Cover: The water bug Aphelocheirus aestivalis spends its whole life submerged, using a plastron – a permanent air film held in place by millions of tiny hairs – to gain oxygen from the surrounding water. Seymour et al. (pp. 2840-2846) measured the oxygen concentration within the plastron and the surrounding water. A 500-µm-thick zone with reduced oxygen (‘boundary layer’) around the bug guarantees oxygen supply in inactive bugs in stagnant water at moderate temperatures. At higher temperatures or reduced oxygen partial pressures, however, the bugs may require a thinner boundary layer, which can be achieved by swimming or living in fast-moving waters. Photo credit: Stefan K. Hetz.
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The neonicotinoid clothianidin interferes with navigation of the solitary bee Osmia cornuta in a laboratory test
Summary: The neonicotinoid clothianidin, frequently used as a pesticide in agriculture, interferes with navigation of the solitary bee Osmia cornuta in a laboratory test.
Light sensitivity in a vertebrate mechanoreceptor?
Summary: Lateral lines in the African clawed frog contain melanopsin, suggesting they might be sensitive to light as well as water displacement.
Children and adults minimise activated muscle volume by selecting gait parameters that balance gross mechanical power and work demands
Highlighted Article: The gross mechanics of walking and running children and adults support a new model for the costs dominating level terrestrial locomotion – muscle activation for mechanical work or power.
Respiratory function of the plastron in the aquatic bug Aphelocheirus aestivalis (Hemiptera, Aphelocheiridae)
Summary: The surface of the aquatic bug Aphelocheirus aestivalis is covered with a film of air that acts as a permanent gill and allows this insect to remain under water permanently.
Transient and permanent effects of suboptimal incubation temperatures on growth, metabolic rate, immune function and adrenocortical responses in zebra finches
Summary: A 1°C difference in incubation temperature reduces survival, temporarily elevates metabolic rates and adrenocortical responses, and permanently reduces body mass in zebra finches.
Skinned fibres produce the same power and force as intact fibre bundles from muscle of wild rabbits
Summary: Maximum isometric power and force from skinned and intact muscle fibres (wild rabbits, 25°C) match within experimental error, strengthening confidence in use of skinned fibres when intact fibres cannot be obtained.
Vocal differentiation parallels development of auditory saccular sensitivity in a highly soniferous fish
Highlighted Article: Vocal differentiation and parallel development between vocal–motor control and saccular sensitivity in toadfish.
Pushing the limits of glucose kinetics: how rainbow trout cope with a carbohydrate overload
Summary: Like mammals, rainbow trout have the impressive capacity to suppress hepatic glucose production completely and to stimulate disposal strongly when coping with a large glucose load.
Variation in swim bladder drumming sounds from three doradid catfish species with similar sonic morphologies
Summary: Doradid catfish produce complex, species-specific sounds, which probably result from divergent patterns of motorneuron activity.
Distinct or shared actions of peptide family isoforms: I. Peptide-specific actions of pyrokinins in the lobster cardiac neuromuscular system
Summary: Pyrokinins are located throughout the lobster cardiac ganglion, but only one crustacean pyrokinin modulates cardiac activity, suggesting high isoform specificity of the pyrokinin receptor(s) in this tissue.
Distinct or shared actions of peptide family isoforms: II. Multiple pyrokinins exert similar effects in the lobster stomatogastric nervous system
Summary: Crustaceans typically possess multiple pyrokinins; in the lobster, all isoforms tested similarly activated the gastric mill rhythm, suggesting that the pyrokinin receptor(s) in the stomatogastric nervous system is relatively promiscuous.
Predator-induced defences in Daphnia longicephala: location of kairomone receptors and timeline of sensitive phases to trait formation
Highlighted Article: Chemoreceptors for kairomone perception are localized on the first antennae of Daphnia longicephala and their role in inducible defences contributes greatly to our understanding of the neuronal and developmental mechanisms of predator-induced defences.
Developmental changes in hypoxic exposure and responses to anoxia in Drosophila melanogaster
Summary: Drosophila melanogaster larvae, which live and feed in severely hypoxic conditions under normal laboratory conditions, show strikingly different behavioral and physiological responses to anoxia from those of adults.
No functionally relevant mechanical effects of epimuscular myofascial connections between rat ankle plantar flexors
Summary: Mechanical effects of epimuscular myofascial force transmission on the joint moment exerted by rat ankle plantar flexors are not significant.
A visual horizon affects steering responses during flight in fruit flies
Summary: During flight, fruit flies track visual features more strongly if they dip below a visual horizon, consistent with using the horizon to judge distance.
Functional morphology and kinematics of terrestrial feeding in the largescale foureyes (Anableps anableps)
Highlighted Article: The largescale foureyes grasps food from the terrestrial ground using a modified version of the picking mechanism of protruding jaw motion described previously for other cyprinodontiform fishes.
Body temperature changes during simulated bacterial infection in a songbird: fever at night and hypothermia during the day
Summary: Circadian variation in body temperature is associated with (mimicked) infection; small songbirds may balance fever responses depending on their metabolic status.
Differences in scaling and morphology between lumbricid earthworm ecotypes
Summary: Comparison of the scaling and morphology between surface-dwelling and burrowing earthworm ecotypes suggests that adaptations for burrowing include a disproportionately thin body and strong longitudinal muscles.
Spectral sensitivity of cone photoreceptors and opsin expression in two colour-divergent lineages of the lizard Ctenophorus decresii
New funding schemes for junior faculty staff
In celebration of our 100th anniversary, JEB has launched two new grants to support junior faculty staff working in animal comparative physiology and biomechanics who are within five years of setting up their first lab/research group. Check out our ECR Visiting Fellowships and Research Partnership Kickstart Travel Grants. First deadline for applications is 15 July 2023.
JEB@100: an interview with Monitoring Editor Sanjay Sane
Sanjay Sane tells us about his first experience of publishing with the journal and why he thinks JEB is going to play a key role in our understanding of the current climate crisis and its implications for biodiversity.
The Forest of Biologists
The Forest of Biologists is a biodiversity initiative created by The Company of Biologists, with support from the Woodland Trust. For every Research and Review article published in Journal of Experimental Biology a native tree is planted in a UK forest. In addition to this we are protecting and restoring ancient woodland and are dedicating these trees to our peer reviewers. Visit our virtual forest to learn more.
Celebrating 100 years of discovery
This Special Issue focuses on broad biological questions addressed through the lens of comparative biomechanics. Crosscutting through time, this series of Reviews, Commentaries and Research Articles addresses questions from the vantage points of the history of the field, today’s research, and the future of comparative biomechanics. Read the Editorial by Sheila Patek, Monica Daley and Sanjay Sane.
Centenary Review - Adaptive echolocation behavior
Cynthia F. Moss and colleagues Review the behaviours used by echolocating mammals to track and intercept moving prey, interrogate dynamic sonar scenes, and exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli.
Crucial DNA at crux of insect wing size evolution
Keity Farfán-Pira and colleagues have revealed that a tiny region of regulatory DNA in the vestigial gene governs whether insect wings are large or small and has played a key role in the evolution of insect wing size.