Seemingly dead cells perform a surprising task in the lens of a fish eye. Every morning and evening they change the lens’s capacity to refract light in order to enhance color perception during the day and night vision when it’s dark. This is shown in new research from Lund University in Sweden.
Parents and school nurses take note. Lice are a familiar nuisance around the world and vectors of serious diseases, such as epidemic typhus, in developing regions. New research indicates that lice may actually be quite unique in the animal world. In a study published online in Genome Research, scientists have analyzed the mitochondrial genome of the human body louse and discovered that it is fragmented into many pieces – a remarkable finding in animals that will surely spark discussion about how it evolved and what advantages it might confer.
Killing just the older mosquitoes would be a more sustainable way of controlling malaria, according to entomologists who add that the approach may lead to evolution-proof insecticides that never become obsolete.
One of the perplexing questions raised by evolutionary theory is how cooperative behavior, which benefits other members of a species at a cost to the individual, came to exist. Cooperative behavior has puzzled biologists because if only the fittest survive, genes for a behavior that benefits everybody in a population should not last and cooperative behavior should die out, says Jeff Gore, a Pappalardo postdoctoral fellow in MIT’s Department of Physics.
It fits on a fingertip: Noblella pygmaea is a midget frog, the smallest ever found in the Andes and among the smallest amphibians in the world. Only its croaking was to be heard from the leaves on the mossier ground of the “elfin forests” in the highlands of Manu National Park, before German and Peruvian herpetologists discovered the tiny little thing in south-eastern Peru.