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Observations

Fish Shoots Down Prey with Super-Powered Jet [Video]

archer fish water jet

With a juicy insect dinner perched on a leaf above the water, what is a hungry little archer fish down below to do? Knock it down with a super-powered, super-precise jet of water that packs six times the power the fish could generate with its own muscles, according to new findings published online October 24 [...]

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Observations

Giant Eyes Help Colossal Squid Spot Glowing Whales

giant squid eye

Giant and colossal squid can grow to be some 12 meters long. But that alone doesn’t explain why they have the biggest eyeballs on the planet. At 280 millimeters in diameter, colossal squid eyes are much bigger than those of the swordfish, which at 90 millimeters, measure in as the next biggest peepers. “It doesn’t [...]

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Observations

Jumping Spiders Use Blurry Vision to Catch Quick Prey with Precision [Video]

To figure out how far away our dinner plate is our brain melds the slightly different images coming from our two eyes. Other creatures, including many insects, move their heads to glean how far a piece of food might be. But jumping spiders (Hasarius adansoni) don’t seem to possess either of these abilities. So how [...]

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Observations

Ancient “terror bird” used rigid skull to drive its hooked beak into prey

ancient terror bird biting down on prey with large beak

The large, big-beaked "terror birds" (Phorusrhacidae) didn’t need flight to snag a Miocene meal. Some of these extinct, flightless fowl likely used their massive rigid skulls and hooked beaks to chomp into prey with strong, successive pulls, concluded a research team after performing a biomechanical analysis of fossilized skulls. More than a dozen species of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Why Don’t Octopuses Get Stuck to Themselves?

octopus sucker

An octopus might be one of the most intelligent invertebrates, but it doesn’t always know what, exactly, its arms are doing. How these animals manage to avoid tangling themselves up is a major feat. But another—of no small concern—is keeping free of the strong grasp of its own suckers. New research, published May 15 in [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Make Food for Weird Critters

octopus feed

Along with us humans, a range of hungry hunters prey on the scrumptious octopus. The boneless octopus must avoid becoming lunch for sharks, eels, fish and even killer whales. But not all of the organisms that feed on octopuses are such charismatic megafauna. Octopuses, both dead and alive, are part of the delicate, detailed food [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

8 Awesome Octopus Facts for World Oceans Day

octopus facts world oceans day

Octopuses are amazing. In honor of World Oceans Day, here are eight facts about these incredible creatures. 8. Octopuses are masters of camouflage. However, research suggests that octopuses don’t try to blend into their entire environment—to look like coral, sand and seaweed all at once. A study published last year  found that octopuses, instead, picked [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Female Octopus Arms Reach Farther, Robot Research Group Finds [Video]

octopus female arm stretch

Almost as fast as you can say “go-go-gadget arm,” an octopus can stretch its arm more than twice its normal length—without the help of any cyborg attachments. What’s more, according to new research, female common octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) are able to stretch their arms even more than the males—on average, three times resting length. This [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Octopods: A Flapjack Devilfish Octopus [Video]

flapjack devilfish octopus Opisthoteuthis californiana

The many octopus species that live beyond the reach of vacationing snorkelers, scuba diving researchers and even near-shore commercial fisheries are relative unknowns compared with the more familiar shallow-water species. But that doesn’t mean that they are not of great importance to science—and the ocean’s intricate food web. Last time we met the super-fecund cephalopod [...]

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Symbiartic

Music Steeped in the Wilds of Canada

14-014FEATURE

Eighteen years ago this July, a group of 14 adventurers unloaded tents, gear, food, canoes, and two guitars from the back of a big old bus and loaded them into 7 canoes in a nondescript boat launch outside of Yellowknife, NWT. For the next 47 days, they would paddle against the current, slog through bogs, [...]

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