Changes in cholesterol production lead to tragic octopus death spiral

Cholesterol metabolism is responsible for an unusual “death spiral” that some octopus mothers undergo after laying their eggs. The research, published May 12 in Current Biology, reveals that steroid hormones play critical roles in metabolism, behavior, life history and health across the animal kingdom.

These Bats Deter Predators By Buzzing Like Hornets

In Batesian mimicry, a harmless species imitates a more dangerous one in an evolutionary “ruse” that affords the mimic protection from would-be predators. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on May 9, 2022, have discovered the first case of acoustic Batesian mimicry in mammals and one of very few documented in any species: greater mouse-eared bats imitate the buzzing sound of a stinging insect to discourage predatory owls from eating them.

Matt Ajemian, Ph.D., Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Matt Ajemian, Ph.D., has received a $1,103,081 NSF CAREER grant for a project that will build fundamental knowledge on where and when large shell-crushing predators feed in order to ensure a sustainable future for shellfish species. Further, the work can provide guidance to shellfish restoration programs that are currently “flying blind” with respect to predation risk.

Novel Tag Provides First Detailed Look into Goliath Grouper Behavior

A study is the first to reveal detailed behavior of massive goliath groupers. Until now, no studies have documented their fine-scale behavior. What is known about them has been learned from divers, underwater video footage, and observing them in captivity. Using a multi-sensor tag with a three axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer as well as a temperature, pressure and light sensor, a video camera and a hydrophone, researchers show how this species navigates through complex artificial reef environments, maintain themselves in high current areas, and how much time they spend in different cracks and crevices – none of which would be possible without the tag.

‘Octo Girl’ Takes a Deep Dive to Discover How Diverse Octopus Species Coexist

A first in situ, long-term study explored how the common octopus, a medium-sized octopus widely distributed in tropical and temperate seas worldwide and the Atlantic longarm octopus, a small species of octopus found in the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere, coexist by examining their foraging habits and tactics, diet, behaviors and when they are active or inactive. Results show that their very different behaviors and habits is exactly how these two species coexist in a shallow Florida lagoon- even at high densities.

URI students learn about animal behavior by training chickens to perform tasks

Each of the 13 students in URI Assistant Professor Justin Richard’s class is assigned a chicken and is instructed to train it to do several required behaviors, as well as other behaviors the students choose themselves. All train the birds to understand that when they hear a clicker, a food reward will be delivered. They also train the birds to peck at a target. Some students are also training their chickens to get on a scale to be weighed, identify a particular color, or jump through a hoop.

The secret social lives of giant poisonous rats

A new study confirmed that the rabbit-sized rodent sequesters poison from the bark of Acokanthera schimperi, known as the poison arrow tree, into specialized fur for defense. The researchers also discovered an unexpected social life—the rats appear to be monogamous and may even form small family units with their offspring.

Urban gulls adapt foraging schedule to human activity patterns

If you’ve ever seen a seagull snatch some fries or felt their beady eyes on your sandwich in the park, you’d be right to suspect they know exactly when to strike to increase their chances of getting a human snack.

A new study by the University of Bristol is the most in-depth look to date at the foraging behaviours of urban gulls and how they’ve adapted to patterns of human activity in a city.

Mapping Cavefish Brains Leads to Neural Origin of Behavioral Evolution

While studied for nearly a century, little is known about how cavefish brains differ. A study is the first to look inside their brains with millimeter resolution to start to understand how the individual neurons and brain regions that drive complex behaviors, including sleep and feeding have evolved. This work has broad implications for the understanding of how brains evolve in many different animal models and is hoped to be widely used by the scientific community.

Meet the hedge fund managers of avian world

In uncertain times, it makes sense to manage risk in your endeavors — whether it’s investing in money-making opportunities or deciding where to lay your eggs. Brood parasites are birds that are known to lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. Cowbirds and cuckoos are among the most famous examples of this group.

Like Humans, Beluga Whales Form Social Networks Beyond Family Ties

A groundbreaking study is the first to analyze the relationship between group behaviors, group type, group dynamics, and kinship of beluga whales in 10 locations across the Arctic. Results show that not only do beluga whales regularly interact with close kin, including close maternal kin, they also frequently associate with more distantly related and unrelated individuals. Findings will improve the understanding of why some species are social, how individuals learn from group members and how animal cultures emerge.

Can’t Touch This! Video Shows Blacktip Sharks Use Shallow Water to Flee Huge Predators

Aerial drone footage provides the first evidence of adult blacktip sharks using shallow waters as a refuge from a huge predator – the great hammerhead. Before this study, documentation of adult sharks swimming in shallower waters to avoid predation did not exist. Unmanned aerial vehicles enable scientists to unobtrusively observe behaviors in the wild, providing insight into seldom-seen predator-prey interactions. When it comes to sharks, this “hammerhead” time video proves you “can’t touch this.”