mimicry https://scienceblogs.com/ en Up close with a drone fly https://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/2010/07/06/up-close-with-a-drone-fly <span>Up close with a drone fly</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/wp-content/blogs.dir/449/files/2012/04/i-db48df7816053d03037485bc14139bb8-Eristalis2.jpg" alt="i-db48df7816053d03037485bc14139bb8-Eristalis2.jpg" /><br /></p><div style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Eristalis</em>, the drone fly<br /> Urbana, Illinois</strong></div> <p>Easily mistaken for a bee, <em>Eristalis </em>is in fact a clever mimic capable of luring many an unsuspecting observer into the land of <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/2009/04/the-problem-with-istockphoto-captured-in-a-single-photo.php">amusing taxonomy fail</a>.</p> <p>But the structure of the antennae, the broad attachment of the abdomen to the thorax, and the presence of only a single pair of wings mark it as a fly.</p> <p>I took this photo in bright sunlight, although it doesn't look that way from the black backdrop. This dramatic lighting effect is achieved by using such a small aperture (f/13) and a fast shutter speed (1/250 sec) that almost no ambient light reaches the sensor. A small but intense flash directed at just the fly and the flower- but not the garden in the background- provides sufficient illumination for a proper exposure of just the intended subject.</p> <hr /> photo details: Canon EOS 7D camera<br /><br /> Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens<br /><br /> ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec<br /><br /><br /></div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/awild" lang="" about="/author/awild" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">awild</a></span> <span>Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/photography" hreflang="en">Photography</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/flies" hreflang="en">flies</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417301" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1278447699"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Nice photo, as always! How did you manage that without it buzzing off on you? Hehe.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417301&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="gYzbVeoHR7pW6LLpC__x4JvX3BoHLrH14UHfoGqYqiU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JasonC. (not verified)</span> on 06 Jul 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417301">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417302" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1278515174"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That's certainly the hard part of shooting flies. One flash and they're gone!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417302&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="k9dzh-02r1Cf6CkeISNmfzB1hHLzgTRwo2kYuDGoVJc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://myrmecos.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Alex Wild (not verified)</a> on 07 Jul 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417302">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417303" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1279609894"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>True story:<br /> Back in the early '80s I'm taking a entomology course. This week, the subject is "bee mimics". It's Thursday; fourth day of the Dips unit. I'm looking thru a binoc scope at a "Bombyliid" (stoned, as usual in those times) and I notice that it has four wings. Narrow waist. Triangular head with geniculate antennae. Tibial scopa. I look up. Just at that moment, the professor is walking by. I say "What's this bee doing in your fly collection?" (He gives me the derisive snort.) I say "It's got four wings." He pauses, sits, looks thru the scope. Sits up. Looks at me. Looks thru the scope again. Walks to the front of the class and announces: "Specimen X, labelled as a Bombyliid, is actually a bee." The other students gawk at me. I say "It's a bee that mimics bee mimics." Several students later confessed to me that they had also thought it was a bee. Years later, that professor was instrumental in getting me into grad school, despite my stoner GPA (I still haven't figured out whether I should thank him).<br /> D.J. Lactin. Ph.D., Entomology.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417303&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="IYPbl1lgdLlMFKwI6_XfXmm9I5SpIWMtd-z6FhRxQ1Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">djlactin (not verified)</span> on 20 Jul 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417303">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417304" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1286512445"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The other students gawk at me. I say "It's a bee that mimics bee mimics.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417304&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="BA5NH-W8te-hSAjULu651QrxD3JWGRM22mQgoEN74FE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.seslisohbetbk.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">seslisohbet (not verified)</a> on 08 Oct 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417304">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417305" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1292287068"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hello Alex,</p> <p>It seems that i would be getting awesome information from your blog. It is really very exciting for me. The above pic of drone is really very beautiful.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417305&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="66QjUKL4dwxaJlsYoke0N7-6ikJqU_c3qVuFzdNox9o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ambassadorpools.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="above ground swimming pools">above ground s… (not verified)</a> on 13 Dec 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417305">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417306" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1294203776"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Great photo and story. Thank you. btw im a bug photographer and researcher. following your blog.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417306&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="qvGHs-1sjpsRQt70U2Hm-6pQ7vZBvAncRrfFwoP4Hew"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.bocekilaclamaistanbul.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Böcek ilaçlama (not verified)</a> on 05 Jan 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417306">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2417307" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1323641888"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hey just read the article. I live in Lexington NC and have stumbled across an old tub full of the drone fly larvae. Need i say it is dead of winter here and they are very active right now. Crazy huh?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2417307&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="bZ3tmgKmRuBJMZ0sjFpGNOKabsvEngUd-55XD5NiVrE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">David See (not verified)</span> on 11 Dec 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2417307">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/myrmecos/2010/07/06/up-close-with-a-drone-fly%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 06 Jul 2010 16:53:33 +0000 awild 131853 at https://scienceblogs.com Some Turtle Ant Mimics https://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/2010/05/20/some-turtle-ant-mimics <span>Some Turtle Ant Mimics</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Biologist <a href="http://www.eeb.ucla.edu/indivfaculty.php?FacultyKey=977">Henry Hespenheide</a> sends along this shot of several ant-mimicking beetles and their <em>Cephalotes </em>model:</p> <p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/wp-content/blogs.dir/449/files/2012/04/i-dfe6045686733bf01d4c2dd0b40c1c99-Cephalotesmimics1.jpg" alt="i-dfe6045686733bf01d4c2dd0b40c1c99-Cephalotesmimics1.jpg" /></p> <p>What I take from this image is just how important the appearance of a narrow waist must be to successfully pulling off the illusion. These mimics differ considerably in body proportions, but they have all managed to paint a fake waist on their elytra.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/awild" lang="" about="/author/awild" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">awild</a></span> <span>Thu, 05/20/2010 - 03:50</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ants" hreflang="en">ants</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/beetles" hreflang="en">Beetles</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/nature" hreflang="en">Nature</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/evolution" hreflang="en">evolution</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/beetles" hreflang="en">Beetles</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416920" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274344283"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>How do you know that's the model? Just because they sort of look alike?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416920&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Xl-IIYecgU-6Pg9w76fvC9StVjhtJUjGROBJhMCE2rw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://phytophactor.blogspot.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">The Phytophactor (not verified)</a> on 20 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416920">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416921" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274345482"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>For the buprestid in the upper right corner (<i>Agrilus ornatulus</i>), the mimicry association was first proposed by Vogt (1949), who stated the species' appearance was suggestive of <i>Cephalotes angustus</i>, which occurs commonly on the the beetle's host shrubs in south Texas.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416921&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="lKTVBQGJt15ZUhvJpvqbqkAbtuspWKL6k34aXNQ9lMc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://beetlesinthebush.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ted C. MacRae (not verified)</a> on 20 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416921">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416922" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274353558"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Doesn't this kind of suggest there's a bit more going on than natural selection?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416922&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="dBQdxV298gTQFN5EoBfs38Uc5Y1I5BCvL2A6PDbHaGc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MrILoveTheAnts (not verified)</span> on 20 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416922">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416923" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274356635"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Do we know what the advantage of the mimicry might be? My (thoroughly uninformed) impression was that most ants care a great deal more about scent than sight, and I'm not sure how effective those waist-markings would be at eye level anyway. Do relevant aerial predators avoid ants but chow down on unmarked beetles?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416923&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="K4CfILArv6HknaNZT03EuqzAOjrcPHZh1HUNxPUkmd4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Raka (not verified)</span> on 20 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416923">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416924" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274361124"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Yeah this doesn't seem to be mimicry, but rather convergent evolution in appearance. Those insects happen to have the same coloration and similar body shape, a shape which is extremely common for insects.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416924&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="LFwHTOlBaG-0FCLeFs_8r1pcKsm95sbD3G5jaGgsdNM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Erik (not verified)</span> on 20 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416924">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416925" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274385504"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I love the clerid-- looks like he's wearing a Cosby sweater. Any idea which family the guy in the middle of the bottom row belongs to?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416925&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="df-v6RfzlaXiFEtQwXAwpNVHSV0GceUam6HBqYFdY6M"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ainsley S (not verified)</span> on 20 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416925">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416926" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274422318"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There is good reason to believe this is mimicry, as a defense against predation by vertebrates - namely birds and lizards. These visual hunters, when young and naive, having nabbed an ant, soon realize it is not a good meal, thereafter avoid eating ants or things that appear to be them. It seems to be quite straight-forward natural selection for not getting eaten, and has nothing to do with hiding among ants in their nests, which would be dangerous places, indeed, for most or all of these mimics to go. Myrmecophily and avoiding being eaten by ants take on very different forms than the sort of mimicry pictured here.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416926&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="0r9V0Vzllf8bs86KMbvpHBjVim4h6F5nEJRJBwldsl4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">James C. Trager (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416926">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416927" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274422783"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There is good reason to believe this is mimicry, as a defense against predation by vertebrates - namely birds and lizards. These visual hunters, when young and naive, having nabbed an ant, soon realize it is not a good meal, thereafter avoid eating ants or things that appear to be them. It seems to be quite straight-forward natural selection for not getting eaten, and has nothing to do with hiding among ants in their nests, which would be dangerous places, indeed, for most or all of these mimics to go. Myrmecophily and avoiding being eaten by ants take on very different forms than the sort of mimicry pictured here.