When an ant dies in an ant nest or near one, its body is quickly picked up by living ants and removed from the colony, thus limiting the risk of colony infection by pathogens from the corpse. The predominant understanding among entomologists - scientists who study insects - was that dead ants release chemicals created by decomposition (such as fatty acids) that signal their death to the colony's living ants.
A detailed analysis of the feet of Homo floresiensis--the miniature hominins who lived on a remote island in eastern Indonesia until 18,000 years ago--may help settle a question hotly debated among paleontologists: how similar was this population to modern humans?
Sharks, barracuda and other large predatory fishes disappear on Caribbean coral reefs as human populations rise, endangering the region's marine food web and ultimately its reefs and fisheries, according to a sweeping study by researcher Chris Stallings of The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.
"What has six legs and is way cooler than a spider?" asks a riddle on the cover of a birthday card sent to Stephen Colbert by entomologists Quentin Wheeler at Arizona State University and Kelly Miller at the University of New Mexico. The answer - Agaporomorphus colberti - is a diving beetle from Venezuela named by Wheeler and Miller to honor Colbert, the satirical host and executive producer of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
A study in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep suggests that babies born to mothers with depression are more likely to suffer from significant sleep disturbances at 2 weeks postpartum that continue until 6 months of age. Findings of the study are of particular importance, as sleep disturbances in infancy may result in increased risk for developing early-onset depression in childhood.
In the digital world, it's easier to tell a lie and get away with it. That's good news for liars, but not so good for anyone being deceived.
A new study shows that adolescents with a childhood diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have current and lifetime sleep problems and disorders, regardless of the severity of current ADHD symptoms. Authors suggest that findings indicate that mental health professionals should screen for sleep problems and psychiatric comorbidities among all adolescents with a childhood diagnosis of ADHD.
Conscientiousness is a good thing in a mate, researchers report, not just because it's easier to live with someone who washes the dishes without being asked, but also because having a conscientious partner may actually be good for one's health. Their study, of adults over age 50, also found that women, but not men, get an added health benefit when paired with someone who is conscientious and neurotic.
Fossils from 465 million years ago recently discovered in Portugal have revealed the huge size reached by trilobites, the most diverse group of extinct marine arthropods. Gutierrez-Marco et al. describe the largest trilobites ever found, which, in life, would have reached up to 90 centimeters (35 inches).
The situation of bears in the Iberian Peninsula is critical. Researchers from the University of Oviedo (UO) and the Superior Council of Scientific Research (SCSR) have performed a genetic identification based on the analysis of stools and hair of brown bears (Ursus arctos) from the Cantabrian mountain range, gathered between 2004 and 2006.
Tiny mites living on the surface of Madagascar hissing cockroaches help decrease the presence of a variety of molds on the cockroaches' bodies, potentially reducing allergic responses among humans who handle the popular insects, according to new research.
"No two people are alike." Yet when we consider the thousands of genes with frequent differences in genetic composition among different people, it is remarkable how much alike we are. Uniformity, or singleness of form, is not unique to humans but a general property of life. Biologists have long pondered how this feature is produced in the face of such great variation in genetics as well as environmental conditions.
A species of slug (Arion subfuscus) produces a defensive gel it can chemically convert into a remarkably strong glue. Similar gel-based glues attach some snails firmly onto slippery rocks; tools are needed to pry them off. The tenacity of these glues on wet surfaces is difficult to match with artificial adhesives.