Velvet Black Viper

Velvet black viper revealed in reports in Wired Science 16 May 2013, ABC News in Science 17 May 2013 and Nature Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep01846 16 May 2013. The West African Gaboon viper, Bitis rhinoceros, has a distinctive geometrical pattern of black, brown and white patches on its skin. The black patches are a particularly dense […]

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Unique Pressure Receptors

Special pressure receptors unique to crocodilians described in Nature, vol 417, p241, 16 May 2002. University of Maryland biologist Daphne Soares has studied the small pigmented dome shaped lumps on alligators’ faces and found they are highly sensitive receptors that enable the animals to detect tiny disturbances in the water surface as they lie semi-submerged. […]

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Starfish Keep Their Cool

Starfish keep their cool according to an article in American Naturalist, vol. 174, pp. 890-897, 14 Oct 2009 and BBC News 28 Oct 2009. Starfish living in the intertidal zones can easily become overheated if they are left high and dry and exposed to the sun during a low tide because they cannot move until […]

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Speech Timing Revealed

Speech timing revealed, as reported in Nature News 20 February 2013 and ABC News in Science 21 February 2013. Edward Chang and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco have carried out a study of brain activity during speech. They were able to record directly from the surface of the brains of patients who […]

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Snakes Recycle Poison

Snakes recycle poison according to reports in news@nature, New Scientist 29 January 2007, and New York Times and Science Frontline, 30 January 2007. Scientists studying the Japanese grass snake Rhabdophis tigrinus have discovered it can eat poisonous toads and store their poison in glands on the back of its neck. Female snakes also transferred poison […]

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Shrimps’ Amazing Eyes

Shrimps’ amazing eyes revealed, as described in articles in EurekAlert, UQ News Online and ScienceNOW, 20 March 2008. A group of researchers led by Justin Marshall of the University of Queensland and the Queensland Brain Institute have been studying the eyes of mantis shrimps – large reef dwelling crustaceans, also known as stomatopods. They found […]

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Shrimp Eyes Make Better DVD Players

Shrimp eyes make better DVD players according to an article in ABC News in Science, 26 October 2009. Researchers studying the eyes of an Australian crustacean have found that its eyes process light in a more complex way than any man-made DVD or CD player. The shrimps’ eyes are able to convert linear polarised light […]

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Sharks Have Nose for Heat and Cold

  Sharks have nose for heat and cold, according to a report in Nature Science Update, and ScienceNOW, 30 January 2003. Sharks are “the most temperature sensitive creatures we know,” says Brandon Brown, a physicist at University of San Francisco who studied electrical conductance of gel from pores in the sharks’ snouts called ampullae of […]

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Sexual Preference on the Brain

Sexual preference on the brain, as reported in articles in ScienceNOW 9 May 2005 and BBC Online News, 18 May 2005. A study of brain responses to exposure to male and female pheromones revealed differences between homosexual and heterosexual men. Pheromones are small scent molecules that act as chemical signals to activate parts of the […]

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Seahorses and Salinity

Seahorses are normally found in marine environments but are they capable, or have they ever been capable of living in freshwater? A number of species are found in estuaries and can tolerate wide fluctuations in salinity, at least for short periods of time. In Tasmania, the Potbelly Seahorse inhabits the Tamar River estuary which, during […]

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