Trigona bee

Vulture Bees Lost and Gained Microbes

Almost all bees get their nutrients from flowers. Pollen provides protein and nectar provides carbohydrates. A group of scientists have found three closely related bees of the genus Trigona that feed off dead flesh, rather than flowers. These “vulture bees” get their protein by chewing pieces of flesh from dead animals and gain additional carbohydrates […]

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Macadamia Nuts

Why Are Nuts Hard to Crack?

Why are nuts hard to crack? This question is answered in reports in Science (AAAS) News, 10 August 2021, Royal Society Open Science 11 August 2021, doi: 10.1098/rsos.210399 and Advanced Materials 20 October 2020, 10.1002/adma.202004519. Over the last few years Notburga Gierlinger, a biophysicist at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and colleagues […]

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Seahorse

Seahorse Suction Power

Seahorse suction power revealed in reports in Inside JEB 3 September 2021 and Journal of Experimental Biology 3 September 2021, doi: 10.1242/jeb.236430. Seahorses use suction feeding to draw food in which involves a rapid expansion of their mouth cavity to force food into the mouth. Other kinds of ‘sucking’ fish use their swimming muscles to […]

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Panda Eating

Panda Jaw Evolved for Bamboo

Panda jaw evolved for bamboo, according reports in ScienceDaily and University of Turku (UTU) Press Release 9 July 2021 and Scientific Reports, 9 July 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-93808-2. When pandas eat bamboo stems they first use their premolar teeth to peel off the outer layer which contains harmful chemicals and abrasive crystals. Then they grind up […]

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Snakes Adapted Fangs to Food

Snakes adapted fangs to food, according to articles in The Conversation 13 May 2021 and Monash University Lens 21 May 2021 and Evolution 27 April 2021 doi: 10.1111/evo.14239.  Scientists at Monash University, Australia, have studied the fangs of 81 species of snakes, comparing tooth structure, strength and sharpness with the type of prey each snake […]

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Iridescent Insect

Iridescent Camouflage

Iridescent camouflage found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News, ScienceDaily, Telegraph (UK) 23 January 2020 and Current Biology 23 January 2020, doi: 10. 1016/j.cub.2019.12.013.  Iridescence is the bright, variable colour created by light being refracted in surface structures, e.g. peacock feathers and some butterfly wings.  It produces bright clear colours, so most evolutionary biologists […]

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Mosquito on Flower

Mosquitoes Analyse Flower Chemistry

Mosquitoes analyse flower chemistry, according to reports in ScienceDaily 22 January 2020 and The Daily University of Washington 6 February 2020 and PNAS 7 January 2020, doi:10.1073/pnas.1910589117.  Although mosquitoes have a well-earned reputation for biting people and sucking blood, their main food source is flower nectar.  As explained by Jeffrey Riffell, a professor of biology […]

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Kea Parrot

Giant Fossil Parrot

Giant fossil parrot found in NZ, according to reports in ScienceDaily and ABC News 7 August 2019 and Biology Letters 7 August 2019, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0467. Scientists from Australia and New Zealand have studied “two incomplete tibiotarsi,” (leg bones with bits missing) found in a fossil site near St Bathans in Central Otago, New Zealand, and […]

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Lion Teeth

Giant African Carnivore

Giant African carnivore fossil found, according to reports in National Geographic, Science (AAAS) News, ScienceDaily 18 April 2019 and Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, published online 17 April 2019, doi: 10.1080/02724634.2019.1570222. Palaeontologists in Kenya were looking through drawers in a Nairobi Museum and found the jaw and some pieces of skull, bones and teeth of an […]

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Manta Ray

Ricochet Feeding for Rays

Ricochet feeding for rays described in ScienceDaily 26 September 2018 and Science Advances 26 September 2018 doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat9533. Manta rays are kite shaped fish that feed by filtering plankton from water flowing into their mouths as they swim.  The water, minus the plankton, then passes out through their gills.  This is an intriguing system for […]

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