to know when it’s walking along a wall in the dark. So why would a swimming seal need them? Oh, wouldn’t you like to know! Have a listen. I guarantee the seals will impress you.
This bat has adhesive organs on its wrists and ankles that it uses to hold on to the smooth surfaces of leaves. It can even hang upside down from a horizontal pane of glass! But that’s not what makes it Madagascar’s most mysterious microbat. Have a listen.