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416927&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="mEnPn-LttyVX8i_YNYCmZ4steFMtv9uWF6LcUPG_xKk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">James C. Trager (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416927">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416928" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274423016"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There is good reason to believe this is mimicry, as a defense against predation by vertebrates - namely birds and lizards. These visual hunters, when young and naive, having nabbed an ant, soon realize it is not a good meal, thereafter avoid eating ants or things that appear to be them. It seems to be quite straight-forward natural selection for not getting eaten, and has nothing to do with hiding among ants in their nests, which would be dangerous places, indeed, for most or all of these mimics to go. Myrmecophily and avoiding being eaten by ants take on very different forms than the sort of mimicry pictured here.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416928&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="0LAYYinVS04112kzKlSk8CvkePPWuoMnYFV3iSGFyPc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">James C. Trager (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416928">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416929" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274428774"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>James C. Trager @7 (and 8... and 9): Thanks!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416929&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="ymcvhMQ_NTjYFfFeTaDw_85V8d8lCnDQNSUBxuFUXHg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Raka (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416929">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416930" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274433889"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>James, you got papers discussing those claims? Please share.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416930&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Jg2Dpr_FPIRHMwyP2yLL9D1cY1oA7u9gLgRFZa4mEM4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andre (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416930">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="220" id="comment-2416931" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274435847"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This mimicry complex is discussed at length here:</p> <p>Hespenheide, H. A. 1986. <a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/25009552">Mimicry of Ants of the Genus <em>Zacryptocerus</em> (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).</a> Journal of the New York Entomological Society 94: 394-408.</p> <p>The argument that the ants serve as a model in a mimicry complex is this:</p> <p>1. The ants are much more abundant than the beetles.<br /> 2. The beetles are usually collected near the ants.<br /> 3. Ants aren't good eating, generally speaking (high chitin-to-fat ratio; often with nasty chemicals).<br /> 4. These particular ants are basically standard-issue <em>Cephalotes</em> (formerly <em>Zacryptocerus</em>) without obvious visual modifications from related species, while the beetles are colored rather differently from their close relatives, suggesting selection for a pattern similar to the ants.</p> <p>Granted, this is circumstantial evidence. But it's hard to imagine what else might be behind the convergence.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416931&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="qsFmaxQJd26UWQOlXg4ogee6p1FCTY8QrlPPSKndNZ4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/awild" lang="" about="/author/awild" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">awild</a> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416931">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/awild"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/awild" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/pictures/Alex%20wild.jpeg?itok=_7yeU4AJ" width="100" height="100" alt="Profile picture for user awild" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416932" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274453626"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sorry about the multiple posts - Damn iPhone!</p> <p>Thansk for posting the ref.!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416932&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="mVRxdQZeXnOXBaBPmmhgpt0ncZs3G8-O30cAIxbctEM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">James C. Trager (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416932">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2416933" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1274461174"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I'd also like to thank the skeptics for having the courage to stand up to the entymological/industrial complex (or "Big Ant", as it's commonly known) and the lackeys who mindlessly promote its agenda.</p> <p>Seriously, I'm new to the comments here. I like questioning and challenging blog authors, because hey, that's what the format is for. But what's with all the aggression and snark? Creationist trolls or just socially maladjusted pedants?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2416933&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="WifyjaukbVIahgE3vSATW7LMfc6l2EiQx_5lcXuQ9ZY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Raka (not verified)</span> on 21 May 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2416933">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/myrmecos/2010/05/20/some-turtle-ant-mimics%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 20 May 2010 07:50:42 +0000 awild 131805 at https://scienceblogs.com Pocket Science - geneticist hunts down the cause of his own genetic disorder, and male moths freeze females by mimicking bats https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2010/03/11/pocket-science-geneticist-hunts-down-the-cause-of-his-own <span>Pocket Science - geneticist hunts down the cause of his own genetic disorder, and male moths freeze females by mimicking bats</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>Not Exactly Pocket Science is a set of shorter write-ups on new stories with links to more detailed takes by the world's best journalists and bloggers. It is meant to complement the usual fare of detailed pieces that are typical for this blog. </em><br /></p> <p class=" "><strong>Geneticist sequences own genome, finds genetic cause of his disease</strong> </p> <p class=" "><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-5a5e429771e99c682d8fe0855696b188-Lupski.jpg" alt="i-5a5e429771e99c682d8fe0855696b188-Lupski.jpg" />If you've got an inherited disease and you want to find the genetic faults responsible, it certainly helps if you're a prominent geneticist. <a href="http://www.bcm.edu/cmb/?pmid=2351">James Lupski</a> (right) from the Baylor College of Medicine suffers from an incurable condition called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charcot-Marie-Tooth_disease">Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease</a>, which affects nerve cells and leads to muscle loss and weakness. </p> <p class=" ">Lupski scoured his entire genome for the foundations of his disease. He found 3.4 million placed where his genome differed from the reference sequence by a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-nucleotide_polymorphism">single DNA letter (SNPs)</a> and around 9,000 of these could actually affect the structure of a protein. Lupski narrowed down this list of candidates to two SNPs that both affect the SH3TC2 gene, which has been previously linked to CMT. One of the mutations came from his father and the other from his mother. Their unison in a single genome was the cause of not just Lipson's disease but that of four of his siblings too. </p> <p class=" ">It's a great example of how powerful new sequencing technologies can pinpoint genetic variations that underlie diseases, which might otherwise have gone unnoticed. The entire project cost $50,000 - not exactly cheap, but far more so than the sequencing efforts of old. The time when such approaches will be affordable and commonplace is coming soon. But in this case, Lupski's job was easier because SH3TC2 had already been linked to CMT. A second paper tells a more difficult story. </p> <p class=" "><a href="http://www.strategicgenomics.com/Jared/index.htm">Jared Roach</a> and David Gallas sequenced the genomes of two children who have two inherited disorders - <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_syndrome">Miller syndrome</a> and primary ciliary dyskinesia - and their two unaffected parents. We don't know the genetic causes of Miller syndrome and while the four family genomes narrow down the search to four possible culprits, they don't close the case. </p> <p class=" "><em>For great takes on these stories and their wider significance, I strongly recommend you to read <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/geneticfuture/2010/03/whole_genome_sequences_dont_al.php">Daniel Macarthur's post on Genetic Future</a>, <a href="http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2010/03/a-scientist-tracks-the-genetic-origins-of-his-own-disease.html">Mark Henderson's piece in the Times</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/health/research/11gene.html">Nick Wade's take in the NYT</a> (even if he does <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/geneticfuture/2010/03/on_plausible_alternative_hypot.php">flub a well-known concept</a>). Meanwhile, Ivan Oranksy has an interesting insight into the political manoeuvres that go into <a href="http://embargowatch.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/a-journal-science-does-the-right-thing/">publicising two papers from separate journals</a>.  And check out this previous story I wrote about how genome sequencing was used to reverse the wrong diagnosis of a genetic disorder. </em> </p> <p class=" "><em>Reference: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa0908094">http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa0908094</a>  and <a href="http://dx.doi/org/10.1126/science.1186802">http://dx.doi/org/10.1126/science.1186802</a></em> <strong><br /><br /></strong> </p> <p class=" "><strong>Male moths freeze females by mimicking bats</strong> </p> <p class=" "><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-878e49ecf224686e9db3d1c7253881d8-Moth.jpg" alt="i-878e49ecf224686e9db3d1c7253881d8-Moth.jpg" />Flying through the night sky, a moth hears the sound of danger - the ultrasonic squeak of a hunting bat. She freezes to make herself harder to spot, as she always does when she hears these telltale calls. But the source of the squeak is not a bat at all - it's a male moth.  He is a trickster. By mimicking the sound of a bat, he fooled the female into keeping still, making her easier to mate with. </p> <p class=" ">The evolutionary arms race between bats and moths has raged for millennia. Many moths have evolved to listen out for the sounds of hunting bats and some <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/tiger_moths_jam_the_sonar_of_bats.php">jam those calls</a> with their own ultrasonic clicks, produced by organs called tymbals. In the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spodoptera_litura">armyworm moth</a>, only the males have these organs and they never click when bats are near. Their tymbals are used for deceptive seductions, rather than defence. </p> <p class=" ">Ryo Nakano found that the male's clicks are identical to those of bats. When the males sung to females, Nakano found that virtually all of them mated successfully. If he muffled them by removing the tymbals, they only got lucky 50% of the time. And if he helped out the muted males by playing either tymbal sounds or bat calls through speakers, their success shot back up to 100%. Nakano says that this is a great example of an animal evolving a signal to exploit the sensory biases of a receiver. </p> <p class=" "><em>More on <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/tiger_moths_jam_the_sonar_of_bats.php">bats vs. moths from me</a></em> </p> <p class=" "><em>Reference: Biology Letters <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2010.0058">http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2010.0058</a></em> </p> <!--more--><p><a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a>&amp;nbsp<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Not-Exactly-Rocket-Science/209972267204?ref=ts"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-988017b08cce458f49765389f9af0675-Facebook.jpg" alt="i-988017b08cce458f49765389f9af0675-Facebook.jpg" /></a>&amp;nbsp<a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-6f3b46114afd5e1e9660f1f502bf6836-Feed.jpg" alt="i-6f3b46114afd5e1e9660f1f502bf6836-Feed.jpg" /></a>&amp;nbsp<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Not-Exactly-Rocket-Science-Yong/dp/1409242285"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-deec675bab6f2b978e687ca6294b41a5-Book.jpg" alt="i-deec675bab6f2b978e687ca6294b41a5-Book.jpg" /></a></p> <p><script type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://tweetmeme.com/i/scripts/button.js"></script></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Thu, 03/11/2010 - 08:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/butterflies-and-moths" hreflang="en">Butterflies and moths</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/genetics" hreflang="en">genetics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/genomics" hreflang="en">genomics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/invertebrates" hreflang="en">Invertebrates</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/medicine-health" hreflang="en">Medicine &amp; Health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/sex-and-reproduction" hreflang="en">Sex and reproduction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bat" hreflang="en">bat</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cmt" hreflang="en">CMT</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/female" hreflang="en">female</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/genetic-disease" hreflang="en">genetic disease</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/genome" hreflang="en">Genome</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/lupski" hreflang="en">Lupski</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimic" hreflang="en">Mimic</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/moth" hreflang="en">moth</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/sequencing" hreflang="en">sequencing</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/snps" hreflang="en">SNPs</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tymbal" hreflang="en">tymbal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/genetics" hreflang="en">genetics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2345639" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1268328574"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Genetics has come so far, it's amazing to see what geneticists are doing and will be doing with this new technology.