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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In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...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: Mantis Shrimp Has a Whole New Way to See Color
23 January 2014 2:00 pm
The mantis shrimp looks like a peacock crossed with a lobster, and it lives in equally colorful coral reefs. So it may be no surprise that the crustacean appears to use an entirely new way to detect color. Researchers report online today in Science that the animal has 12 different types of receptors in its eyes that each perceives a different wavelength. Humans and honey bees get by with just three, but they use their brains to compute the different shades. To make the discovery, the researchers trained a species of mantis shrimp (Haptosquilla trispinosa) to grab at a single wavelength by attaching food to a tiny colored light. They then gave it a choice between the color the animal recognized and a new one. As the second color became increasingly close to the one that meant food, scientists could pinpoint when the shrimp could no longer differentiate between the two wavelengths. While the animals see individual colors, such as orange and yellow, all the variations in between look the same to them. Researchers think that the mantis shrimp sacrifices accurate color definition for quick color detection. And that helps them save brainpower as they rapidly detect friends, foe, and prey among the colorful coral.
(Video credit: Video courtesy of Mike Bok)