Scientists recorded the sounds that red-bellied piranhas use to communicate with one another and identified three types of vocalizations. The findings are reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology and described in Inside JEB . Authors Sandie Millot, Pierre Vandewalle, and Eric Parmentier from the University of Liege, Belgium, knew that the fish produced some sounds, but did not know why or in what contexts. The researchers recorded the sounds of captive piranhas with a hydrophone (an underwater microphone) while also filming the fish as they interacted. The fish were generally silent and peaceful, cruising around their tank. Vocalizations were only produced during rare confrontations, usually over food. Three distinct types of sounds were recorded. The. . . Read More
See my most recent post on the AAAS Qualia Blog ( pdf or link ). I discuss a recent piece by Morgan Giddings published on the-scientist.com about her decision to leave academia and what she thinks is wrong with the current system.
The chytrid fungal disease chytridiomycosis is a major player in the worldwide amphibian decline. The disease, and the fungus that causes it (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), are more prevalent in some frog species and populations than others. Two recent studies reveal how some frogs gain resistance. Genetic Differences in Immunity Researchers from Cornell University looked at the genetic basis of natural variation in susceptibility to the fungus in lowland leopard frogs. Their findings were published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (‘ MHC genotypes associate with resistance to a frog-killing fungus ‘). The authors focused on differences in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a key part of the immune system. MHC proteins only recognize certain pathogens. Their job. . . Read More