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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Coral Time Sex to the Moon
11 February 2011 12:17 pm
The romance of a full moon sometimes gets the better of Acropora palmata. The 2-millimeter-tall polyp, which forms vast coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, holes up in its marine fortress and waits for the moon to shift from its usual blue hue to a redder glow. Then it waits a bit more. If this red glow is followed by several days during which no moonlight is visible—an event that occurs only in the days following a full moon—these marine creatures know it's time for some serious synchronized sex. They release millions of eggs and sperm within a period of 20 minutes, ensuring that some young will survive parrotfish and other predators, researchers report this week in The Journal of Experimental Biology. That may explain why pilots often see red, 10-kilometer-long slicks of coral gametes a couple of days after a full moon.
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*This item has been corrected 14 February. This coral is not the Acropora millepora and forming reefs in the Southern Ocean, but rather the Acropora palmata in the Caribbean Sea.