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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

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

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