Baby chimp takes its first steps, scientists confirm male fireflies flash in sync to attract mates, researchers link parenting and homosexuality in bird species and marmots relearning society as they recover from possible extinction. Here are stories in ecology from the first week in July.
Baby steps: In the above video, a wild baby chimp takes its first steps in Jane Goodall’s sanctuary in Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa. In the background, another dances in circles. Read more at “Wild Baby Chimp Takes His First Steps.”
Flashy fireflies: Using LEDS to mimic the flashing of male fireflies, Andrew Moiseff of the University of Connecticut in Storrs and Jonathan Copeland at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro confirmed the purpose of synchronized flashing in male fireflies: attracting mates. “The females responded with their signature pattern 82 percent of the time—but only if the LEDs were synchronized. When the lights did not flash in unison, female response dropped to 10 per cent or less.” Read more at “Fireflies’ flashy mates have to be in sync.”
Fishy behavior: In a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that ocean acidification—that is, lower pH levels in the planet’s oceans due to a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide—led to changes in young fish. Namely, the fish became more disoriented and reckless, a problem that, if it becomes widespread, would cause an increase in fish mortality. Read more at “Ocean acidification may make fish foolhardy.”
Stomatopod strike: Michael Bok, moderator of the blog Anthropoda, released a photo and video (see above) of the stomatopod (mantis shrimp) Gonodactylus chiragra. According to an earlier article on the blog, “They are aggressive predators that actively seek out their prey with an advanced suite [of] visual and chemosensory organs.” Read more at “Gonodactylus chiragra (Gonodactyloidea).”
Evolution of homosexuality: According to Nature News, “Biologists had thought that homosexuality is disadvantageous on an evolutionary level because it distracts animals from pursuing sexual encounters that could result in offspring. Yet more than 130 species of birds participate in homosexual activity.” A study in the journal Animal Behavior revealed species of birds that produce offspring requiring little parenting had more time and energy to engage in same-sex behavior. Read more at “Parental care linked to homosexuality.”
Also, disappearing glaciers, the cost of sea otters, Australia turns to salt water for drinking, new species from the Census of Marine Life, David Gallo on TED video, the benefits of mangroves, defending diversity, national parks at sea and the recovery of marmots from extinction.