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2345639&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="PA1fso6CL6zYAYHG9qyCVkHLtwVLmkHSoihlWuYTwoM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Winston (not verified)</span> on 11 Mar 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2345639">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2345640" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1268478183"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Mimicking the sound of a clothing store has a similar effect on human females ;)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2345640&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="neXoKB2yjb9gxiyTN0ajKa2FNfqDXhbCp-0FwKGYXEw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">not_hippy (not verified)</span> on 13 Mar 2010 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2345640">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2010/03/11/pocket-science-geneticist-hunts-down-the-cause-of-his-own%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 11 Mar 2010 13:53:56 +0000 edyong 120466 at https://scienceblogs.com The mimic octopus (my first ever post) https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/12/13/the-mimic-octopus-my-first-ever-post <span>The mimic octopus (my first ever post) </span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p align="center"><em>There's a great octopus story coming your way tomorrow. For that reason, I thought it was about time to republish this - the first ever post I wrote for Not Exactly Rocket Science, about the ever-amazing mimic octopus. This article was a game-changer for me. I submitted it to the Daily Telegraph's Young Science Writer competition in 2004, while still struggling with a failing attempt at research. It was awarded a runner-up prize - not a win, but enough to convince me that I could actually write and that I enjoyed it. Looking back on it now, it's decent but a bit rough. It also took </em><em>forever to write - today, I crank stuff like this out in a an hour. But I'm still fond of it - this was the piece that started a career. </em> </p> <p>As you swim through tropical waters, you notice that a strange creature has entered your territory. The intruder is unfamiliar, but when you try to chase it away, it undergoes a startling transformation. Its new form is one you recognise - a banded sea-snake, highly venomous and likely to make you its next meal. You turn and flee. You are a damselfish, you are in Indo-Malayan seas, and you have just been duped by the mimic octopus. </p> <p>The mimic octopus is new to science and has yet to be properly classified [<em>NB - Since 2004, the octopus has been classified</em> <em>as Thaumoctopus mimicus - the "mimicking miracle octopus" - Ed</em>]. It has, though, already gained notoriety for its unique ability to impersonate venomous or distasteful animals. Politicians and pop-stars may be beyond its scope, but its repertoire includes soles, lionfish, sea-snakes, and possibly sea anemones, stingrays and jellyfish. </p> <p>To transform into a sea-snake, for example, the octopus withdraws its head and six of its tentacles into a burrow and waves the other two in opposite directions in an uncannily serpentine manner. You can download some Quicktime videos of the octopus doing its thing from the <a href="http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/(ldcozeie3vgt4gygnljhfa45)/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&amp;backto=issue,1,15;journal,128,228;linkingpublicationresults,1:102024,1" title="Royal Society website" target="_blank">Royal Society</a> website. </p> <p class="center"> <object height="344" width="425"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/H8oQBYw6xxc&amp;hl=en_GB&amp;fs=1&amp;" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/H8oQBYw6xxc&amp;hl=en_GB&amp;fs=1&amp;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="344" width="425"></embed></object></p> <p>Octopus specialist Dr Mark Norman, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, first observed the mimic off the coast of Indonesia. There, it forages in open sand flats during broad daylight and its talents may have evolved to keep it safe in these vulnerable surroundings. As Norman says, when you're caught in the open by a passing fish, "you've got to look either deadly or inedible". </p> <p>Mimicking deadly or inedible animals reaps obvious benefits - predators avoid you, and you need not bother making poisons yourself. It has therefore become a common strategy, used by snakes and flies, spiders and plants. But these charlatans are all one-trick ponies. </p> <p>In comparison, the mimic octopus's charades are orders of magnitude more dynamic. "No other animal has been found that is able to rapidly change between different forms of mimicry", says Dr Tom Tregenza, from the University of Leeds, UK, co-author of the paper which first described the mimic. </p> <p>Having multiple acts benefits the octopus as predators are less likely to catch on to any individual one. If too many octopuses mimic a single creature - say, a lionfish - then predators are more and more likely to encounter the fake than the real deal. They might never learn that something that looks and moves like a lionfish is not worth biting. </p> <p> Like all good performers, the mimic octopus caters to its audience. It only acts like a sea-snake <em>(right) </em>when confronted by territorial damselfish, which are preyed upon by sea-snakes. "This is very exciting because it raises the possibility that the mimic octopus can employ different forms of mimicry to counter different threats", says Tregenza. </p> <p>But is the mimic actually mimicking or are human eyes misinterpreting these movements? To answer this, a BBC/Discovery film crew captured six hours of live footage of the mimic in 2000. The combination of colour, posture and very "un-octopus-like" movement convinced many sceptics. </p> <p>For example, when mimicking the leaf-shaped sole, the octopus not only draws its tentacles and head back into a leaf shape, but also matches a sole's colours and undulates its body to resemble its swimming style. </p> <p class="center"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-7b98468e86534de988e20f0abdd55eae-Mimicoctopus-guises.jpg" alt="i-7b98468e86534de988e20f0abdd55eae-Mimicoctopus-guises.jpg" /></p> <p>Norman believes that octopuses as a group are the equivalent of "rump steak swimming around". Their bodies lack any sort of protective shell or skeleton and they have had to evolve other incredible defences to compensate. Soft bodies make them vulnerable, but they also make octopuses particularly well-suited to deception. </p> <p>Without skeletons, they are expert contortionists, and can change shape or squeeze into tight spaces. Their remarkable skin can change texture, becoming spiky or smooth on a whim. It also contains sacs of pigment called chromatophores which can be expanded or contracted to produce rapid changes of colour and pattern. Armed with this arsenal of stealth, all octopuses are masters of disguise. </p> <p>Most species are content to blend into their backgrounds. The mimic's ancestor probably lived unnoticed in nearby coral reefs. These reefs are like busy and crowded high streets; in contrast, the sand flats are an open market, with rich pickings for any animal (provided that they can avoid being eaten). </p> <p>The octopus's inbuilt camouflage abilities would have given it a head-start. As time passed, individuals that slightly resembled poisonous animals would have lived longer without being eaten, allowing them to pass their appearances on to their offspring. </p> <p>The mimic's behaviour remained undiscovered for years because its dull homelands are poorly studied. But it is precisely this barren nature that has provided the impetus to evolve such amazing behaviour. </p> <p>As Tregenza says, "The mimic octopus teaches us that very bland and barren habitats may be home to the most impressive behaviours." Even more surprising and wondrous animals may await discovery in these unexplored worlds. </p> <p><strong>More cephalopods:</strong> </p> <ul><li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/glowing_squid_use_bacterial_flashlights_that_double_as_an_ex.php">Glowing squid use bacterial flashlights that double as an extra pair of "eyes"</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/03/what_the_stomach_contents_of_sperm_whales_tell_us_about_gian.php">What the stomach contents of sperm whales tell us about giant squid and octopuses</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/02/cuttlefish_tailor_their_defences_to_different_predators.php">Cuttlefish tailor their defences to different predators</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/11/how_to_tell_wonderpus_joe_from_wonderpus_bob.php">How to tell Wonderpus Joe from Wonderpus Bob</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/09/camouflaged_communication_the_secret_signals_of_squid.php">Camouflaged communication - the secret signals of squid</a></li> <li><a ihref="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/06/cuttlefish_learn_from_watching_potential_prey_even_before_th.php">Cuttlefish learn from watching potential prey even before they are born</a></li> </ul><!--more--><p><a href="http://openlab.wufoo.com/forms/submission-form/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/Open_Lab_2009_150x100.jpg" width="75" height="50" /></a><br /><a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a><br /><a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" alt="i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" /></a></p> <script type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://tweetmeme.com/i/scripts/button.js"></script></div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Sun, 12/13/2009 - 06:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-defences" hreflang="en">Animal defences</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cephalopods" hreflang="en">cephalopods</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/invertebrates" hreflang="en">Invertebrates</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimic-octopus" hreflang="en">mimic octopus</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cephalopods" hreflang="en">cephalopods</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/social-sciences" hreflang="en">Social Sciences</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2344564" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1260707092"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When I see contortionist cephalopods like this, I often find myself thinking "How can they move so well without a skeleton?"-- pure vertebrate chauvinism, I know. Then I realize that a skeleton would only hinder them.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2344564&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="2gGrQmM0Zq5jCpZG272EttuPvZvGieedaoWagBnBQMI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Emily (not verified)</span> on 13 Dec 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2344564">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2344565" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1260707266"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>An hour! I still take the whole day...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2344565&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="gSnqEp9vCQo2Qb8j6aI6wy9OkIq1-x2aByQHGUy8nh4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/student-voices" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Khalil A. (not verified)</a> on 13 Dec 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2344565">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2344566" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1260715907"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Cool stuff. Thanks.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2344566&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="sRIjS-i-erC32WiCfB7OEj3nMfMJbApNdP_TyHKXSN4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Art (not verified)</span> on 13 Dec 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2344566">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2344567" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1260725463"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I remember reading this Ed. I've been reading your stuff since notexactlyrocketscience. Don't remember how long it's been exactly but I don't plan to stop reading. These articles have always been interesting to me. Keep writing!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2344567&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="jD_Hrk1-7g6QPTzny17fGIoUMKyqzodDegUzRznpejI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Matt (not verified)</span> on 13 Dec 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2344567">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2344568" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1260787268"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Makes one wonder how high the octopi are on the sentience scale.