Summary: Robust behaviors and a simple and accessible nervous system made the leech a favorite among systems neuroscientists. Increasing use of modern techniques helps explain its continued appeal.
Highlighted Article: Tree frogs can recover elastic energy lost to springy perches when jumping, allowing robust jumping performance across highly variable perch compliances.
The big squeeze: scaling of constriction pressure in two of the world's largest snakes, Python reticulatus and Python molurus bivittatus
Summary: Constriction performance increases with size in large pythons, and involves pressures that are high enough to stop the prey's circulation and possibly disrupt neural function in the brain.
Systems genomics analysis centered on epigenetic inheritance supports development of a unified theory of biology
Summary: A novel analysis of genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic data supports integration of epigenetic inheritance with gene networks, molecular biology, physiology, and evolution, towards developing a unified theory of biology.
Summary: King penguins are known to use acoustic cues to recognize individuals but these birds are also sensitive to the scent of their feathers and feces.
Summary: Maximal oxygen demand from surrounding fibres supported by individual capillaries is highly variable in human muscle, suggesting that a fundamental review of determinants of muscle capillarisation is needed.
Chemical cues from fish heighten visual sensitivity in larval crabs through changes in photoreceptor structure and function
Highlighted Article: Larval crabs are more responsive to light following exposure to chemical cues from fish and this increase in photobehavior coincides with physiological and structural changes in the eye.
Summary: When crossing from one uniform background to another, a gradual change of camouflage in cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is advantageous, preferably over the new background.
Polarization sensitivity as a visual contrast enhancer in the Emperor dragonfly larva, Anax imperator
Summary: Polarization sensitivity in the Emperor dragonfly larva, Anax imperator, reduces the contrast-degrading effect of scattered light under naturalistic horizontally polarized underwater lighting conditions.
Effects of stride frequency and foot position at landing on braking force, hip torque, impact peak force and the metabolic cost of running in humans
Summary: Variation in stride frequency and foot position at landing affects the cost of running and the generation of impact peaks in human runners.
Relationships among plumage coloration, blood selenium concentrations and immune responses of adult and nestling tree swallows
Summary: Selenium, an important micronutrient whose influence on the physiology of wild birds is poorly understood, and structural plumage coloration are related to innate immunity in adult and nestling tree swallows.
Decreasing methane yield with increasing food intake keeps daily methane emissions constant in two foregut fermenting marsupials, the western grey kangaroo and red kangaroo
Highlighted Article: Methane emissions from kangaroos are comparable with those of other non-ruminant foregut fermenting herbivores, and may be a function of digesta processing rather than harbouring a unique low-methane producing microbial community.
Fin ray sensation participates in the generation of normal fin movement in the hovering behavior of the bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus)
Summary: Sensory feedback from the fin rays and membrane of bluegill sunfish is important for generating normal hover movements but is not necessary for generating rhythmic fin movement.
Using an abstract geometry in virtual reality to explore choice behaviour: visual flicker preferences in honeybees
Summary: Visual flicker preferences in honeybees is shown by allowing bees to walk their way through multiple decision points in a recursive closed-loop environment.
Heat transfer in fish: are short excursions between habitats a thermoregulatory behaviour to exploit resources in an unfavourable thermal environment?
Summary: Quantification of fish body temperature in step change experiments enables theoretical predictions of maximum excursion duration between feeding (warm) and resting (cold) areas relative to the temperature tolerance of the species.
Summary: Excess generation of ROS could play an important role in high-salt-induced defects in heart and angiogenesis in the chick.
Highlighted Article: Exotic gas experiments and mathematical modelling show that backswimmers extend dive duration by extracting 20% of their O2 directly from the water.
Summary: A novel protein from crayfish molar tooth is involved in calcium phosphate and carbonate precipitation and may prove important for bone and dental regeneration.
Summary: Grapsid crabs show flexibility of predator avoidance behaviours; differences in these escape behaviours occur under natural versus laboratory conditions.
Summary: High-speed videography of free-flying Drosophila reveals their active control mechanism for counter-pitching perturbations, which is rapid, robust and consistent with linear control theory.
Summary: Feathers flutter to produce sound in a wide array of birds; flutter, percussion and wing whirring account for most of the evolutionary diversity of non-vocal communication in birds.