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
(Martin Woike / Foto Natura / Minden Pictures)
Lizards on Greek islands with venomous snakes shed their tails more often than lizards on snake-free islands, according to a University of Michigan-led team. It seems the threat of being injected in the tail with venom leads lizards to sacrifice the appendage—a life-preserving act—when any predator (or researcher) clamps on.
"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.