Wild Things: Life as We Know It
Hummingbirds, birch trees, queen bees, northern quolls and more...
- By Amanda Bensen, T.A. Frail, Erica R. Hendry, Abigail Tucker and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, June 2010
The purple-throated cari (Ethan Temeles)
Name: The purple-throated carib (Eulampis jugularis), a Caribbean hummingbird that feeds on the nectar of Heliconia flowers
Fighters? Males defend unusually large territories.
Lovers? Their territories include a Heliconia species whose nectar only female E. jugularis can reach with their long, curved beaks. Males gain an advantage in mating by allowing females to feed on the flowers.
Farmers? It’s the first time researchers have documented male birds guarding a food only females eat. Study authors W. John Kress of Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Ethan Temeles of Amherst College call it “nectar farming.”
Learn more about the purple-throated carib at the Encyclopedia of Life.
“Birch (Betula spp.) leaves adsorb and re-release volatiles specific to neighbouring plants – a mechanism for associational herbivore resistance?” Sari J. Himanen et al., New Phytologist, March 10, 2010
“A seasnake’s colour affects its susceptibility to algal fouling,” R. Shine et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, April 7, 2010
“Mate choice and mate competition by a tropical hummingbird at a floral resource,” Ethan J. Temeles and W. John Kress, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, February 3, 2010
“Socially induced brain development in a facultatively eusocial sweat bee Megalopta genalis (Halictidae),” Adam R. Smith et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, March 24, 2010
“Conditioned taste aversion enhances the survival of an endangered predator imperiled by a toxic invader,” Stephanie O’Donnell et al., Journal of Applied Ecology, April 13, 2010