Building on the post from Wednesday, a paper recently came out from Behavioral Ecology (A. Bahr et al., 2012 click here for a link to the paper) investigating the potbellied seahorse mating system. Although the seahorse mating system is based on female competition and male mate choice, this work suggests that both sexes actually exert a preference for mate choice. The authors investigated olfactory cues in the form of major histocompatibility class II beta chains (MHIIb) and also visual cues of body size. Results suggest that males prefer and mate with larger females, but disregard MHIIb cues. Conversely, females show a preference for males that are dissimilar in regards to MHIIb, but have no preference for body size. In conclusion, the authors posit this system is actually mutual mate choice and not simply male mate choice.
If you missed the video of the potbellied seahorse courtship you can find it below.
The potbellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) mating system is considered to be male choice with female competition. Watch the video below of their courtship dance moves.
Male competition for mating is fierce as you can see in this video from National Geographic below. (Disclaimer: I hate that they’ve named the male turtle)
If you’ve ever had important weekend guests that you want to impress you know that decorating your place can be costly in terms of time and resources. The male bowerbird knows this all too well.
Bowerbirds are known to reuse nonbodily ornaments from years past to redecorate. Just like your Mom at Christmastime, these guys are trekking down to the basement to bring out the old stuff. This saves your family time and resources that would be spent on new stuff and presumably does the same for the bowerbird. Natalie Doerr in a recent Animal Behaviour article (click here for the link to the full paper) examined great bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis) behavior and matched up males with similar numbers of ornaments. The decorations were removed for the test male and his control counterpart kept all of his decorations. The author found, not surprisingly that the males that lost their past ornaments acquired and stole more ornaments than their control counterparts. Interestingly, there was a positive correlation between the original number of ornaments and the number obtained after removal. If males are recycling the ornaments from the past then superior males (in terms of ornaments) will compound their advantage over other males year after year making it easier for females to distinguish the best dressed nest.
If you missed the past post on bowerbirds, then check it out below.
Posted in Birds
These swarthy little mammals hang out in Africa and the Middle East and have been blowing up in the news recently. They are in the family Procaviidae which is the only living family in Hydrocoidea. Interestingly, they have multi-chambered stomach, but they are definitely not ruminants. Even more remarkable, is their song which is a mammal freestyle like you’ve never seen. Check out the video below from Arik Kershenbaum from the University of Haifa.
Posted in Mammals
There is a recent natural history article in the Journal of Herpetology (click here for the link from D. E. Lee et al., 2012) describing the Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris). The authors have characterized the basic life history traits of this salamander by capture-mark-recapture studies covering a 4 year span. This information is important for many areas of future research, but specifically this will aid in future conservation endeavors.
Oh yeah and this little guy has TEETH!
Basic life-history information like this is still lacking in many species because it is difficult to find funding. Check out the link above to read more about this salamander or click here to see more California salamanders.
Springtails (Collembola) are hexapods but not insects, being members of the insects’ sister class Entognatha (which also includes proturans and diplurans). They are tiny (<6mm), and numerous, occurring at densities up to around 100,000 per square meter of topsoil. They are important components of forest floor ecosystems, and some species can also be found floating on the surface of stagnant water.
Their name comes from the tail-like furcula folded beneath their body which is used for jumping (see video below).
Here is another video from Preston Guerra of some springtails: