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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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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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