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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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Video: The Secret of Schreckstoff
23 February 2012 12:20 pm
Call it the fish version of instant messaging. When a fish is injured, it secretes a compound that makes other fish dart away (as seen in the latter half of the sped up video above, when the red light flashes). The substance, named Schreckstoff (German for "scary stuff"), protects the entire community of fish, but no one knew how it worked. Now they do, thanks to an analysis of fish mucus reported today in Current Biology. The key ingredient in Schreckstoff is a sugar called chondroitin sulfate, which is found in abundance in fish skin. When the skin is torn, enzymes break the compound down into sugar fragments that activate an unusual class of sensory neurons known as crypt cells in other fish. And the fish take off.
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