Sunday, March 07, 2010

Octopus Mimicry

An Atlantic longarmed octopus has been videotaped mimicking a flounder.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Komodo Dragon Attack

A Komodo Island park ranger somehow got involved when a Komodo dragon chased a monkey, and ended up getting bit himself. (News source.)

[Additional: A bit more info here.]

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weird Invertebrates

A sea slug has been discovered to apparently swipe genes from algae, allowing it to produce its own chlorophyll. (News source.)

An orchid-pollinating cricket has been discovered in Madagascar. (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Manatee Migration

An interesting post at BBC News on Brazilian manatees' seasonal migration down the Amazon to deeper water. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Blue Whale Song Mystery

Wired has an interesting article on the tonal change mystery in blue whale songs over the years.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hippos vs Croc

A lone crocodile didn't have much chance against a group of hippos, here.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giant Beavers

New research suggests that giant beavers ate aquatic vegetation rather than tree bark/tissue, as modern beavers do. (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Golden Eagles Hunt Reindeer

BBC filmmakers took footage of golden eagles attacking a reindeer calf in Finland, behavior which was anecdotal but never confirmed before now. (News source with video.) [via Kevin Stewart]

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Herbivorous Jumping Spider

I think we saw a report on this a year or so ago, but it's back in the news: a jumping spider prefers to eat specialized leaf tips and drink nectar. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Friday, October 02, 2009

Chipmunk vs Toad

Chipmunks apparently have a taste for frog (or toad) legs... (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Squirrel vs Fruit Bat

Odd behavior noted by a biologist in Tanzania: a squirrel attacked a fruit bat. (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 26, 2009

UK: Dolphin Superpod

Hundreds of dolphins were spotted migrating through the Moray Firth. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cougar Attack

A three-year old girl was saved by her mother from a cougar attack along the Squamish River in British Columbia. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Monday, June 08, 2009

Photo Galleries

A hyena takes down a flamingo, here.

Camera traps in the Amazon show a few rare species.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 08, 2009

Social Trilobites

Fossil groupings of up to 1000 trilobites suggest they were social creatures, at least while molting. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Panda Kills Cat

A wildcat that wandered into a Chinese panda reserve was killed by one of the pandas. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Basking Sharks Migrate South

Turns out Atlantic region basking sharks migrate south for the winter. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Snubfin Dolphin Behavior

The recently described snubfin dolphin has some interesting predatory behavior: "the small dolphins hunt in groups, chasing fish to the surface of the water and rounding them up by shooting jets of water from their mouths." (News source.)

Labels: ,

Monday, March 09, 2009

Premeditated Actions in a Chimp

Current Biology has a new article about "a male chimpanzee calmly collecting stones and fashioning concrete discs that he would later use to hurl at zoo visitors." (Eurekalert.)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Termite Fishing

More field research results on chimps fashioning basic tools (sticks for termite fishing), here.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Millipede-Eating Dung Beetle

A new paper:

From coprophagy to predation: a dung beetle that kills millipedes
Trond H. Larsen, et al.
Biology Letters (Tuesday, January 20, 2009)
Published online

The dung beetle subfamily Scarabaeinae is a cosmopolitan group of insects that feed primarily on dung. We describe the first case of an obligate predatory dung beetle and contrast its behaviour and morphology with those of its coprophagous sympatric congeners. Deltochilum valgum Burmeister killed and consumed millipedes in lowland rainforest in Peru. Ancestral ball-rolling behaviour shared by other canthonine species is abandoned, and the head, hind tibiae and pygidium of D. valgum are modified for novel functions during millipede predation. Millipedes were killed by disarticulation, often through decapitation, using the clypeus as a lever. Beetles killed millipedes much larger than themselves. In pitfall traps, D. valgum was attracted exclusively to millipedes, and preferred injured over uninjured millipedes. Morphological similarities placing D. valgum in the same subgenus with non-predatory dung-feeding species suggest a major and potentially rapid behavioural shift from coprophagy to predation. Ecological transitions enabling the exploitation of dramatically atypical niches, which may be more likely to occur when competition is intense, may help explain the evolution of novel ecological guilds and the diversification of exceptionally species-rich groups such as insects.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Squid Reproductive Behavior

A wide range of strange reproductive behavior is noted here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sponges as Dolphin Tools

PLoS has an interesting research article on some Australian dolphins that use conical sponges to disturb the seafloor in an effort to locate prey.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Warbler Wars

An interesting case of the Townsend's warblers apparently taking over hermit warblers range through interbreeding has been shown genetically (Eurekalert).

