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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: It Pays to Stay Up All Night
9 August 2012 2:00 pm
Sometimes it pays to pull an all-nighter. Researchers have shown that by sacrificing sleep, male sandpipers (Calidris melanotos) out-compete their rested counterparts for mates. To make the discovery, scientists caught almost all of the males and a few females from a population of sandpipers living on the Arctic tundra. They fitted the animals with brain activity monitors to track their sleep and GPS-like tags to follow how many different females they mated with. During the birds' 3-week breeding period, males stayed awake between 55% and 95% of the time. Those that dozed the least performed more courtship displays, such as dancing, for females. They were also more likely to sire offspring. Males that got almost no sleep fathered at least eight baby sandpipers, while those that slept for up to 55% of the time were lucky to father one, the team reports online today in Science. The researchers suspect that a genetic trait may make some males more able to forgo sleep than others, and this trait might be one that females look for in a good mate. Regardless of the reason, the early bird may get the worm, but the one that stays up all night gets all the action.
See more ScienceShots.