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Not bad science

Not bad science

New discoveries in animal behavior and cognition

  • Serotonin-Deprived Cleaner Fish Are Socially Withdrawn

    Serotonin-Deprived Cleaner Fish Are Socially Withdrawn

    By Felicity Muth | August 26, 2015 |

    You might have heard of serotonin as one of the ‘happy’ hormones in humans. Indeed, mood disorders like anxiety and depression are associated with low levels of serotonin. However, this neurotransmitter also has other functions. One of the more interesting ones in humans is its role in cooperation. […]

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  • Why Are Black Widow Males So Destructive?

    Why Are Black Widow Males So Destructive?

    By Felicity Muth | August 23, 2015 |

    We often hear about animals where the males mate with multiple females. However, many animals have the opposite system, where a single female courts and mates many males. This type of mating system (polyandry) can lead to some pretty interesting dynamics between males and females, because the males constantly attempt to out-compete each other to ensure that it’s their genes that make it into the next generation. […]

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  • When Do Scorpions Spray Their Enemies?

    By Felicity Muth | May 4, 2015 |

    Most animals don't like getting sprayed by skunks Some animals defend themselves by spraying liquid at potential threats. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is the skunk, whose spray contains chemicals that smell awful to the animals it’s defending itself from. […]

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  • A Meeting of Art and Science

    By Felicity Muth | May 3, 2015 |

    "Haeckel Actiniae" by Ernst Haeckel Art and science are usually held up as two opposing disciplines. However, arguably very similar abilities are needed to be an artist and a scientist: an ability to observe the world in detail, to perhaps notice things that other people don’t, to creatively come up with ideas and to draw novel connections. […]

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  • Inside the Wonderful World of Bee Cognition - Where We're at Now

    Inside the Wonderful World of Bee Cognition - Where We're at Now

    By Felicity Muth | April 20, 2015 |

    As I wrote about in my last post , bees are capable of learning which flowers offer good nectar rewards based on floral features such as colour, smell, shape, texture, pattern, temperature and electric charge. They do this through associative learning: learning that a ‘conditioned stimulus’ (for example, the colour yellow) is associated with an ‘unconditioned stimulus’ (nectar). […]

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  • Inside the Wonderful World of Bee Cognition - How it All Began

    Inside the Wonderful World of Bee Cognition - How it All Began

    By Felicity Muth | April 20, 2015 |

    One of the first things I get asked when I tell people that I work on bee cognition (apart from ‘do you get stung a lot?’) is ‘bees have cognition?’. I usually assume that this question shouldn’t be taken literally otherwise it would mean that whoever was asking me this thought that there was a possibility that bees didn’t have cognition and I had just been making a terrible mistake for the past two years. […]

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  • Male Bark Beetles Have to Sing a Password to Be Given Access To a Female's Home

    Male Bark Beetles Have to Sing a Password to Be Given Access To a Female's Home

    By Felicity Muth | April 19, 2015 |

    The males of many animals compete with each other for females. This can be through direct fighting, as in the case of crickets and fruitflies . However, males also compete for female attention through courtship displays. One common way males compete for females is through song. […]

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  • Both Winning And Losing Fights Makes Flies More Aggressive

    Both Winning And Losing Fights Makes Flies More Aggressive

    By Felicity Muth | April 16, 2015 |

    Many animals behave aggressively towards one another. This is usually when they are fighting for something like territory, mates or food. However, an animal’s decision to become aggressive isn’t a simple on-off switch and many factors feed into how aggressive an animal is. […]

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  • Lost Penguin Chicks Try To Find Their Way Home

    Lost Penguin Chicks Try To Find Their Way Home

    By Felicity Muth | April 16, 2015 |

    A King Penguin chick King penguins are pretty social animals. Not only do they tend to hang out in a big group, but even within the group, they form little sub-groups; cliques of penguins who like to hang out together. In case this couldn’t get any cuter, their chicks also hang out in groups without any adult penguins around. […]

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  • Teenagers Are No More Risk-Taking Than Children

    Teenagers Are No More Risk-Taking Than Children

    By Felicity Muth | April 16, 2015 |

    For a change, I thought this week instead of writing about black widow spiders or praying mantids I’d write about an animal I often neglect: humans. A topic of conversation I often seem to stumble into with people is that of risk. As an amateur rock climber, something that gets said to me frequently by non-climbers is, ‘that’s got to be so risky’. […]

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