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
Termite queens from a species in Japan have an unusual way of reproducing: they clone themselves, according to new genetic research from Okayama University and elsewhere. The cloned queens accelerate the colony population growth by mating with its king. And because the clones were not sired by the king to begin with, the colony minimizes a problem common in royal families: inbreeding.
"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.