Inside out: cannibalism, nutrition and swarm formation in locusts

It may be difficult to picture just one locust singled out from a swarm. But believe it or not, desert locusts—insects infamous for their contribution to plagues and famine—are naturally solitary creatures. So what causes the group uprising that farmers are so familiar with? Research has shown that the internal workings of a solitary locust can affect the swarming behavior of the entire group. As described in a Live Science article,...

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From the Community: February edition

Fruit fly behavior mapped, resilience theory in an urban setting, changing the universe’s birthdate and genetic diversity in an all-female species. Here are extra news stories and studies on ecological science for the month of February: Fruit fly mapping: A computer program (see above video) developed by the California Institute of Technology tracks the movement of fruit flies in an effort to quantify their behavior. Scientists hope...

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The advantages of infidelity

Although not all birds mate for life, many do, and often mated pairs will stay together at least for the duration of a reproductive season.  Birds are sneaky, however, and some “sneaker” males will often try to stealthily mate with females within pairs.  Behavioral ecologists have many theories about why females engage in these extra-pair copulations. Since the birds can store sperm in specialized internal pouches, it may...

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