Giant Australian cuttlefish employ night camouflage to adapt quickly to a variety of microhabitats on temperate rock reefs. New research sheds light on the animal's remarkable visual system and nighttime predator/prey interactions. Cuttlefish are well-known masters of disguise who use highly developed camouflage tactics to blend in almost instantaneously with their surroundings. These relatives of octopuses and squid are part of a class of animals called cephalopods and are found in marine habitats worldwide. Cephalopods use camouflage to change their appearance with a speed and diversity unparalleled in the animal kingdom, however there is no documentation to date that they use their diverse camouflage repertoire at night.
Tiny multiple sperm can be long lived, while large "expensive" eggs degenerate quickly if they are not fertilized. This conundrum -- there should be selection for females to keep their eggs fresh until they are used -- has recently been studied in a cockroach where some choosy females have genes that allow them to maintain eggs while looking for the best mate. Perhaps, however, these genes are limited because they are harmful in some environments.
University of British Columbia researchers have discovered that contrary to common belief, species do not evolve faster in warmer climates. UBC Zoology PhD candidate Jason Weir and his mentor Prof. Dolph Schluter, director of the UBC Biodiversity Research Centre, charted the genetic family tree of 618 mammal and bird species in the Americas over the last several million years.
A previously unknown 505-million-year-old invertebrate animal, named Orthrozanclus reburrus was identified and described by Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron, palaeontologist in the Department of Natural History at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Dr. Simon Conway Morris from the University of Cambridge in England in a recent issue of Science.
An international team of American and Chinese paleontologists has discovered a new species of mammal that lived 125 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era, in what is now the Hebei Province in China.
A wild sheep population on a remote Indian Ocean island is creating a buzz among genetics researchers. A whimsical attempt to establish a herd of mouflon for sport hunting on a remote island in the Indian Ocean 50 years ago has inadvertently created a laboratory for genetic researchers and led to a surprising discovery.
Scientists have discovered that the clouded leopard found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is an entirely new species of cat. The secretive rainforest animal was originally thought to be the same species as the one found in mainland Southeast Asia. Genetic analysis conducted at the U.S. National Cancer Institute shows that the difference between the two clouded leopard species is comparable to the differences between other large cat species like lions, tigers, and jaguars. Scientists believe the new species of clouded leopard diverged from the mainland population some 1.4 million years ago.