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The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine tells WMTW-TV this type of two-tone lobster is one in 50 million. Only albino lobsters are rarer.
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Sep. 3, 2013 — Many deep-sea animals such as anglerfish use parts of their body as lures to attract prey. Some deep-sea squids may use this strategy as well. In a recent paper, researchers associated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) describe a deep-sea squid that appears to use a different method to lure prey -- its tentacle tips flap and flutter as if swimming on their own. The researchers hypothesize that the motion of these tentacle tips may induce small shrimp and other animals to approach within reach of the squid's arms.
If I could go back to my childhood I would have never waited for rainstorms to flush out all of the earthworms for me to grab, place on leaves, and send down the flooded gutters into the sewers. I thought it was a funny race. But now I wish I could take it all back. Because in tropical oceans there exists a worm that could violently avenge its relatives.
This is Eunice aphroditois, also known as the bobbit worm, a mix between the Mongolian death worm, the Graboids from Tremors, the Bugs from Starship Troopers, and a rainbow — but it’s a really dangerous rainbow, like in Mario Kart. And it hunts in pretty much the most nightmarish way imaginable, digging itself into the sea floor, exposing a few inches of its body — which can grow to 10 feet long — and waiting.
Using five antennae, the bobbit worm senses passing prey, snapping down on them with supremely muscled mouth parts, called a pharynx. It does this with such speed and strength that it can split a fish in two. And that, quite frankly, would be a merciful exit. If you survive initially, you get to find out what it’s like to be yanked into the worm’s burrow and into untold nightmares.
But, Lola is not just any lobster. She has a genetic mutation that's left her with 6 claws. Experts at the Aquarium say this may have been a life-long deformity, or it was just how her claw regenerated after an injury.
Lola is not alone, though. Maine State Aquarium actually has 3 lobsters with this deformity, and 2 of them are on display.
Dirk Whitsitt, a construction worker from Kansas, caught a fish of a lifetime only an hour into his first fishing trip in Alaska, and he wasn’t about to release the monster, not even for a $250 voucher for another day of fishing.
You can’t blame him, really. The Pacific halibut he hooked in 370 feet of water in Cook Inlet out of Homer, Alaska, and fought for 45 minutes wound up weighing a whopping 231 pounds.
If you are a young plant hopper, leaping one metre in a single bound, you need to push off with both hind legs in perfect unison or you might end up in a spin. Researchers have discovered that this synchrony is made possible by toothed gears that connect the two legs when the insects jump.
Zoologists Malcolm Burrows and Gregory Sutton at the University of Cambridge, UK, say that this seems to be the first example in nature of rotary motion with toothed gears. They describe their findings today in Science.
Sep. 18, 2013 — A study into the aerodynamic performance of feathered dinosaurs, by scientists from the University of Southampton, has provided new insight into the evolution of bird flight.
In recent years, new fossil discoveries have changed our view of the early evolution of birds and, more critically, their powers of flight. We now know about a number of small-bodied dinosaurs that had feathers on their wings as well as on their legs and tails: completely unique in the fossil record..
However, even in light of new fossil discoveries, there has been a huge debate about how these dinosaurs were able to fly.
Scientists from the University of Southampton hope to have ended this debate by examining the flight performance of one feathered dinosaur pivotal to this debate -- the early Cretaceous five-winged paravian Microraptor. The first theropod described with feathers on its arms, legs and tail (five potential lifting surfaces), Microraptor implies that forelimb-dominated bird flight passed through a four-wing ('tetrapteryx') phase and represents an important stage in the evolution of gliding and flapping.
The Southampton researchers performed a series of wind tunnel experiments and flight simulations on a full-scale, anatomically accurate model of Microraptor.
Results of the team's wind tunnel tests show that Microraptor would have been most stable gliding when generating large amounts of lift with its wings.. Flight simulations demonstrate that this behaviour had advantages since this high lift coefficient allows for slow glides, which can be achieved with less height loss. For gliding down from low elevations, such as trees, this slow, and aerodynamically less efficient flight was the gliding strategy that results in minimal height loss and longest glide distance.
Much debate, centred on the position and orientation of Microraptor's legs and wing shape turns out to be irrelevant -- tests show that changes in these variables make little difference to the dinosaur's flight.
The future of nanoscale electronics might be found on the back of a butterfly. A team led by Eijiro Miyako from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology used the patterns on the surface of Morpho sulkowskyi butterfly wings as a template to build carbon nanotube networks that can convert light to heat and replicate DNA sequences.
But their creation isn't just inspired by nature. It is a real hybrid of butterfly wings fused with nanocarbon that imitates traits found in nature but is also tough to reproduce through technology alone. It could potentially play a role in digital diagnosis of disease, power flexible microscopic photovoltaic cells or even help create soft wearable electronics.
The surface of Morpho wings are essentially covered in nanoscale solar cells, honeycomb-like structures that trap light, much like a fibre-optic cable, and convert it to heat to keep the insect warm in cold environments. Miyako deposited carbon nanotubes onto the butterfly wings, where they self-assembled into nanostructures that mimic the Morpho's multilayered hexagonal microstructures.
The resulting hybrid gives the term "bio-tech" new meaning: the natural pattern provided by the wings creates a large light-receiving surface area, and the physical properties of nanocarbons produce heat through vibrational energy. Lab tests confirmed that the nanotubes generate heat when struck with a laser, and Miyako says the composite material heats faster than its two components would by themselves.
Instead of digging through rocks and rubble to find fossils, a group of Canadian paleontologists decided to dig through museums’ amber collections instead. Their unique approach paid off when they discovered feathers and never-before-seen structures, which they think are something called dinofuzz. As [url=described in Science Now]described in Science Now[/url],
Some of the structures embedded in the amber don’t resemble anything seen on any creature living today.
Stephen Day wrote:
Holy crap, that's a big fish.
He's gonna need a bigger boat.
So any favorite monsters?
Gossamer spiders are best known for their bizarre “ballooning” stunts, but it’s only this week that we’ve learned how they pull them off.
They disperse by spinning strands of silk into the open air, which allows them to float through the atmosphere miles above the surface of the earth and out to sea far beyond the reach of land.
These 8-legged kites can apparently survive 25 days without food during their aeronautical journeys.
Darwin conjectured that unnoticeable thermal currents could explain the initial launch, but since the strands repelled each other, he assumed there was electrostatic force at work, too. But since the 1830s, most scientists have accepted wind to be the force of choice for directing spider flight. In 1874 a study reported that a spider “patiently waits for a breath of air to waft it across the vacant space,” and a hundred years after that, scientists still thought “aeronautic behavior is dependent upon wind currents of specific velocity and direction.”
But this week a researcher in Hawaii determined that it wasn’t wind’s thermal currents that gave the spiders lift. Their flight, he determined, is actually electrostatic. Some of that charge comes from the electrostatic field of Earth’s atmosphere. Some charge comes from friction between the silk and dry air. The rest is thought to result from the spinning process and the launch surface itself.
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