Bluefin Killifish, L. Brian Stauffer Biology Zoology 

Bluefin Killifish Flamboyant Fin Colors

Fish use their fins for swimming, but fins can also advertise a fish’s social status and health. In a new study, researchers report that for the male bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei), each colorful fin communicates different messages to other fish. They’re called “bluefin” killifish, but these fish often have red, yellow and/or black markings on their fins. University of Illinois animal biology professor Rebecca Fuller noticed these colorful fins while snorkeling in Florida and decided to find out what causes the variation. “In some of the males, the anal fin was…

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Gecko Foot (Emily Kane, UC Riverside) Biology New Technologies Zoology 

Agile Robots Inspired by Gecko Feet

An in depth study of how a gecko’s feet work could lead to designs for more agile robots that can maneuver on complex surfaces. To climb steep surfaces, geckos use an adhesive system in their toes. This evolutionary innovation is how they climb vertically both up and down. On the underside of their toes are structures calledsetae, millions of very fine hair-like structures that increase the surface area and improve contact between the foot and the surface on which it rests. This adhesive system works best when the gecko plants its…

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American crocodiles basking at a swamp in La Manzanilla, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico (Tomas Castelazo) Citizen Science Zoology 

Crocodile Data Gets Crowd-sourced

Crocodiles are even more sophisticated hunters than previously understood, according to research from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, caimans) have been observed using teamwork and even tools to catch their prey. Recently, other studies have found that crocodiles and their relatives are highly intelligent animals capable of sophisticated behavior such as advanced parental care, complex communication and use of sticks as tools for hunting. These versatile animals can also climb trees. Now, Vladimir Dinets at UT’s Department of Psychology has found that crocodiles work in teams to…

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