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2344568&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="nBrvM3vTasb0TTlP_RrzP-K1CnpMSEkr-G69VVlysJk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JefFlyingV (not verified)</span> on 14 Dec 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2344568">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/12/13/the-mimic-octopus-my-first-ever-post%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Sun, 13 Dec 2009 11:00:28 +0000 edyong 120374 at https://scienceblogs.com Fake cleaner fish dons multiple disguises https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/10/24/fake-cleaner-fish-dons-multiple-disguises <span>Fake cleaner fish dons multiple disguises</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class=" "><img class="inset right" src="http://notexactlyrocketscience.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/blennywrasse.jpg" alt="Guess which is which? (The top one is the real deal)" align="right" /></p> <p class=" "><span>Nature is rife with charlatans. Hundreds of animals have evolved to look like other species in order to fool predators into thinking they're more of a threat, or to sneak up on unsuspecting prey. In the Indo-Pacific lives a fish that does both and has the rare ability to switch between different disguises - the <a href="http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/fishfacts/fish/prhinor.htm">bluestriped fangblenny</a>. </span> </p> <p class=" "><span>Common though it is, mimicry is usually restrictive and most fakers are stuck with one disguise. Until a few years ago, the only known animal that could switch between different acts was the amazing <a href="http://notexactlyrocketscience.wordpress.com/2006/08/13/the-mimic-octopus-charlatan-of-the-sea/">mimic octopus</a>, which contorts its flexible body to look like seasnakes, lionfish, flounders and other poisonous underwater denizens. </span> </p> <p class=" "><span>In 2005, Isabelle Cote and <a href="http://www.uq.edu.au/~uqkchene/">Karen Cheney</a> from the </span><span>University</span><span> of </span><span>Queensland</span><span> discovered that a small reef fish called the bluestriped fangblenny (<em>Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos</em>) is <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7023/full/433211a.html">also a dynamic mimic.</a> </span> </p> <p class=" "><span>Its model is the <a href="http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/fishfacts/fish/ldimidiatus.htm">bluestreak cleaner wrasse</a> <em>Labroides dimidiatus</em>, an industrious species that provides a cleaning service for other reef visitors by picking off parasites and mucus from hard-to-reach places. The fangblenny's intentions are less welcome. Its resemblance to the helpful wrasse allows it to get close enough to mount quick attacks on larger fish, biting off scales and skin (see image below for why it got it's name). </span> </p> <p class=" "><img class="inset right" src="http://notexactlyrocketscience.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/teeth.jpg" alt="Why the fangblenny got its name" align="right" /><span>Cote</span><span> and Cheney found that fangblennies have two guises. In one, it has a black body and an electric blue stripe that mimics the wrasse, but in the other, it's body is a very different brown, olive or orange with white or light-blue/green stripes. The fish can change from one to the other at will, and uses the non-mimicking colours to blend in with shoals of other fish. </span> </p> <p class=" "><span>Now, Cheney has provided further evidence for the opportunistic colour changes of this con artist. She captured 34 fangblennies of various colours and after 60 minutes alone, all the mimics had switched to non-mimic colours - it seems that there's no point putting on a disguise if there's no one around to see it. <span> </span></span> </p> <p class=" "><span>When she added another fish, nothing happened unless it was a juvenile bluestreak cleaner wrasse. At that point, a third of the fangblennies swapped back to their black-and-blue coats. Cheney noticed that only the smaller individuals changed colours. She believes that as fangblennies grow larger, the rewards of looking like the smaller wrasse are reduced, so they don't bother. </span> </p> <p class=" "><span>Her field experiments support this idea. On several swims, she noticed that the proportion of mimic to non-mimic fangblennies in the water was proportional to the number of juvenile cleaner wrasse around.</span><img class="inset right" src="http://notexactlyrocketscience.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/fangblenny-yellow.jpg" alt="The yellow fangblenny coat" align="right" /></p> <p class=" "><span>A disguise may look right to us, but our colour vision is very different to that of most animals, including those whose reaction actually matters. To get a more objective view of the fangblenny's disguise, Cheney analysed the light reflecting off its scales when it went through its different colour phases. Sure enough, its black-and-blue form reflected light in almost exactly the same way as a real cleaner wrasse would. </span> </p> <p class=" "><span>The fangblenny's other colours also proved to be a match to other reef fish. The olive forms were most likely to be found among <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromis_viridis">blue-green chromis</a>, the brown forms mostly swam with the brown and white-coloured two-tone wrasse and the orange forms associated with orange <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_goldie">Lyretail Anthias</a>. In each of these cases, the pattern of light reflected off the fangblenny's coat matched that of its preferred companion. <span> </span></span> </p> <p class=" "><span>The bluestripe fangblenny's many faces gives it great versatility. By matching the colours of a variety of different fish, it greatly expands the area of reef where it can safely hide from both predators and potential victims. Unlike the mimic octopus, it makes no effort to change its body shape and some of its models, like the chromis, are very different. But in a shoal, that hardly matters. A superficial resemblance to the surrounding throng may be advantage enough. </span> </p> <p class=" "><strong><span>Reference: </span></strong><span>Cheney, Grutter &amp; Marshall. 2007. Facultative mimicry: cues for colour change and colour accuracy in a coral reef fish. Proc Roy Soc B doi.10.1098/rspb.2007.0966</span> </p> <p class=" ">Images by K.Cheney and E.Schloeg. </p> <p><strong>More on mimicry: </strong> </p> <ul><li><span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/spider_mimics_ant_to_eat_spiders_and_avoid_being_eaten_by_sp.php"><span style="color: blue;">Spider mimics ant to eat spiders and avoid being eaten by spiders</span></a></span> </li> <li><span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/05/moths_mimic_each_others_sounds_to_fool_hungry_bats.php"><span style="color: blue;">Moths mimic each others' sounds to fool hungry bats</span></a></span> </li> <li><span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/02/butterflies_scrounge_off_ants_by_mimicking_the_music_of_quee.php"><span style="color: blue;">Butterflies scrounge off ants by mimicking the music of queens</span></a></span> </li> <li><span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/05/orchid_lures_in_pollinating_wasps_with_promise_of_fresh_meat.php"><span style="color: blue;">Orchid lures in pollinating wasps with promise of fresh meat</span></a></span> </li> <li><span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/05/cuckoos_mimic_hawks_to_fool_small_birds.php"><span style="color: blue;">Cuckoos mimic hawks to fool small birds</span></a></span> </li> <li><span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/04/vaccinia_virus_tricks_its_way_into_hosts_by_mimicking_dead_c.php"><span style="color: blue;">Vaccinia virus tricks its way into hosts by mimicking dead cells</span></a></span></li> </ul><p class=" "></p> <!--more--><p><a href="http://openlab.wufoo.com/forms/submission-form/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/Open_Lab_2009_150x100.jpg" width="75" height="50" /></a><br /><a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a><br /><a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" alt="i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" /></a></p> <script type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://tweetmeme.com/i/scripts/button.js"></script></div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Sat, 10/24/2009 - 04:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/fish" hreflang="en">fish</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2344006" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1256415167"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The blenny/wrasse interaction is shown very well on the PBS NOVA episode "Animal Imposters" from 1982. This is a great video covering all sorts of biological mimicry which I show to my biology students.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2344006&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="wRlkUBI1il66wVkmDpxfJURvIQMziYcErPTY_CYxWkI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sara (not verified)</span> on 24 Oct 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2344006">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/10/24/fake-cleaner-fish-dons-multiple-disguises%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Sat, 24 Oct 2009 08:54:30 +0000 edyong 120317 at https://scienceblogs.com Monkey do, human do, monkey see, monkey like https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/08/13/monkey-do-human-do-monkey-see-monkey-like <span>Monkey do, human do, monkey see, monkey like </span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://www.researchblogging.org/"><img class="inset" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" alt="Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research" width="70" height="85" /></a>They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it appears that <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capuchin_monkey">capuchins </a>believe it too. These very sociable monkeys gravitate towards humans that mimic their actions, spending more time in their company and even preferring to trade with them. </p> <p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-a86adae2d40716f66d928e6b0c38f516-Capuchin.jpg" alt="i-a86adae2d40716f66d928e6b0c38f516-Capuchin.jpg" /><a href="http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/staff/bio.cfm?nih_id=0012459403">Annika Paukner</a>, who studied this monkey business, thinks that imitation is a type of social glue that binds groups of monkeys together. It says, "We are alike," and in doing so, it lays the foundation for acts of selflessness by providing a means for two individuals to form an empathic connection. </p> <p>Certainly, imitation is very much a part and parcel of human life. Every day, we mimic the gestures and mannerisms of people we meet. We sit in the same way, twirl our hair, shift our accents or scratch the same spot. This "chameleon effect" is almost always unconscious and while subtle, it can have a <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199911/were-all-copycats">big impact on our social success</a>. Others like us more if our behaviour matches their own, and we in turn put more unconscious effort into imitation if we <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12807406">want someone to like us</a> or if sense that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18816290">we're being ostracised</a>. </p> <p>Paukner and other biologists suggest that these unconscious acts of imitation are adaptations to a social life and she wanted to see if imitation can also strengthen relationships in other sociable primates. Capuchins certainly fit the bill. Paukner allowed monkeys to play with a rubber ball while experimenters either matched their movements with their own balls or played in a different way. The animals spent significantly more time looking at the imitating human than the other one. </p> <!--more--><p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-1d76cfb938d692ddc6a9af4bd6f9dfcd-Imitation.jpg" alt="i-1d76cfb938d692ddc6a9af4bd6f9dfcd-Imitation.jpg" />In a second experiment, monkeys were placed in the middle of three cages and experimenters stood in front of the other two. The animals could move freely between the cages and they spent equal amounts of time near the two humans. But after balls were brought into play, the monkeys spent more time in the cage near the imitator. These preferences translate to actual interactions too. Given a token that they could exchange for a marshmallow, the monkeys preferred to trade with humans who imitated them.