Scientists have established common bloodsucking insect the leech as a model for a study of reproductive behavior, with some twisting and turning results.
Scientists have established common bloodsucking insect the leech as a model for a study of reproductive behavior, with some twisting and turning results. The researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, San Diego have discovered that injecting simple hormones into leeches creates a new way of seeing how hormones and the nervous system produce species-specific reproductive behavior. "Daniel Wagenaar, Broad Senior Research Fellow in Brain Circuitry at Caltech and first author of the paper, found that injecting a particular hormone into a medicinal leech (Hirudo verbana) induced a series of movements that closely mimic natural reproductive behavior, including a stereotypical 180-degree twisting of the body. Wagenaar's studies were initiated at UCSD. The twisting, which occurs with a period of approximately five minutes -- making it one of the slowest behavioral rhythms ever discovered, aside from diurnal and annual rhythms -- serves to align the reproductive pores on the ventral (under) side of one leech with the complementary pores on the ventral side of a partner, thus facilitating copulation. Without this behavior, copulation would fail."
Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.
- Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
- After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
- Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
What do we see from watching birds move across the country?
- A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
- The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
- Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
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