I recently realised that I had published 50 blog posts here at Scientific American Mind. When I first became interested in science writing as a PhD student a few years ago, I had no idea that I would end up having the privilege of writing for an online science magazine of such high calibre. I thought I’d take a somewhat self-indulgent moment to highlight some of my favourite animal behaviour discoveries I’ve had the pleasure of writing about.
1. Cleaner Fish behaviour being affected by who’s watching them. These are remarkably weird, but interesting animals. Not only do they meticulously groom ‘client’ fish that could eat them at any moment, they also change the way they behave towards that client if there’s another potential client watching.
2. The finding that birds will actually sing differently when they live in cities with lots of noise pollution.
3. A study looking into whether crows might recognise themselves in the mirror.
4. A study that used genetics to show that butterflies could taste through their feet.
5. Crickets dancing differently with an audience. I mean, who wouldn’t like dancing crickets?
6. Working out how ants might work together to move large objects, with a great video assessing how strong an ant is.
7. The finding that lost ants backtrack their steps.
8. The amazing duets of happy wrens.
9. How ants might be biasing their decisions in a similar way to us.
Moray eel with cleaner fish: Thomas Quine
Ant: Antoine Wystrach and Sebastian Schwarz