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spider Catches Finch

An Australian golden orb weaver was photographed feeding on a dead finch in its web. (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bat "Discos"

Bats will be singing and swarming, and researchers are at the ready... (News source.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Colossal Squid Grow Docile?

New theory: as the colossal squid grows, it becomes less of an active predator. (News source.)

"... as the colossal squid grew bigger, they grew shorter and wider. This was likely to impact their behaviour and their ability to hunt, Dr O’Shea said"

Labels: ,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tree Shrew Holds Its Liquor

A small Malaysian tree shrew drinks fermented nectar ("the equivalent of a case of 3.8% beer every night") without getting drunk. I'm guessing ongoing research of "the first recorded chronic alcohol intake in the wild" is likely to be popular among the grad students... (News source.)


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Australia: Lake Shark Debate

There's some controversy over a supposed "great white shark" that got entangled in some fishing nets in Tuggerah Lake; some are claiming hoax. (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Manatee Formation?

Reports of a group of manatees swimming in a v-formation may be based on a fluke, some biologists are saying, as they've never heard of such behavior. They suggest that males may have been trailing a female. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Frog Makes Own Claws

Trichobatrachus robustus, and at least 9 of the 11 species of Astylosternus frogs in Africa (mostly Cameroon) have the ability, when attacked, to break the small bones on which their claws are held in their toes, contracting a muscle to push the claws through their skin for defense. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Shark Eaten by Croc

9-foot croc eats a small shark, here.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Killer Behavior

A group of people at Indian Beach (Trinidad, CA) reported seeing a killer whale ride a wave onto the beach and munch a harbor seal. This is the first time this behavior has been reported in the US, though it is known to (rarely) occur elsewhere. (News source.)

Labels: ,

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ecosystem Changed by Beetle

From the Eurekalert:

"The mesquite girdler Oncideres rhodosticta may only be 13mm long, but it has a big role in shaping the landscape. Research carried out by Benjamin Duval and Walter Whitford at New Mexico State University has revealed that the beetle is speeding up the degradation of grasslands in the Chihuahua desert..."
"The mesquite girdler does this by regulating the growth of the mesquite shrub, ensuring their offspring have a plentiful supply of food. The beetles chew girdles around the older stems of the shrub, which forces the plant to regrow new stems the following year. The new stems supply the beetle larvae with food, but the mesquite shrub takes more nutrients from the soil for its increased growth, leaving less for the other plant species such as grasses.
"Up to 150 years ago, the North Chihuahuan Desert was completely covered in grassland. The picture today is very different – dunes and mesquite shrubs cover much of the landscape."

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shark vs Kangaroo

A Geelong, Australia, man says he watched a kangaroo hop down to the beach and start swimming. About 80 meters from shore, the animal was struck by a 2-3m shark that leaped out of the water and struck it, pulling it under. No pics, unfortunately. (News source.)

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gorillas Throwing Sticks

Interesting point regarding the Cross River gorillas, and their behavior towards humans:

"In the wake of a study that documented for the first time the use of weaponry by Cross River gorillas to ward off threats by humans, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced today new field surveys to better protect this most endangered great ape.
"The study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Primatology, found several instances of gorillas throwing sticks and clumps of grass when threatened by people. Gorillas usually flee and rarely charge when encountered by humans.
"Cross River gorillas are restricted to Nigeria and Cameroon. They number only around 300 individuals, making them the most endangered of the four gorilla sub-species." (Eurekalert)

Labels: ,

Friday, October 26, 2007


Six Asian elephants (in a herd of 40) got drunk on rice wine fermenting in a farmers' hut, went berserk, and uprooted utility poles, electrocuting themselves. (News source.)

Five Asiatic lions in western India were killed by electric fences surrounding crops near a wildlife sanctuary. (News source.)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wolf Trouble

Three wolves in southeastern Finland are on a dog-killing spree. 18 dogs have been killed since August, and about as many are missing. (News source.)

"One incident that testifies to the beasts' boldness was when a wolf tried to attack three dogs sitting on a glazed veranda, attempting to break in through a sliding glass door. Fortunately the glass door held."

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Moose Behavior

Pregnant moose have learned to move closer to human development when they are ready to give birth, giving themselves protection from human-shy predators. (Eurekalert.)

"When it’s time for moose to give birth in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, they head to where it is safest from predators – namely closer to people, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Published in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, the study says that moose avoid predation of their calves by grizzly bears by moving closer to roads and other infrastructure prior to giving birth. Wildlife Conservation Society researchers tracked both moose and bears, finding that pregnant moose in Greater Yellowstone have shifted their movements each year for the past decade about 125 meters closer to roads during calving season, specifically to avoid road-shy brown bears, which can prey heavily on moose calves."