<span>  </span> </p> <p>In all of these tests, it's possible that the imitating researcher was just paying closer attention to the monkeys and it was this that drew their favour. To test for that, Paukner repeated the cage experiment but this time, one human watched the monkey intently while it was playing with the ball and the other turned away; neither had a ball themselves. This time, even though the monkeys spent more time watching their watchman, they spent similar amounts of time in front of both humans. Familiarity, it seems, isn't enough - it's the process of imitation itself that's important. </p> <p>However, the experiments don't tell us anything about <em>why </em>monkeys find imitation so compelling. Paukner suggests that it's a way of establishing empathy, but it could equally be a way of assessing dominance. Perhaps individuals who copy others are more likely to be subordinates who are safer to approach or to interact with. We still don't know what information the act of imitation conveys. </p> <p>Nor is it clear how important imitation is to capuchins in the wild. For the simple act of copying to bind monkey societies together, it would have to happen fairly frequently. But while we know that monkeys can tell when they're being imitated, it's an open question as to how often they actually match each other's actions and whether they do it in the unconscious and subtle ways that humans do, rather than the deliberate mimicry of Paukner's team. </p> <p>Capuchins certainly don't do copy each other to the same extent as humans do, although Paukner says that capuchins often synchronise their behaviour when they move about, forage or ward off predators. They will even pick up yawns from each other in the contagious way that humans and domestic dogs do. </p> <p>If capuchins do imitate each other, and if that affects how sociable they are, then this study will surely be just the start of a fascinating line of research. Can monkeys tactically mimic each other to boost their standing in a group and ingratiate themselves with others? And if they're imitated, do they behave nicely towards just the imitator, or to other monkeys as well? Certainly humans who are mimicked behave more positively to their fellows in general - does the same apply to monkeys? </p> <p><strong>Reference: </strong>Science 10.1126/science.1176269 </p> <p><strong>More monkey business: </strong> </p> <p><strong></strong> </p> <ul><li><a id="a125828" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/monkeyonomics_-_monopolies_markets_and_exchange_rates_in_wil.php">Monkeynomics - monopolies, markets and exchange rates in wild monkeys</a></li> <li><a id="a085612" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/08/selfless_monkeys_find_personal_reward_in_helping_others.php">Selfless monkeys find personal reward in helping others</a></li> <li><a id="a077792" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/05/monkey_see_monkey_control_prosthetic_arm_with_thoughts.php">Monkey see, monkey control prosthetic arm with thoughts</a></li> <li><a id="a115336" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/monkey_see_monkey_calculate_statistics.php">Monkey see, monkey calculate statistics</a></li> <li><a id="a099629" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/01/capuchin_monkeys_are_choosy_about_the_best_nutcrackers.php">Capuchin monkeys are choosy about the best nutcrackers</a></li> </ul><p><a href="http://openlab.wufoo.com/forms/submission-form/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/Open_Lab_2009_150x100.jpg" /></a></p> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.reddit.com/button.js?t=2"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><p><a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a><br /><a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" alt="i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" /></a> </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Thu, 08/13/2009 - 08:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-communication" hreflang="en">Animal communication</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mammals" hreflang="en">mammals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/monkeys" hreflang="en">Monkeys</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/altruism" hreflang="en">altruism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/capuchin" hreflang="en">capuchin</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/imitation" hreflang="en">imitation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/monkey" hreflang="en">monkey</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/social" hreflang="en">social</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mammals" hreflang="en">mammals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/monkeys" hreflang="en">Monkeys</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343459" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1250235937"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Interesting article. Is human imitation not also linked to learning? Surely this would not be anywhere near as important for Capuchins. Perhaps this sort of proclivity towards imitation/imitators in a social species like Capuchins is the sort of evolutionary trick necessary before imitation for learning and culture can evolve. </p> <p>Minor point: "Capuchins certainly don't do copy each other..." should be "Capuchins certainly don't copy each other...", no?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343459&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="h2-1DtjQxcmIBhjKbLAEUUnqSC6nccQKXdS_llx3o0w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Alex (not verified)</span> on 14 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343459">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343460" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1250270352"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Very interesting. It reminds me of something I once read on advice for socially awkward school-age kids. The article pointed out that most kids on coming to a group of kids on the playground pause for a moment to observe and then get into the spirit of things by imitating the others. It's an automatic entry kind of thing which most kids know instinctively but some kids don't.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343460&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="kzC0e5gZZvA_0Y9DgJvascd1UQmjO3IncV43vugkTlA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://liliannattel.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Lilian Nattel (not verified)</a> on 14 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343460">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/08/13/monkey-do-human-do-monkey-see-monkey-like%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 13 Aug 2009 12:00:48 +0000 edyong 120244 at https://scienceblogs.com Orang-utans use leaves to lie about their size https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/08/04/orang-utans-use-leaves-to-lie-about-their-size <span>Orang-utans use leaves to lie about their size</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://www.researchblogging.org/"><img class="inset" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" alt="Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research" width="70" height="85" /></a><span>You'll sometimes hear people lowering their voices to make themselves sound tougher or more commanding. We're not the only ones - it seems that our close relatives, the orang-utans, pull the same trick, and they use tools to do it. </span><a href="http://madeleine.orangutan.nl/"><span>Madeleine Hardus</span></a><span> from the University of Utrecht has found preliminary evidence that young orang-utans use leaves for deception, in order to make lower-pitched calls that seem to come from a much larger animal. </span> </p> <p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-03a1a406c415546e3f4af8bae4a5b402-Orang_utan.jpg" alt="i-03a1a406c415546e3f4af8bae4a5b402-Orang_utan.jpg" /><span>While many animals are accomplished tool-users, most use their utensils to find food. A few populations of orang-utans, living in Borneo, are the only animals known to use tools to change the nature of their calls, much like humans use loudspeakers or microphones. </span> </p> <p><span>Their tools are leaves, and they're used in the context of a specific call known as the kiss-squeak. It's made by orang-utans when they are disturbed by predators like humans, tigers or snakes, or even by rivals of their own species. You can do it yourself: purse your lips together and suck air in sharply to produce a squeaky kissing sound. All orang-utans do it and because these apes are largely solitary, the calls are unlikely to be alarms - they're probably deterrents instead. </span> </p> <p><span>Hardus spent over two years recording over 1,000 kiss-squeaks from 23 wild orang-utans and found that the pitch of the squeaks reflect the size of the animal. Calls made by adult females have a higher maximum frequency than the large elder males, while those made by immature youngsters are the highest of all. This means that the calls could potentially provide information to a canny listener about the size and power of the caller.<span>  </span></span> </p> <p><span>To some extent, orang-utans can fake a deeper call by placing a hand in front of their lips, but leaves are the greatest equaliser of all. By stripping a bundle of leaves from a twig and holding them in front of their mouths, even a small adolescent can drop the pitch of its call to below the level of a large unaided male. </span> </p> <!--more--><p><span>The leaves don't make the calls any louder, just lower, and Hardus suggests that their purpose is to deceive listeners into thinking that they are confronting a much larger animal. It's the audio equivalent of a pufferfish blowing itself up or a cat bristling its fur. The fact that orang-utans live in dense tree-tops, where sound carries but vision is often obscured, makes that explanation more plausible. </span> </p> <p><span>Humans are often on the receiving end of kiss-squeaks and Hardus found that only orang-utans who were unaccustomed to our presence used leaves when calling to us. Those that were used to naked, two-legged apes mainly made unaided kiss-squeaks.<span>  </span>This fits with the idea of leaves as tools for lying, for it seems that orang-utans resort to them more often in circumstances where they were more threatened. </span> </p> <p class="center"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-a51287b00547b6aea499be1a211392ce-Orang-utan2.jpg" alt="i-a51287b00547b6aea499be1a211392ce-Orang-utan2.jpg" /></p> <p><span>So far, Hardus's team have only uncovered circumstantial evidence that the orang-utans are using tools to make deceptive calls. It's the audience reaction that's missing so far - they will need to understand which predators are worthy of leaf-boosted kiss-squeaks, and how they react to them. Does it actually matter if the orang-utans portray a false impression of their size? </span> </p> <p><span>It's unlikely that these questions will be answered by observing actual confrontations, given that both orang-utans and the animals that hunt them are rare. Instead, the best way forward will probably be to play the recorded calls to potential predators to see how they respond. </span> </p> <p><span>In the meantime, Hardus thinks that the technique is a local cultural innovation, for all wild orang-utans make kiss-squeaks but only some groups use leaves as well. It could be that orang-utans are particularly suited to developing unique vocal cultures, for last year, Hardus's colleagues reported a case of a captive orang-utan called Bonnie, who </span><a href="http://www.orangutan.nl/linked%20files/Wich%20et%20al.%20Primates%202008.pdf"><span>spontaneously learned to whistle</span></a><span> after watching a human. </span> </p> <p><strong><span>Reference: </span></strong><span>Proc Roy Soc B</span> doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1027 </p> <p><strong>Images</strong> from <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lightmatter_sad_orangutan.jpg">Aaron Logan</a> and <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:723px-Orang-utan_bukit_lawang_2006.jpg">Tbachner</a><br /></p> <p><strong>More on orang-utans: </strong> </p> <ul><li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/03/orang-utan_study_suggests_that_upright_walking_may_have_star.php">Orang-utan study suggests that upright walking may have started in the trees</a> </li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/scientists_tickle_apes_to_reveal_evolutionary_origins_of_hum.php">Scientists tickle apes to reveal evolutionary origins of human laughter</a> </li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/02/a_burst_of_dna_duplication_in_the_ancestor_of_humans_chimps.php">A burst of DNA duplication in the ancestor of humans, chimps and gorillas</a></li> </ul><p><a href="http://openlab.wufoo.com/forms/submission-form/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/Open_Lab_2009_150x100.jpg" /></a></p> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.reddit.com/button.js?t=2"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><p> <a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a> <a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" alt="i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" /></a> </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Tue, 08/04/2009 - 12:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-communication" hreflang="en">Animal communication</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mammals" hreflang="en">mammals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/deception" hreflang="en">deception</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/orang-utan" hreflang="en">orang-utan</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/squeak-kiss" hreflang="en">squeak kiss</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mammals" hreflang="en">mammals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343416" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249419507"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The second image still has me baffled as to how those limbs bend the way they do.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343416&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="sz4nzVTUPkiMcif1ZyZ7aYva_B6uABgG2rIAVCMMc2U"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">John (not verified)</span> on 04 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343416">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343417" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249469389"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Is it possible you got the reference wrong? I cannot seem to find the article either over google or directly over the Royal Society Homepage...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343417&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="3iDlj9DiZGQXzkxdPi4QufUZ0duKZkqedI_rItxq79o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MPhil (not verified)</span> on 05 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343417">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343418" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249473390"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The orang on the second image appears to rotate its ankles like wrists, wow, how flexible they are....</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343418&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Km6-vL0rWLBKim6E69ISwOTxSP-CuFlKXOuRel-9-vk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Edgar (not verified)</span> on 05 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343418">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343419" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249476172"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>MPhil :</p> <blockquote><p>Is it possible you got the reference wrong? I cannot seem to find the article either over google or directly over the Royal Society Homepage...</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2009/08/04/rspb.2009.1027.abstract?sid=4e7bf7b7-1eb9-4c45-863a-fc4c33c08905">Here you go!