Sawtooth Feather Starfish (Oligometra serripinna).
[Photo by BBM Explorer.]
MBARI researchers discover what vampire squids eat
(it’s not what you think)
About 100 years ago, marine biologists hauled the first vampire squid up from the depths of the sea. Since that time, perhaps a dozen scientific papers have been published on this mysterious animal, but no one has been able to figure out exactly what it eats. A new paper by MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Henk-Jan Hoving and Senior Scientist Bruce Robison shows for the first time that, unlike its relatives the octopuses and squids, which eat live prey, the vampire squid uses two thread-like filaments to capture bits of organic debris that sink down from the ocean surface into the deep sea…
(photos/read more: MBARI)
No GPS Needed: Bumblebees Find Their Own Flight Paths
by Virginia Morell
Bumblebees foraging in flowers for nectar are like salesmen traveling between towns: Both seek the optimal route to minimize their travel costs. Mathematicians call this the “traveling salesman problem,” in which scientists try to calculate the shortest possible route given a theoretical arrangement of cities.
Bumblebees, however, take the brute-force approach: For them, it’s simply a matter of experience, plus trial and error, scientists report in the current issue of PLoS Biology. The study, the first to track the movements of bumblebees in the field, also suggests that bumblebees aren’t using cognitive maps—mental recreations of their environments—as some scientists have suggested, but rather are learning and remembering the distances and directions that need to be flown to find their way from nest to field to home again…
(read more: Science NOW) (image: Andrew Martin)
The phylum Tardigrada is comprised of the waterbears. These are very hardy organisms and true survivors, capable of living even in the vacuum of space.
Though some species are known to eat plants or bacteria, the Tardigrade pictured above, Paramacrobiotus craterlaki, is predatory, with both rotifers and nematodes being prey items.
Photo credit: Eye of Science/Science Photo Library