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Bats use Blood for Tongue Erections and Better Feeding

The Pallas's long-tongued bat uses blood to change the shape of its mop-like tongue as it feeds in mid-air, researchers have discovered. High-speed video footage has revealed that an increased flow of blood to the tip of the bat's tongue causes scores of tiny hair-like projections to become swollen and erect, allowing the bat to maximise its nectar-gathering potential with each lap.Like the hummingbird, the Pallas's long-tongued bat ( Glossophaga soricina ) from South and Central America expends a great deal of energy hovering over flowers while lapping up nectar...

May 6, 2013 — Becky Crew

New Skin-Feeding Amphibian Found in French Guiana

A new species of skin-feeding amphibian has been discovered in French Guiana. Named Microcaecilia dermatophaga , it joins just three other caecilian species whose young have been observed to regularly feed on their mother's skin.Amphibians can be pretty good parents, committing themselves to various guarding, transporting and feeding behaviours to foster their offspring...

April 17, 2013 — Becky Crew

Sea hares thwart spiny lobster attack with goo

The gooey ink secretions of sea hares do more than just repel or distract their predators; scientists have discovered that this sticky substance can also mask their senses of smell and taste.Sea hares (genus Aplysia ) are large, herbivorous mollusks that are closely related to sea slugs and nudibranchs...

March 30, 2013 — Becky Crew

Two new species of mouse lemur found in Madagascar

Genetic analysis has revealed the existence of two new species of Madagascan mouse lemur, bringing the total number of recognised species to 20.Weighing less than 100 g and rarely stretching more than 28 cm, tail included, mouse lemurs are the smallest primate in the world...

March 26, 2013 — Becky Crew

The sheepshead fish has human teeth, but it's okay because it won't give you a psychedelic crisis

Despite the way it looks, the sheepshead fish ( Archosargus probatocephalus ) has at least one thing going for it. While other members of the Sparidae family are trying out various forms of hermaphroditism, including changing from female to male (protogyny), doing the opposite (protandry), or being unisexual (gonochorists), the sheepshead is just sitting at home watching cartoons and leaving its genitals where they are...

March 21, 2013 — Becky Crew

New pink nudibranch, feather stars and crustaceans in a clam found in PNG lagoon

There's a new species convention happening somewhere right now and none of us got the memo because old. But that's okay because we've got ROFLCon and Anthrocon Playstations.This week an international team of researchers announced that they've identified some 80 new species of plants and animals along Papua New Guinea's Hindenburg Wall, a 50-km long, 300 m high limestone cliff face running through the Star Mountains region of the Western Province...

March 14, 2013 — Becky Crew

Prehistoric ghost shark Helicoprion's spiral-toothed jaw explained

After a century of colourful guesses, CT scans have revealed what's really going on inside the nightmarish jaw of Helicoprion, a large, 270 million-year-old cartilaginous fish with an elaborate whorl of teeth set in the middle of its mouth.In 1899, Russian geologist, Alexander Petrovich Karpinsky, gave this six-metre-long fish the name Helicoprion, meaning "spiral saw", based on a fragmentary fossil found in Kazakhstan...

February 27, 2013 — Becky Crew

Dogs recognise other dogs in a crowd

They may have the largest physical variety among all animal species on Earth, but dogs can still recognise one of their own over any other animal based on simple images of their faces.S..

February 18, 2013 — Becky Crew

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