From the Community: Giant monitor lizard, seafloor scavengers and fruit fly aerodynamics

Climate change prompts migratory birds to stay home, Simpsons’ writer talks conservation and the U.K. announces newest and largest MPA. Here’s what is happening in ecology from the second week in April.

Fruit flies in flight: Scientists analyze the locomotion of fruit flies and determine the key to their quick turnaround is simply a 9 degree wing-tilt difference (see above). Read more at “High-Speed Video Shows How Flies Change Direction So Quickly.”

Komodo’s cousin: A new species of giant monitor lizard was discovered in the forests of the northern Philippines. The Varanus bitatawa, which grows to about 2 meters long, is a fruit-eating cousin of the Komodo dragon. Read more and see a photo at “Giant, fruit-eating monitor lizard discovered in the Philippines.”

Seafloor scavengers:  In a study in the April issue in Ecology, Craig McClain and colleagues show the effects of excess food on smaller sediment-dwellers as larger scavengers appear in Monterey Bay (see above). Read more at “When the dinner bell rings for seafloor scavengers, larger animals get first dibs.”

Migratory to resident: Researchers find that blackcaps are adapting to climate change in unexpected ways: by migrating to different areas and shortening the length of their migration in order to conserve energy for breeding and eating. Read more at “Migratory Birds’ New Climate Change Strategy: Stay Home.”

Celebrity conservation: In a new Conservation International effort TeamEarth, former Simpsons writer George Meyer speaks with amphibian expert Claude Gascon on the impact climate change is having on frogs (listen above). Read more and catch the next installment, which will feature guitarist Stone Gossard from the band Pearl Jam, at “Voices of Team Earth.”

Also, the U.K. announces largest new marine protected area in the Chagos Islands, pitcher plants indirectly exposed to toxic cadmium, three studies on sustainability and caterpillars thriving on land and in water.

Author: Katie Kline

Moderator of EcoTone and ESA's communications officer.

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