Life as We Know It
Flight of the hummingbird, termite cloning and the rise of the octopus
- By Joseph Caputo, T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Abigail Tucker and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, June 2009
How do birds and flying insects control a turn? According to high-speed video studies of seven species by the university of Delaware and North Carolina, they flap, say, the right wing more vigorously than the other to start a left turn—then flap both symmetrically to straighten out. Surprisingly, the technique is the same for creatures from fruit flies and moths to hummingbirds and cockatoos.
"Tail Shedding in Island Lizards [Lacertidae, Reptilia]: Decline of Antipredator Defenses in Relaxed Predation Environments," P. Pafilis et al., Evolution, May 2009.
"New Octopods (Cephalopoda: Coleoidea) from the Late Cretaceous (Upper Cenomanian) of Hâkel and Hâdjoula, Lebanon," Dirk Fuchs et al., Palaeontology, December 31, 2008.
"Queen Succession Through Asexual Reproduction in Termites," Kenji Matsuura et al., Science, March 27, 2009.
"Wingbeat Time and the Scaling of Passive Rotational Damping in Flapping Flight," Tyson L. Hedrick et al., Science, April 10, 2009.
"Selection for Vulnerability to Angling in Largemouth Bass," David Philipp et al., Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, January 2009.