Archives for August, 2014

Researchers in Peru have discovered four new species of tiny so-called “glass frogs” (family: Centrolenidae). Centrolene charapita: with the yellow splotches on its back, this species was aptly named after little yellow chili peppers. Their hindlegs also had fleshy little zigzag-like protuberances whose purpose is unknown. Cochranella guayasamini: This species is mostly green with yellow encircling its…

Paleogeneticist Dr. Johannes Krause (University of Tübingen, Germany) and colleagues were interested in the origin of tuberculosis (TB) in the Americas. Since strains of TB found in the Americas are related to strains found in Europe, prior theories held that Spaniards may have introduced it to the Americas while colonizing South America.  The problem with…

The naked mole rat is the longest lived rodent species (>31 years). Unlike most mammals, they seem resistant to many age-associated ailments until much later in life, making them an exciting model of healthy aging. They are also resistant to the development of cancer as mentioned in this prior post. According to the CDC, cardiovascular…

City life makes bigger spiders

A new study from researchers at the University of Sydney shows that golden orb-weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) that live in the city are larger and produce more offspring as compared to country living. When they say the spiders are big, they mean really big. The females can reach up to 20-25mm (males are only ~5mm).…

Scaredy snakes?

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

A new study published in  AJP-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that electroacupuncture to the abdominal region may prevent increases in blood sugar concentrations after a meal by affecting insulin sensitivity and circulating free fatty acid concentrations.  Granted this is not comparative physiology research, I find it interesting that electrical stimulation can have such a large impact…

Mimicking geckos

Researchers at DARPA are using geckos to create biologically inspired methods of scaling vertical walls. Check out this video demonstration of “Geckskin”:

In honor of shark week…

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, check out these shark cams. National Aquarium Reef Shark Cam: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream SHARK FIN CAM: Video taken from a camera strapped to the dorsal fin of a shark: Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream If you have not yet tuned in to Discovery…

Physiologist Laurie Goodyear (Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, MA) and her colleagues recently published a study in the American Journal of Physiology that shows how overexpressing a protein can increase exercise capacity. The protein of interest was tribbles homolog 3 (TRB3), which is a mammalian form of the tribbles protein found in fruit flies…