</a></p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343419&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="vZDkt1wV_bZ9RtHSu_q-7domrouwPOCEBylQ7lKTuCI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BdN (not verified)</span> on 05 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343419">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343420" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249645062"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hmmm, using leaves as tools, kind of like using a water-bra to make things seem....bigger.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343420&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="jKVW2bG23X5RdE-j-AccXdDz8vepFbfSQ9qY0bRpV-Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Monica (not verified)</span> on 07 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343420">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343421" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249999082"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I was thinking - codpiece!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343421&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="omjVbItVrDTN9vHBB4SP0KYEpkbmL65hp2J-qN2H4XQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">skepville (not verified)</span> on 11 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343421">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/08/04/orang-utans-use-leaves-to-lie-about-their-size%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 04 Aug 2009 16:53:35 +0000 edyong 120237 at https://scienceblogs.com Foul-tasting ant parasitises the colonies of other species https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/31/foul-tasting-ant-parasitises-the-colonies-of-other-species <span>Foul-tasting ant parasitises the colonies of other species</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p align="center"><em>This article is reposted from the old Wordpress incarnation of Not Exactly Rocket Science.</em> </p> <p><a href="http://www.researchblogging.org/"><img class="inset" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" alt="Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research" width="70" height="85" /></a>An ant nest is sheltered, well defended and stocked with food, but one that takes time to build and protect. That's why some species of ants don't bother to do it themselves - they just squat in the nests of others. </p> <p><img class="inset right" src="http://notexactlyrocketscience.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/dsc00039_edited.jpg" alt="Formicoxenus nitidulus escapes its hosts' larger jaws by tasting foul." /><span>These ants are 'social parasites' - they don't feed off their hosts' tissues, but instead steal their food, sleep in their homes and use their resources. They're like six-legged cuckoos</span> </p> <p><span>An ant colony is too dangerous a target to victimise lightly and the social parasites use several tricks to stop their hosts from ripping them apart. Some escape reprisal by chemically camouflaging themselves, either by mimicking their hosts' odour, or by acquiring it through contact. </span> </p> <p><span>This specialised strategy ties the parasite's fates into those of its host. Both are caught in an evolutionary arms race, with the hosts becoming more discriminating and the parasites' deception becoming more accurate. But <a href="http://www.lasi.group.shef.ac.uk/smpub.html">Stephen Martin</a> from the </span><span>University</span><span> of </span><span>Sheffield</span><span> has found one ant species with a completely different and more flexible strategy - it tastes really, really bad. </span> </p> <p><span>Ants of the genus <em>Formicoxenus</em> raise their young in the colonies of other ants. Some species have earned the nickname of 'shampoo ants' for their tendency to spend almost half their time licking their hosts. As they do so, they acquire the hosts' odour and blend into the colony, escaping discovery and reprisals. </span> </p> <!--more--><p><span>The shampoo ants are strictly one-host parasites, faithfully sticking to their species of choice. But the <em><a href="http://www.ukbap.org.uk/UKPlans.aspx?ID=313">Formicoxenus nitidulus<span style="font-style: normal;">, the 'shining guest ant'</span></a></em> (so called for its glossy abdomen and not its manners or gifts), is an exception. </span> </p> <p><span>It's a promiscuous parasite and has been found in the nests of at least nine species of <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formica">Formica <span style="font-style: normal;">wood ants</span></a></em>. Individuals can even move freely between nests, something that would get other social parasites quickly dismembered.<span> </span></span> </p> <p><span>Unlike its camouflaged cousins, <em>F.nitidulus</em> doesn't lick its hosts and mostly ignores them - clearly it has no need to blend in with the colony. In fact, its strategy lies in <em>not </em>blending in. </span> </p> <p><img class="inset right" src="http://notexactlyrocketscience.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/dsc00044.jpg" alt="F.nitidulus uses a general strategy to parasitise multiple hosts." /><span>Martin found that its <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuticle">cuticle</a> (its hard outer 'skin') contained certain chemicals not found in any other <em>Formicoxenus </em>or <em>Formica </em>species. And these chemicals proved to be repulsive to their hosts. Every single time the parasites were seized by a host ant, they were immediately dropped. They weren't doing anything beyond tasting foul, for even dead ants warded off their attackers. </span> </p> <p><span>The strategy works because ants don't use weapons; they have no raking talons or stabbing horns. They attack intruders with their powerful jaws and as formidable as they are, they become quite ineffective if the intruder tastes too repulsive to hang on to. </span> </p> <p><span>As further proof of <em>F.nitidulus</em>'s chemical deterrent, Martin prepared extracts from their skin and applied to fruit flies. These coated flies enjoyed newfound protection from biting ants; 80% were dropped unharmed, while only 15% of untreated flies were. </span> </p> <p><span>This is the first time that this strategy has been observed in ants, but it's clearly a successful one. <em>F.nitidulus</em> is a widespread species, and its hosts' nests are often rife with hundreds of parasitic colonies. </span> </p> <p><span>Its cousins have becomes specialists, abjectly depending on their lone host species for survival. As such, their continued survival is poised on a knife edge and the extinction of their host could see them toppling over. </span> </p> <p><em><span>F.nitidulus, </span></em><span>on the other hand, has chosen the lifestyle of a generalist, a much more viable long-term strategy. It can exploit a huge variety of hosts, and if one of them dies out, it will simply move on. </span> </p> <p><strong><span>Reference: </span></strong><span>Martin, Jenner &amp; Drijftout. Chemical deterrent enables a socially parasitic ant to invade multiple hosts. Proc Roy Soc B doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.0795</span> </p> <p><strong><span>More on ants : </span></strong> </p> <ul><li><a id="a119737" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/05/the_signals_of_life_-_ants_use_chemical_messages_to_avoid_ge.php">The signals of life - ants use chemical messages to avoid getting trashed</a></li> <li><a id="a111411" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/03/army_ants_plug_potholes_with_their_own_bodies.php">Army ants plug potholes with their own bodies</a></li> <li><a id="a126163" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/spider_mimics_ant_to_eat_spiders_and_avoid_being_eaten_by_sp.php">Spider mimics ant to eat spiders and avoid being eaten by spiders</a></li> <li><a id="a115024" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/the_rebellion_of_the_ant_slaves.php">The rebellion of the ant slaves</a></li> <li><a id="a103593" href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/02/butterflies_scrounge_off_ants_by_mimicking_the_music_of_quee.php">Butterflies scrounge off ants by mimicking the music of queens</a></li> </ul><p><a href="http://openlab.wufoo.com/forms/submission-form/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/Open_Lab_2009_150x100.jpg" /></a></p> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.reddit.com/button.js?t=2"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><p><a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a><br /><a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" alt="i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" /></a> </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Fri, 07/31/2009 - 03:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-defences" hreflang="en">Animal defences</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ants" hreflang="en">ants</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/invertebrates" hreflang="en">Invertebrates</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/parasites" hreflang="en">Parasites</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/formicoxenus" hreflang="en">Formicoxenus</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/shampoo-ant" hreflang="en">shampoo ant</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ants" hreflang="en">ants</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/parasites" hreflang="en">Parasites</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343393" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249037285"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Wierd! I didn't know ants could "taste" at all.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343393&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="SbrLAFMQVIy7F5XyIPaikuk_eLiUkj-juu2X8boj6Zg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Zach Miller (not verified)</a> on 31 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343393">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343394" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249263345"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Imagine, a really really foul person living in your house, using your silverware, beds and wife.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343394&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="8BztBlnGA74ArRXG5pUN1_QJgLT-jqFTiQ9uE2pLMcM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://romunov.blogsome.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">romunov (not verified)</a> on 02 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343394">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2343395" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1249384678"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It's hardly fair to say ants don't use weapons - consider the powerful mandibles and stings of some species. And Formica workers have perhaps the most impressive armament: a jet of insecticide. But as they are vulnerable to formic acid themselves, it's not a viable strategy to spray it inside the nest.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2343395&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="YaM66vf9dIeFmWT4vVyMh9i8rwqkymekMqeZUDtEX2A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sagitta (not verified)</span> on 04 Aug 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2343395">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/07/31/foul-tasting-ant-parasitises-the-colonies-of-other-species%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 31 Jul 2009 07:40:10 +0000 edyong 120232 at https://scienceblogs.com Spider mimics ant to eat spiders and avoid being eaten by spiders https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/01/spider-mimics-ant-to-eat-spiders-and-avoid-being-eaten-by-sp <span>Spider mimics ant to eat spiders and avoid being eaten by spiders</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://www.researchblogging.org/"><img class="inset" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" alt="Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research" width="70" height="85" /></a>It's been just three weeks since I last <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/spiders_gather_in_groups_to_impersonate_ants.php">wrote about the<span style="font-family: &quot;AdvPS858B&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"> </span>dark-footed ant-spider</a> <em><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">Myrmarachne melanotarsa</span></em>, but this is one species that just keeps getting more and more interesting. To quickly recap, <em>M.melanotarsa </em>is a jumping spider that protects itself from predators (like other jumping spiders) by resembling an ant. Earlier this month, Ximena Nelson and Robert Jackson showed that they bolster this illusion by living in silken apartment complexes and travelling in groups, mimicking not just the bodies of ants but their social lives too. </p> <p>Now Nelson and Robert are back with another side to the ant-spider's tale - it also uses its impersonation for attack as well as defence. It also feasts on the eggs and youngsters of the very same spiders that its ant-like form protects it from. It is, essentially, a spider that looks like an ant to avoid being eaten by spiders so that it itself can eat spiders. </p> <p>Its actively raids the silken nests of other spiders and snatches the eggs and hatchlings within. These youngsters would be safe from any normal ant but being a spider in ant's clothing, <em>M.melanotarsa </em>has no problem with moving through silk. But they still have to get past the parents. </p> <p class="center"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-ab8fd2260e0330b6d74cef6e89a9db6a-Antspiders.jpg" alt="i-ab8fd2260e0330b6d74cef6e89a9db6a-Antspiders.jpg" /></p> <!--more--><p>Most jumping spiders avoid ants, for they are aggressive, formidably defended and will sometimes eat spiders. Nelson and Robert wanted to see how these other spiders would react to the ant-mimicking marauders. They allowed females of one species - <em>Menemerus sp.</em> - to build nests and lay eggs in a Petri dish. This test dish was sandwiched between two others that could be filled with various animals so that the researchers could test the reactions of the <em>Menemerus </em>mum without exposing her to actual danger. </p> <p>When the surrounding dishes were empty, the female always stayed with her eggs. But the presence of 20 nearby ant-spiders, or indeed 20 of the ants that the spiders mimic,<em> </em>was enough to send <em>Menemerus </em>scuttling for safety. In these scenarios, around 70-80% of the usually stalwart mothers abandoned their brood. No other animals, including spiders of the same species, <em>Pseudicius</em> spiders (another relative) or midges (a common prey) instilled the same sense of panic, even at similar numbers.