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Latest Biota Stories

2011-01-27 15:30:39

New molecular evidence reveals a new species of grey wolf living in Africa. Formerly confused with golden jackals, and thought to be an Egyptian subspecies of jackal, the new African wolf shows that members of the grey wolf lineage reached Africa about 3 million years ago, before they spread throughout the northern hemisphere. As long ago as 1880 the great evolutionary biologist Thomas Huxley commented that Egyptian golden jackals "“ then as now regarded as a subspecies of the golden...

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2010-12-06 10:55:00

Researchers at Universit© Laval, in collaboration with Nova Scotia Agricultural College, have discovered what causes Christmas tree needles to drop off, and how to double the lifespan of Christmas trees in homes. The authors presented their findings in a recent issue of the scientific journal Trees. The researchers have identified a plant hormone"”ethylene"”responsible for needle loss in balsam fir. They made the discovery by placing fir branches in containers of water inside...

2010-10-29 14:20:00

An international team of mycologists and ecologists studying Atlantic sea turtles at Cape Verde have discovered that the species is under threat from a fungal infection which targets eggs. The research, published in FEMS Microbiology Letters, reveals how the fungus Fusarium solani may have played a key role in the 30-year decline in turtle numbers. "In the past 30 years we have witnessed an abrupt decline in the number of nesting beaches of sea turtles worldwide," said Drs. Javier...

2010-04-21 13:20:00

MANDEVILLE, La., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Two videos of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker have been obtained in the Pearl River in Louisiana, where there is a history of reports of this elusive species. One of the videos provides the first new facts about this iconic species since the work of James Tanner was published in 1942 and reveals that there had been a misconception about the way it flies. The scientist who obtained the videos has documented serious issues that have come to light during...

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2010-03-04 08:45:00

Biologging "“ the use of miniaturized electronic tags to track animals in the wild "“ has revealed previously unknown and suprising behaviors, movements, physiology and environmental preferences of a wide variety of ocean animals. For instance, biologgers have recorded 5,000 foot (1,550 m) dives by Atlantic bluefin tuna, followed journeys of elephant seals halfway across the Pacific from their breeding beaches, and observed annual 40,000 mile migrations of sooty shearwaters...

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2010-02-27 09:10:00

The flowering plant - purple loosestrife - has been heading north since it was first introduced from Europe to the eastern seaboard 150 years ago. This exotic invader chokes out native species and has dramatically altered wetland habitats in North America. But it turns out it may have a vulnerability after all: the northern climate. Canadian scientists have found that adapting to the Great White North carries a severe reproductive penalty that may limit its spread. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum...

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2010-02-25 10:00:00

Life can be scary for endangered loggerhead sea turtles immediately after they hatch. After climbing out of their underground nest, the baby turtles must quickly traverse a variety of terrains for several hundred feet to reach the ocean. While these turtles' limbs are adapted for a life at sea, their flippers enable excellent mobility over dune grass, rigid obstacles and sand of varying compaction and moisture content. A new field study conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of...

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2009-07-14 11:35:00

'Passive' mate guarding influenced evolution of lemur sizeWhen it comes to investigating mysteries, Sherlock Holmes has nothing on Rice University biologist Amy Dunham. In a newly published paper, Dunham offers a new theory for one of primatology's long-standing mysteries: Why are male and female lemurs the same size? In most primate species, males have evolved to be much larger than females. Size is an advantage for males that guard females to keep other males from mating with them, and...

2009-06-23 09:25:26

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to eat California Prime Produce- or Orange County Orchards-brand pistachios. FDA officials said Orca Distribution West Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., received and repackaged pistachios recalled by Setton Pistachios of Terra Bella Inc. Setton had recalled all of its pistachios because of possible salmonella contamination that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. The products were distributed to retail locations in airports and...

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2009-06-11 09:05:00

Reindeer and caribou populations are declining around the world, from Alaska and Canada, to Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia. The iconic deer is incredibly important to indigenous groups in the north. However, it is growing trickier for the deer to live in a world growing hotter from climate change and changed by industrial development. Reindeer and caribou all belong to the same species, Rangier tarandus. Caribou live in Canada, Alaska and Greenland, while reindeer live in Russia, Norway,...


Latest Biota Reference Libraries

Natterjack Toad, Epidalea calamita
2014-09-16 16:07:34

The natterjack toad, Epidalea Calamita, formerly Bufo calamita, is a toad endemic to sandy and heathland areas of Europe. The adults are about 60 to 70 millimeters long and are set apart from common toads by a yellow colored line that runs down the middle of the back. They have fairly short legs, and this provides them with a characteristic step, compared to the hopping movement of many other toad species. Natterjacks have a very loud and distinct mating call, amplified by the single vocal...

Montezuma Pine, Pinus montezumae
2014-07-15 13:27:17

Montezuma pine (Pinus montezumae) is native to Mexico and Central America and grows in the mountain ranges. This tree is known as ocote by the locals of Mexico. This tree has been planted successfully at mid altitudes in South Africa and Queensland, Australia, and at high altitudes in Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Bolivia. Trees planted in New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia have done well at sea level. The Montezuma pine grows at 6,562-10,500 feet above sea level where...

Macedonian Pine, Pinus peuce
2014-07-15 13:08:24

Macedonian Pine (Pinus peuce) is native to Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, southwest Serbia, as well as the extreme north of Greece. This pine has been neutralized and grows in Eastern Finland. This pine grows best at altitudes between 3,281feet and 7,218 feet with a few growing as low as 1,969 feet and as high as 7,546 feet. This pine tolerates shade as well as extreme cold, and grows in rocky soils that are acidic and poor in nutrients. This tree grows to heights...

Japanese White Pine, Pinus parviflora
2014-07-15 12:15:14

Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora) is native to Japan and found growing in Kokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikaku; and South Korea, and Utsurio-To. The Japanese call it the Japanese five-needle pine. The Japanese White Pine grows from sea level up to 8,202 feet, but grows best between 3,281 feet and 4,921 feet. Dwarfism sets in when the trees grow above sub-alpine levels. This pine grows on steep, rocky slopes and prefers well-drained soils and full sun although it does not like intense...

Chinese White Pine, Pinus armandii
2014-07-14 16:49:23

Chinese White Pine (Pinus armandii) is native to China as well as northern Burma. This pine is known as Mount Hua pine in Chinese. This pine grows at altitudes between 3,281 and 10,830 feet in light sandy to medium soils that is acidic and well-drained as this tree can tolerate drought. This tree grows to heights of 115 feet with a trunk diameter that measures 3 feet 3 inches. The bark is grayish brown when immature and matures to blackish brown to grayish red brown. The trunk will have...

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Word of the Day
maffling
  • To stammer.
  • Present participle of maffle, to stammer.
  • A simpleton.
The word 'maffle' may come from a Dutch word meaning 'to move the jaws' or a French word meaning 'having large cheeks'.