Category Archives: Animal Gate

Walking like ants gives spiders a chance

To avoid being eaten, some jumping spiders pretend to be ants, a new study has found. Protective mimicry is a remarkable example of adaptive evolution: Moths can be colored like butterflies and grasshoppers may look like tiger beetles. While most mimicry studies focus on traits like color and shape, the researchers in this work used multiple high-speed cameras and behavioral experiments to pinpoint how the spider’s movements mimic ants.

FOXI3 gene is involved in dental cusp formation

Hairless dog breeds differ from other dogs not only by lacking a coat, but also in the number and nature of their teeth. Scientists studied the skulls and teeth of pedigreed hairless dogs from the collection of the Phyletisches Museum of the University of Jena. Thus, they furthered our understanding of the involvement of the FOXI3 gene in the development of teeth – not only in hairless dogs, but potentially also in other mammals including humans.

Between extinction, survival of endangered populations

Populations of endangered species reach a critical point and therefore, efforts to predict and prevent their extinction require a thorough understanding of the underlying mechanisms, report researchers. They investigated how environmental disturbance at random times could cause strong fluctuations in the number of individuals in biological populations. They found that environmental disorder can lead to a period of slow population increase interrupted by sudden population collapses.

Insecticides damage bee socialization and learning skills, study reports

The effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees has been widely covered in the news recently, with laboratory-based studies suggesting that the chemicals are harmful, and field studies which are much less clear cut. Adding to current knowledge on the topic, new research further explores the effects that these chemicals may have on social behavior and learning in honey bees.