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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
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,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Anemones Have Personality
15 July 2011 12:23 pm
For gelatinous blobs, sea anemones have a lot of personality. Animals are considered to have personalities when individuals show consistent differences in behavior across time or situations. In a paper published online this month in PLoS ONE, researchers showed that over the course of 3 weeks, individual wild beadlet anemones, Actinia equina, were remarkably reliable in how long they kept their tentacles withdrawn after being surprised by squirts of water. Each anemone maintained its "startle response" for anywhere from about 3 to 20 minutes, but the duration was roughly the same in response to every squirt. And the trend held regardless of the temperature in the anemones' tide pool homes, a variable that can affect behavior. In fact, the anemones showed more consistency than most other animals tested for personality in the wild. A variety of vertebrates and a handful of invertebrates, including octopuses and spiders—even a bacterium—are members of the personality club, but the researchers say sea anemones set a new bar as the animal with the simplest nervous system.
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