<span>  </span> </p> <p class="center"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-1f49f3b8122e0b28c82486451042950f-Spider-ant_spider-ant_doesw.jpg" alt="i-1f49f3b8122e0b28c82486451042950f-Spider-ant_spider-ant_doesw.jpg" /></p> <p>This puts <em>M.melanotarsa</em> in a rather unique position in the animal kingdom, blurring the distinction between two types of mimicry. It's a "Batesian mimic", an animal that deceives predators by looking like a more dangerous or unpalatable species. It's also an "aggressive mimic", a creature that disguises itself to lure prey into a false sense of security. </p> <p>There are very few other examples of such aggressive Batesian mimics. One of them, the <a href="http://notexactlyrocketscience.wordpress.com/2007/11/07/fake-cleaner-fish-dons-multiple-disguises/">bluestriped fangblenny</a>, is one I've blogged about before. It looks very much like a cleaner fish, an animal that eats parasites from much larger fish and gains a reprieve from snapping jaws because of the valuable service it performs. The fangblenny has a more sinister intent - it ignores parasites and uses disguise to get close enough to pinch off chunks of flesh. And so good is its resemblance that the host doesn't fully retaliate.<span>  </span> </p> <p>Animals that are solely aggressive mimics are much more common. Even among jumping spiders, some species feed on others of their own kind by tapping webs to produce signals that mimic those of struggling prey. Some female fireflies impersonate the come-hither flashes of females from other species to lure in amorous males. Anglerfish, death adders, cantils and alligator snapping turtles attract their prey with lures that look like worms.<span>  </span> </p> <p>But the dark-footed ant-spider's charade works in a different way. These other mimics pretend to be prey or mates to lure a target into a false sense of security. The ant-spider deceives its mark by resembling a predator, to cause unwarranted alarm. As Nelson and Robert say, it's a "sheep in wolf's clothing". </p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Reference: </span></strong><span class="Z3988" title="ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&amp;rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Ajournal&amp;rft.jtitle=Biology+Letters&amp;rft_id=info%3Adoi%2F10.1098%2Frsbl.2009.0355&amp;rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fresearchblogging.org&amp;rft.atitle=Aggressive+use+of+Batesian+mimicry+by+an+ant-like+jumping+spider&amp;rft.issn=1744-9561&amp;rft.date=2009&amp;rft.volume=&amp;rft.issue=&amp;rft.spage=0&amp;rft.epage=0&amp;rft.artnum=http%3A%2F%2Frsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org%2Fcgi%2Fdoi%2F10.1098%2Frsbl.2009.0355&amp;rft.au=Nelson%2C+X.&amp;rft.au=Jackson%2C+R.&amp;rfe_dat=bpr3.included=1;bpr3.tags=">Nelson, X., &amp; Jackson, R. (2009). Aggressive use of Batesian mimicry by an ant-like jumping spider <span style="font-style: italic;">Biology Letters</span> DOI: <a rev="review" href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0355">10.1098/rsbl.2009.0355</a></span> </p> <p><strong>More on spiders: </strong> </p> <p><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/spiders_gather_in_groups_to_impersonate_ants.php">Spiders gather in groups to impersonate ants</a> </p> <p><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/singaporean_spiders_spit_venomous_glue_work_together_eat_eac.php">Singaporean spiders spit venomous glue, work together, eat each other</a> </p> <p><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/07/tarantula_climbs_walls_by_spinning_silk_from_its_feet.php">Tarantula climbs walls by spinning silk from its feet</a> </p> <p><span> </span><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/07/the_spider_that_crushes_its_prey.php">The spider that crushes its prey with 140 metres of webbing</a> </p> <p><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/06/deathtrap_or_fortress_the_two_web_designs_of_black_widow_spi.php">Death-trap or fortress - the two web designs of black widow spiders</a> </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Wed, 07/01/2009 - 05:30</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/predators-and-prey" hreflang="en">Predators and prey</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/spiders" hreflang="en">spiders</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/aggressive" hreflang="en">aggressive</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ant" hreflang="en">ant</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/melanotarsa" hreflang="en">melanotarsa</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimic" hreflang="en">Mimic</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/myrmarachne" hreflang="en">myrmarachne</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/spider" hreflang="en">spider</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/insects" hreflang="en">insects</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/spiders" hreflang="en">spiders</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342876" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1246447486"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A spider that mimics ants so that it can attack other spiders... my head hurts.</p> <p>Gods help us all if they ever put on a play. About ants and spiders. That breaks the fourth wall.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342876&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="AmETPp_pSkKGVyttolGPjvUHOL1v2RkOK5wKpXPfDz8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ooblick.com/weblog/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">arensb (not verified)</a> on 01 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342876">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342877" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1246469524"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I wonder if I can comission Samuel Beckett's corpse to write that play?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342877&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="YBEFc0NQ_2WNLnyPmMUET49RASdcqHzGt8tAnAT_nrg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ed Yong (not verified)</span> on 01 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342877">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342878" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1246517456"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Its like a cannibal sheep in wolf's clothing.</p> <p>I think.. I'm confused! very interesting</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342878&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="14ugU7-sXLYyRgjTi19M99j-_y-i04gKyEQdVz_XJjM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jon D (not verified)</span> on 02 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342878">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342879" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1246550201"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That is one fascinating spider. It could make a good horror film, too.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342879&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="iw7jWNRFZ0z7mDmTdajUwqZ2Luc3pX6JqlGb5PkJ-gg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://liliannattel.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Lilian Nattel (not verified)</a> on 02 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342879">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342880" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1246898981"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><blockquote><p>Other animals, [...] instilled the same sense of panic, even at similar numbers.</p></blockquote> <p>It seems to me that this sentence says the opposite of what it is supposed to communicate. Should it have been something like "No other animals ..."?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342880&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="g7eZJh-WbK2nScC4xcw8UVT4zdo9D3j3ZwkaoOofQ3s"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">magetoo (not verified)</span> on 06 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342880">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342881" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1247164459"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This does not seem to me to be visual mimicry: "..the presence of 20 nearby ant-spiders, or indeed 20 of the ants that the spiders mimic, was enough to send Menemerus scuttling for safety." </p> <p>If the effect was due to how the spider "looks", why does it take 20 of them? Does anyone else see the disparity in offering an interpretation of ant/spider behavior that is typically driven by olfactory/pheromonal cues?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342881&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="_SjTbv_UaVpKGkvowffIES6_SvxfZLLTtaOdfSrhU1U"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.pheromones.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">James V. Kohl (not verified)</a> on 09 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342881">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342882" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1247164702"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Read the article in the first link to understand why it matters that there are 20 of them. And jumping spiders hunt through vision.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342882&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="VnLobd7vmNKaBzZqo-rPtXieNjKrBMUP9IzCT4RJeUo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ed Yong (not verified)</span> on 09 Jul 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342882">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/07/01/spider-mimics-ant-to-eat-spiders-and-avoid-being-eaten-by-sp%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 01 Jul 2009 09:30:31 +0000 edyong 120196 at https://scienceblogs.com Spiders gather in groups to impersonate ants https://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/03/spiders-gather-in-groups-to-impersonate-ants <span>Spiders gather in groups to impersonate ants</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://www.researchblogging.org/"><img class="inset" src="http://www.researchblogging.org/public/citation_icons/rb2_large_gray.png" alt="Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research" width="70" height="85" /></a>The animal world is full of harmless liars, who mimic species more dangerous than themselves in order to avoid the attention of predators. But none do it quite like the dark-footed ant-spider <em><a href="http://xnelson.googlepages.com/Jacksonetal2008.pdf">Myrmarachne melanotarsa</a></em>. </p> <p>As its name suggests, this small species of jumping spider, <a href="http://www.biol.uni.wroc.pl/cassidae/Myrmarachne.pdf">discovered just nine years ago</a>, impersonates ants. In itself, that's nothing special - ants are so aggressive that many predators give them a wide berth and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant_mimicry">lots of species</a> do well by imitating them. The list includes over 100 spiders but among them, <em>M.melanotarsa</em>'s impression is unusually strong. It doesn't just mimic the bodies of ants, but their large groups too. </p> <p>Unlike all of its relatives, the spider lives in silken apartment complexes, consisting of many individual nests connected by silk. These blocks can house hundreds of individuals and while moving about them, the spiders usually travel in groups. Now, <a href="http://xnelson.googlepages.com/homepage">Ximena Nelson</a> and <a href="http://www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz/people/jacksonr.shtml">Robert Jackson</a> from the University of Canterbury have found evidence that this social streak is all part of the spiders' deception. <em></em> </p> <p class="center"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-ab8fd2260e0330b6d74cef6e89a9db6a-Antspiders.jpg" alt="i-ab8fd2260e0330b6d74cef6e89a9db6a-Antspiders.jpg" /></p> <!--more--><p>The duo exposed the mimics to predatory relatives - three species of jumping spider that will prey on other smaller spiders, but are averse to both the taste and aggression of ants. Other studies have shown that these predators are fooled by their ant-mimicking cousins, but Nelson and Jackson wanted to see if the group size of the dark-foots had anything to do with the effectiveness of their disguises. </p> <p>They placed the predators in a plastic cage for an hour with an ant mimic, the ant that it impersonates, or a midge. The predators were all too happy to tackle the midges, but rarely attacked the ants or their lookalikes. On the rare occasions that the ants were attacked, they were immediately dropped. But if the mimic's cover was blown, it was always eaten. </p> <p>It therefore pays the mimic to ensure that it's not attacked in the first place, and indeed, Nelson and Jackson found that groups of ten mimics were almost never attacked, facing significantly less danger than any lone individual. It wasn't just group size that put off the predators, for they would readily assail groups of ten midges. It was the fact that their potential prey both looked like ants and amassed like ants that put them off. </p> <p class="center"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-6f248cca63d5dbfac2d9e95401c81599-Antspidertests.jpg" alt="i-6f248cca63d5dbfac2d9e95401c81599-Antspidertests.jpg" /></p> <p>Of course, their aversion could be to do with something in the mimics' behaviour that has nothing to do with its resemblance to a group of ants. For example, groups of moving animals can confuse predators by stopping them from locking onto a single target. To control for that, Nelson and Jackson exposed the spiders to dead mimics that could hardly be expected to move in an ant-like way. The spiders were placed in a transparent walkway with cylindrical chambers at either end - one was empty and the other contained four dead insects (or insect mimics), mounted in a life-like posture. </p> <p>If the mounts were ants or ant-mimics, the predators' aversion kicked in and they preferred to stay in the empty chamber; if the mounts were midges, neither option was more appealing. Clearly, the appearance of <em>M.melanotarsa </em>was enough to sell the illusion. </p> <p>Nelson and Jackson describe the tactics of