Wild Things: Mongooses, Bladderworts and More...
Fairy-wrens, wasps, and a nearly 3,000 year old big toe
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Laura Helmuth, Jesse Rhodes and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, April 2011
Juvenile Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo). (Mark Macewen / Peter Arnold)
Banded mongooses, small striped carnivores from sub-Saharan Africa, have unusually high "breeding synchrony"—64 percent of females give birth on the very same night. A 12-year study in Uganda reveals the reason for this phenomenon. If a mommy mongoose gives birth too early, other adults in the group may kill the new pup. And if a pup is born too late, it is too small to compete with larger litter mates and is more likely to starve.
Learn more about the banded mongoose at the Encyclopedia of Life.
“A Mechanical Signal Biases Caste Development in a Social Wasp,” Sainath Suryanarayanan et al., Current Biology, January 20, 2011
“Ultra-fast underwater suction traps,” Olivier Vincent et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, February 16, 2011
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“Reproductive competition and the evolution of extreme birth synchrony in a cooperative mammal,” S. J. Hodge et al., Biology Letters, August 4, 2010