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Crocodile Eyes are Designed for Lurking and Hunting

Crocodile eyes are watching you. The thought of being stalked by a crocodile is enough to make anyone sweat profusely. In some parts of the world nipping to the waters edge for a quick drink is not good advice. Crocodiles aren’t just scary to most people simply because they have huge teeth and a fierce bite, though. Crocodiles lurk and pounce on their prey in a violent attack appears to come from out of the blue. The crocs you see will lurk just beneath the water, with only their devious mean looking eyes keeping a lookout for something delicious — like one of us for example.

In a recent study it has been shown that a crocs eyesight is pretty decent indeed. The new research shows that, while a crocodile may not have as good eyesight as you or I for example, it’s vision is well adapted for craftily lying in wait at the water’s surface for the perfect moment to strike and lunge at it’s unsuspecting prey.

Crocodile Eyes are Designed for Lurking and Hunting

Nicolas Nagloo and his academic colleagues from the University of Western Australia in Crawley recently investigated the eyes that were taken from three young saltwater crocodiles and also two young freshwater crocodiles.

“Both Australian species of crocodile possess a bright yellow iris, a slit pupil and a relatively large lens,” the team notes. Such features in the crocodiles eyes, that were known before this study, are useful for seeing prey and other objects in low light. (The animals, though, don’t have great vision underwater.) Crocodiles also possess a “mobile slit retina” which assists the crocs in controlling just how much light reaches the eye during the day time.

A study of the cells and dissections of the crocodile eyes revealed three types of single cones. This suggest that the crocodiles can see colors in their field of vision pretty well. However the freshwater crocs appear to be a bit more sensitive to the color red than their saltwater cousins. These crocs which are known as salties in Australia may help the freshies see better in streams and rivers.

Each species of crocodile further have a horizontal streak of high spatial acuity. This acuity is what enables the crocs to search for their prey without ever having to move their heads. Meaning that they do not have to make any movement that might give the game away.

That the two species of crocodile have eyes that are so strikingly  similar is somewhat interesting given that these are crocodiles and reptiles separated by some 12 million years of independent evolution. They live in different habitats and prefer to hunt for different prey. for example the freshwater crocs prefer smaller animals and more marine life. Yet each species of crocodile have developed a similar style of hunting their prey.

A style in which the crocs lurk menacingly just beneath the water line and scan the immediate surroundings for a suitable tasty meal. The crocodiles, this research demonstrates have eyes that are specialized to aid in such attacks. Beware the next time you head down to the waters edge. You never know what might be there just under the surface of the water.

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We’ve all watched Winnie the Pooh growing up, and that teddy bear was one chubby and tough cookie! Could have been all that honey?

Well, our grandmothers, mothers, and now researchers, think so! Apparently, honey is akin to liquid gold, loaded with hidden benefits to be reaped by a spoonful a day.

Honey for Allergy Relief

Honey’s anti-inflammatory properties could help relieve seasonal allergies.

A Great Energy Booster

The natural unprocessed fructose and glucose directly enter your blood stream giving you a short-termed but high boost of energy!

Honey for the Memory

Honey is very rich in antioxidants – not only flavor – that can help prevent cellular damage and loss in the brain.

 

An Effective Cough Syrup

The golden potion’s thick consistency can help coat your throat and the sweet flavor is said to trigger nerve endings and soothe the need to cough.

Have A Goodnight’s Sleep

Honey causes insulin to steadily rise in our blood. This rise in insulin then causes the tryptophan also in the honey to enter our brain, convert into serotonin, and then melatonin which is a sleep aid!

Honey for a Dandruff-free hair

Research has found that applying honey diluted with warm water for 3 hours to an irritated scalp relieved the itch and the scaliness within a week!

Heals Your Wounds and Burns

This rich liquid contains natural antibiotics that can treat inside and out. So applying honey to wounds and burns can disinfect them from major bacteria.

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Plenty of Prey Doesn’t Always Mean More Predators, New Study Reveals

Scientists have discovered what is said to be a strange law of nature where the number of predators isn’t directly proportional to prey.

Even when prey is in large numbers, the number of predator like lions, whales, hyenas etc, does not increase.

The researchers found that the pattern applies to both big and small sea creatures like zooplanktons which feed on phytoplankton.

“Where prey are abundant, there are not proportionally more predators,” revealed the study, which examined data dating back 50 years on animals and plants around 2,260 ecosystems in 1,512 separate locations around the world, including lakes, oceans, forests and grassland.

The usual case would have been predators rise in number to match the available number of prey, but the number of predators is limited by the pace at which prey multiply.

In a crowded habitat, prey multiplies at a slower rate than they did in a habitat where the number of prey around were fewer, meaning that the competition for available sources could be limiting prey offspring.

Until now, the assumption has been that when there is a lot more prey, you would expect correspondingly more predators,” said Ian Hatton, study lead author and doctoral student at the McGill University. “But as we looked at the numbers, we discovered instead, that in the lushest ecosystems, no matter where they are in the world, the ration of predators to their prey is greatly reduced.”

“This is because with greater crowding, prey species have fewer offspring for every individual. In effect, the prey’s rates of reproduction are limited, which limited the abundance of predators,” he said.

According to Kevin McCann, co-author of the study and researcher at Guelph University’s department of integrated biology, they were astonished by what they consider as an “amazing pattern.”

This finding shows that top predators are fewer than expected in an ecosystem that is ricj in resources that in ecosystems that is poor in resources.

This study is important as it will help conservationists to monitor endangered species and could also be a great indicator of the expected number of large predators in a given habitat based on the number of available prey.

“Confirming these hypotheses would mark a major milestone in ecosystem science,” said an assistant editor in the journal Science by Just Cebrian, professor at University of South Alabama’s department of marine sciences.

Source: http://news.discovery.com/animals/endangered-species/predator-numbers-dont-always-increase-with-prey-150906.htm

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The panther chameleon changes its colors rapidly to hide its self, but researchers just figured the  biggest breakthrough this colorful chameleon has been hiding all along. Apparently, they figured out that it was hiding 10 different extra species.

Geneticists from the University of Geneva and the University of Antananarivo recently started researching the genetics behind this amazing feature. This chameleon is found in Madagascar and no other place else. Due to the shrinking of the wilderness, the researcher’s trip took longer in order to collect 300 blood samples from the panther chameleon.

After analyzing 300 blood samples, they discovered that they have overestimated the chameleons range and underestimated its species number. They thought they the panther chameleon was only one type of specie that lived all over Madagascar, but after studying their genetic makeup, they found out that it was actually 11 different species of panther chameleon spreading all over the island. They also hardly mated outside their community.

Evolution and biophysics professor Michel Milinkovitch and colleagues, hope to build upon earlier research that showed how chameleons change color through active tuning of a range of guanine nanocrystals.

Their team is trying to discover the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms that make the panther chameleon change its color. The panther chameleon whom was once considered as a single species now turns into 11 single species in different parts of the island. They also found that this is a result of biological inheritance not geographical.

The amazing discovery has been published in the latest issue of the Molecular Ecology journal.

They change into many ranges of colors, such as reds, oranges, blues, yellows and greens. This research adds to the diversity of Madagascar, which is considered the most diverse place on Earth and home to the most unique species, the research team from Geneva states.

The chameleon is one of the oldest creatures inhabiting our planet with over 180 different species. It’s an old class of lizards that is close to the resemblance of dinosaurs, researchers add. They have unique features that adds to their ancient features such as zygodactylous feet, long tongues, rotating and popped out eyeballs and deep crests on their heads. The inhabit many rainfalls and deserts throughout the planet, as their main preference is a warm climate.