the dark-footed ant-spider as "collective mimicry" - a group of animals acting together to produce a communal masquerade that's more convincing than any individual efforts. </p> <p>There are very few other examples of this behaviour. The blister beetle is one - its larvae gather in groups of hundreds or thousands in order to crudely imitate a female bee (<a href="http://www.dmg.gov/documents/mdss/II_5_Meloe3powerpt.ppt">see this Powerpoint presentation for more</a>). When a male visits, the larvae jump onboard and get a free ride onto an actual bee. On her back, they get a lift to the nest, where they can feed on her eggs. It's an example of imitation through teamwork, but it's subtly different to the antics of the ant-mimicking spider. In this case, the group gathers to impersonate an individual; for the spider, the group impersonates another group. </p> <p><strong>Reference: </strong>Animal Behaviour 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.04.005 </p> <p><strong>More on spiders: </strong> </p> <ul><li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/traumatic_insemination_-_male_spider_pierces_females_undersi.php">Traumatic insemination - male spider pierces female's underside with needle-sharp penis</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/singaporean_spiders_spit_venomous_glue_work_together_eat_eac.php">Singaporean spiders spit venomous glue, work together, eat each other</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/07/social_spiders_do_better_when_hunting_with_relatives.php">Social spiders do better when hunting with relatives</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/07/the_spider_that_crushes_its_prey.php">The spider that crushes its prey with 140 metres of webbing</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/06/deathtrap_or_fortress_the_two_web_designs_of_black_widow_spi.php">Death-trap or fortress - the two web designs of black widow spiders</a></li> </ul><p><a href="http://openlab.wufoo.com/forms/submission-form/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/Open_Lab_2009_150x100.jpg" /></a></p> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.reddit.com/button.js?t=2"> <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!-- //--><!]]> </script><p><a href="http://twitter.com/edyong209/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" alt="i-77217d2c5311c2be408065c3c076b83e-Twitter.jpg" /></a><br /><a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scienceblogs/Ruxi"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/wp-content/blogs.dir/474/files/2012/04/i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" alt="i-3a7f588680ea1320f197adb2d285d99f-RSS.jpg" /></a> </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/notrocketscience" lang="" about="/notrocketscience" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">edyong</a></span> <span>Wed, 06/03/2009 - 02:30</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/invertebrates" hreflang="en">Invertebrates</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/spiders" hreflang="en">spiders</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ant" hreflang="en">ant</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ant-mimic" hreflang="en">ant-mimic</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/jumping-spider" hreflang="en">jumping spider</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/myrmarachne-melanotarsa" hreflang="en">Myrmarachne melanotarsa</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/salticiid" hreflang="en">salticiid</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/spider" hreflang="en">spider</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animal-behaviour" hreflang="en">animal behaviour</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/animals" hreflang="en">animals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mimicry" hreflang="en">mimicry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/spiders" hreflang="en">spiders</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/life-sciences" hreflang="en">Life Sciences</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342712" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244016356"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I have always loved jumping spiders. There is just something about how they look up at you... And you don't have to spend much time with them to realize that they're very intelligent.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342712&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="PgQ7Yz1l9gGzUaF9jltbYQvU55ftjHHvDJBo1shOpQU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jake (not verified)</span> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342712">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342713" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244016715"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When I first read this title on twitter, I thought it said "Scientists gather in groups to impersonate ants". I don't know which is funnier - the fact I mis-read it, or the fact that I still clicked through. Dear me, I think it's time to go home...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342713&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="ndyKKrmgaRFVrsKf8-o1abcdOHNMRTiEpFsqnMcqA0A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://liznewtonmedia.googlepages.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Liz (not verified)</a> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342713">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342714" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244016994"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I bet you that if you had a group of 10 scientists, they wouldn't be attacked by predatory jumping spiders either. Therefore scientists mimic ants. TRUFAX.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342714&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="7NHBxGi2TPle2ZUqq5UfCI6NyfNoLx82xNASdbw_SmU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ed Yong (not verified)</span> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342714">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342715" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244020772"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I love waking up to your blog posts!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342715&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="KjShPPMYrXQbcGIfKI-9R2rqSfM_yHjHgCBJlKXOqz0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Antonio (not verified)</span> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342715">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342716" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244021549"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Fascinating stuff - I had no idea such things existed.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342716&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="ywva33GtxRkMxHMjMzF1QJwEeLPxrVGMnoOVcwSdMlY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://scienceblogs.com/sciencepunk" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Frank the SciencePunk">Frank the Scie… (not verified)</a> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342716">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342717" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244022534"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That is soooo cool!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342717&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="iTNjpzbUulhkivlKh3H0l8u8cQwKoHI3zeyli9Ms-FE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://capacioushandbag.blogspot.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MissPrism (not verified)</a> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342717">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342718" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244024420"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Fascinating information! Based on this post I think their experimental designs are rather elegant too. Nice job by the researchers. </p> <p>"Scientists gather in groups to impersonate ants..." heh-heh. I like that. It sounds like the headline for an Onion article.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342718&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="QT8z-gEkaFKEBfWOBDJW1gbkN73JhdFCFg_g1xA_m-4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Daniel J. Andrews (not verified)</span> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342718">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342719" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244026664"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I remember when I was young and living in Papua New Guinea, observing an ant-mimicking spider. It looked in every way like an ant, except for one thing - I was scared of it in exactly the same way I am of all spiders, which gave it away under only slightly closer observation (visual clues of its modified arachnid origins). However, insects themselves don't elicit this response in me at all - indeed, even from those early years I was very deeply and scientifically into entomology, and was always out photographing and handling insects of all varieties, furthering my knowledge of the field.</p> <p>My personal theory is that there's something subliminally acoustic that spiders do that insects don't, that elicits fear in me in a way that an insect simply cannot. It's not really a visual thing - although that submodality or sensory input is obviously tightly coupled to the sensation.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342719&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="MCnIcoAiNlWKvKoHVreBnHE3JsCzRwLoub4EygiARMI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://friendfeed.com/u0421793" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Tindale (not verified)</a> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342719">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342720" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244032875"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That's fascinating. Is it wrong that I now want to systematically expose you to a wide range of spiders that do or do not mimic other arthropods to test the sensitivity and specificity of his arachnophobia?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342720&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="UU2KgSeDN-Jl6OANqFtfbHr-U7N78cPcWp1PlyweA-w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ed Yong (not verified)</span> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342720">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342721" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244047598"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That is fascinating! I showed the photo to h &amp; kids, and at supper I am going to tell them about Ian's comment re his fear of spiders uncovering the mimic's cover!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342721&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="oCeh37k21G7LO857ZG78jEWzS4jasYturrLzzZmCJec"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://liliannattel.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Lilian Nattel (not verified)</a> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342721">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342722" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244064312"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>So spiders have cosplay conventions?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342722&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="JHsXk9TLQZfRjXoA8Gg2pxba_0b6bduKrEPYKMhbfIE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://zayzayem.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">zayzayem (not verified)</a> on 03 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342722">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342723" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244103619"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This a beautiful picture. I never would have guessed that "one does not belong". My little one plays those games all the time and here it is happening in the natural world.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342723&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="3vB_mcJWEsFPWV4Y2zXa6cUgZRO9k9R6tXWRtw230nk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.innatcedarfalls.com/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Nicole (not verified)</a> on 04 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342723">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342724" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244210161"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>#8<br /> I'm pretty much the same way. I identified the spider in the picture immideately, and I will recognize a spider on the wall from across the room. No matter the size, I always recognize spiders immideatly.</p> <p>I do not react to insects, or other arthropodes, only spiders. I didn't even flinch when a large housecentipede ran across the wall right in front of my face, but came close to hyperventilating and exiting the car at speed when I discovered a spider on the inside of the windshield... We only have to fear fear itself.. and spiders :)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342724&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="QDA3G9GSy83gaxpFa0IyEtY3Ntr6BFQcCUMOp186ILI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">savve (not verified)</span> on 05 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342724">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2342725" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1244279909"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Totally fucking coolio!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2342725&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="0LkFBYA83kU8ET_ocYXXJAF6x4Hzn9DEDwoQfIO5RHw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://physioprof.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Comrade PhysioProf (not verified)</a> on 06 Jun 2009 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/30317/feed#comment-2342725">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/notrocketscience/2009/06/03/spiders-gather-in-groups-to-impersonate-ants%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 03 Jun 2009 06:30:27 +0000 edyong 120170 at https://scienceblogs.com