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Posts Tagged "species"

But Seriously...

Olinguito: New Kid on the Block

Olinguito

The olinguito has become a science media darling this past week. And why not? It’s small and furry and doesn’t look quite like anything you’ve seen before. Unless you’ve seen an olingo. Olingos are relatively obscure relatives of the more popular raccoon. They live up in rainforest canopies of South America, and are mostly active [...]

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Culturing Science

The Best Things I’ve Read All Week (8 Jan 2012)

girlreading

Here are the best things I’ve read all week. The pieces are not necessarily news and could be decades old, and they’re probably longform writing but not always. Maybe there is one link, maybe there are forty. But they all were thought-provoking enough that they hopped around in my brain long past the read. Enjoy. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

DNA Test Proves Killed Cougar Migrated from South Dakota to Connecticut

lion being examined by technician

If the eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) went extinct in the 1930s, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reported back in March, why do so many people in New England keep reporting cougar sightings? As FWS lead scientist Mark McCollough told me in March, the 110 confirmed cases on cougars (sometimes called mountain [...]

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Extinction Countdown

“Udderly weird yam” and “killer sponge” among top 10 new species of 2010

carnivorous sponge

Every year hundreds if not thousands of new species are described for the first time by science. And every year, the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) takes a look at the previous year’s new species and picks the "Top 10 New Species". This year’s list—containing species first found in 2009—contains some doozies: a bug-eating [...]

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Guest Blog

Man discovers a new life-form at a South African truck stop

Like many biologists, the German biologist Oliver Zompro spends thousands of hours looking at specimens of dead animals. He found his first new species when he was twenty. By the age of thirty he had named dozens of wild new forms. While other people around him did crossword puzzles and drank lattes, he explored the [...]

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Observations

The Race to Catalogue Living Species before They Go Extinct

soft-coral

The U.S. has spent several billion dollars looking for life on other planets. Shouldn’t we spend at least that much finding and identifying life on Earth? That is the argument behind a taxonomy analysis by a trio of scientists in Science, published on January 25. They argue just $500 million to $1 billion a year [...]

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Observations

Wormholes in Art Trace Species through Time and Space

wormhole art woodblock print dating beetle species

Wormholes aren’t just for time travel or teleportation anymore. Some very real and ancient wormholes are now helping to trace the distribution of insect species and artwork. A biologist found himself in the unlikely world of centuries-old European woodblock print art. There, he discovered that many of the small imperfections in the prints could be [...]

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Observations

Vikings Spread the Humble House Mouse During Ancient Conquests

house mouse

Four-legged stowaways hitched a ride aboard the wooden 10th- and 11th-century Viking ships that braved the northern seas. The probably numerous passengers aboard hailed from Mus musculus domesticus, the small, fleet-of-foot rodent otherwise known simply as the house mouse. Opportunistic hangers-on have accompanied human migrations throughout history. From the louse to the mouse, scientists have [...]

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Observations

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes might be splitting into new species

malaria mosquito two types that might become different species

By any other name, the Anopheles gambiae mosquito would still bear—with its tiny buzzing wing beats—the deadly threat of malaria, which can be passed to humans in a single blood-sucking bite. But what if this species were to split in twain? Two new studies, published online October 21 in Science, have found evidence that A. [...]

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Observations

Bugs and plants and mice (oh my) join hundreds of new creatures discovered in New Guinea

new guinea species discovery katydid

In the rugged, remote reaches of Papua New Guinea live a multitude of strange species that scientists are just starting to catalogue. A recent initiative, the results of which were announced October 5, reports some 26 potentially new animal species, nine previously undescribed plants and some 200 likely new bug species. In two months of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Common Octopus Proves Uncommonly Difficult to Define

The seemingly ubiquitous common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) is our platonic octopus ideal. Even if Plato didn’t write about it, Aristotle did. And since then, it has been the most widely studied (and consumed) species. But contemporary science is complicating things, a new paper, published this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, details. The [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Scrawny Wonderpus Puts Stranglehold on Mightier Mimic Octopus

octopus

Earlier this week, we learned that female octopuses sometimes strangle—and then possibly eat—their male mates. For a cannibalistic animal with long arms, perhaps we—and the male—should have seen that one coming. (Especially since the female apparently had already gotten what she needed out of the rendezvous.) But an additional report finds that octopus strangulation is [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

DNA Finds New Octopus Species Hiding in Plain Sight

octopus

Describing a new species for science is not quite as easy as it was in the days of 17th- or 18th-century naturalists. But that just means we have to look a little more closely. Such as, into an organism’s DNA. And rather than hunting through the dense jungles for years, scientists can, with a little [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Happy International Octopus Day!

octopus day

October 8 is International Octopus day (naturally)—and kicks off International Cephalopod Awareness Days. Perhaps I am a little biased, having written a book about them, but I think these animals deserve at least one day of celebration. Octopuses have some remarkable assets, including eight semi-autonomous arms, thousands of smart suckers, cold-adapted blue blood, three beating [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: More (Octopus) Suckers Born Every Minute in Cold Water

deep sea octopus sucker count Jordan

That octopuses can survive in the extreme, sunless environments around deep hydrothermal vents is surprising enough. But comparing octopuses that make their homes there has led to some even more interesting discoveries about animal development. The rarely seen Muusoctopus hydrothermalis live some 2,495 to 2,620 meters below the surface, along the East Pacific Rise. There, [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Octopods Elude Science: The Case of the Football Octopus

rare football octopus

Shallow-water octopuses can be difficult enough to find. They camouflage against corals, hide in holes and generally make themselves scarce. But researchers can at least attempt to observe and collect them by snorkeling, diving or skimming nets and bottom trawls. The rest of the vast, dark ocean, however, presents a much larger sampling challenge. So [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Rare Social Octopuses Break All the (Mating) Rules [Video]

larger Pacific striped octopus rare study captivity

Of the hundreds of known octopus species, most are anti-social, practice safe sex (to avoid getting eaten by a mate) and lay just one clutch of eggs before dying. The poorly understood larger Pacific striped octopus, however, seems to break from these conventions: They are somewhat social, they mate face-to-face, and the females produce multiple [...]

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