Behavior brief

A round up of recent discoveries in behavior research

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Mar 30, 2011
Scared mama birds hatch long-winged chicks
Image: Flickr, linkurl:Kev Chapman;http://www.flickr.com/photos/25553993@N02/5346613557/
What mom doesn't get stressed out every now and then? Stress is usually considered a bad thing, but new research suggests that mom's stress can actually give her future offspring certain physical advantages, at least in the case of one bird species. A few years ago, experiments on barn swallows demonstrated that when ovulating females were exposed to models of predators, their eggs had higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone, which resulted in reduced hatchability and smaller fledglings. A study published this month in linkurl:Functional Ecology;http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01834.x/abstract shows that nesting great tits exposed to stuffed models and audio calls of their predators also have smaller offspring, but the chicks' wings actually grow faster and longer, resulting in wings about 1.8 millimetres longer than the offspring of less stressed mothers -- a difference that might make the birds better...
NatureMonkeys bathe in urine to attract mates
Image: Flickr, linkurl:kansasphoto;http://www.flickr.com/photos/34022876@N06/3437234890/
American Journal of PrimatologyBBCElephants, smart and cooperativeProceedings of the Royal Society of London BWired Science

OH NO! OH NO! from Science News on Vimeo.

Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesFinding the shark spa
Tiger shark
Image: Flicker, linkurl:JoshBerglund19;http://www.flickr.com/photos/tyrian123/479212382/
PLoS ONEBBCJournal of Animal Ecology40-million-year-old sexBiological Journal of the Linnean SocietyDiscovery News






J Anim Ecol
Proc Biol Sci

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