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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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Video: Jumping Cocoons Save Caterpillars’ Lives
20 August 2013 7:15 pm
A cocooned caterpillar’s world may be small, but that doesn’t stop some of them from indulging their itch to travel. In the forests of Vietnam, the caterpillar of the Calindoea trifascialis moth prepares for its transformation by climbing a tree, wrapping itself in a bit of leaf, and sealing itself inside. Rather than staying put until it grows into its adult form, the larva wriggles around until its newly constructed home falls to the forest floor. Its journey doesn’t end there: Once on the ground, the caterpillar flexes its body in such a way that the leaf roll begins to hop, moving nearly 1 cm with each jump for up to 3 days (see video). By tracking the paths of dozens of leaf rolls, scientists observed that the bundled-up caterpillars consistently hopped away from intense light, a strategy that allowed them to find shade without needing to have a particular destination in mind, according to a study published today in Biology Letters. Although the traveling pupae do run the risk of attracting predators on the forest floor, their willingness to jump in the face of danger suggests that drying out in the sun poses the greater threat to the caterpillars as they wait to be reborn as moths.