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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: How an Aphid Is Like a Cat
4 February 2013 12:10 pm
Cats always land on their feet, the old saying goes, but felines have nothing on the pea aphid. A new study shows that the tiny crop pest, Acyrthosiphon pisum, is a champion at landing right-side up after a fall, speedily rotating into a feet-down position after falling for 0.2 seconds or less. Researchers shot high-speed video of the insects as they plummeted off a plant to escape predatory ladybirds and as they were dropped from tweezers. In today's issue of Current Biology, the team reports that falling aphids all shifted their antennae slightly forward and up and moved their hind legs slightly backward and up. Modeling showed that the air resistance against the creatures' splayed appendages flipped them belly-down for a safe landing, allowing the aphids to scuttle away.
See more ScienceShots.