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
Solid black sea snakes (J Jue / Flickr.com)
Why are so many sea snakes striped? University of Sydney scientists say solid black sea snakes may be at a disadvantage: they are coated with more algae, which slows them down. In underwater lab tests algae bloomed faster on all-dark surfaces, the scientists found; such fuzz causes so much drag it reduces the serpents’ speed by about 20 percent. No wonder black, algae-covered snakes are more often found skulking in coral hideaways than out-and-about striped snakes.
Learn more about sea snakes 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