Summary: Temperature-dependent changes in RNA secondary and tertiary structure play crucial roles in bacterial thermosensing. This Commentary explores how animals might also exploit the thermal sensitivities of RNA in adapting to temperature change.
Summary: This Review discusses the environmental, neurobiological and genetic factors driving extreme host preference diversity and plasticity among the Culicidae, both within the life history of a mosquito and across evolutionary time-scales.
Summary: Tracking of honey bees using a radio-frequency identification device (RFID) and a camera at the colony entrance provides experimental evidence for a decrease in pollen-foraging performance in stressed bees.
METHODS & TECHNIQUES
Summary: A low-cost method to reliably synchronize experimental data streams such as audio, video or other inputs using a 1-bit synchronization signal.
An improved method for detecting torpor entrance and arousal in a mammalian hibernator using heart rate data
Summary: An increase in heart rate detects arousal from torpor long before body temperature changes in Ictidomys tridecemlineatus. Digitally filtered (Butterworth) heart rate data also detect entrance into torpor before body temperature changes.
Summary: The quantitative in vivo determination of the zebrafish caudal fin's main constituents (bony rays and interray tissue) shows that flexibility is dominated by the elastic properties of the bony rays, whereas the elastic properties of the interray tissue co-define the fin's complex 3D deformation during swimming and will also be needed as a crucial input for hydrodynamic simulations.
Highlighted Article: Perceptual, spatial memory and sensorimotor control information are integrated by Risso's dolphins to adaptively plan foraging on prey of varying quality and predictability in multiple depth layers.
Summary: Stacks of rodlet-shaped melanosomes with an air core acting as dielectric multilayers create the striking bright blue or purple-to-green colours of magpie feathers. The spectral properties of the feathers can be quantitatively explained with optical models based on anatomical data.
Summary: Bumblebees learn the locations of their nest and flowers during learning flights, but flights from each differ systematically even when nest, flower and immediate surrounds are made visually similar.
SERT gene polymorphisms are associated with risk-taking behaviour and breeding parameters in wild great tits
Summary: Genetic variability of the serotonin transporter gene plays an important role in shaping individual decision-making that affects fitness in a wild population of great tits.
Highlighted Article: Caterpillars have evolved a novel mechanism of sound production, analogous to vocalization in vertebrates, to ‘shout’ at predators.
Summary: Behavioral and biochemical data show that environmental enrichment has positive effects on zebrafish subjected to unpredictable chronic stress.
Responses to mechanically and visually cued water waves in the nervous system of the medicinal leech
Summary: Cues from water movement help aquatic predators find their prey. In the medicinal leech, visual and mechanical information derived from surface water waves is processed by the S cell, a neuron that plays a central role in coordinating activity across the nervous system.
Crawling without wiggling: muscular mechanisms and kinematics of rectilinear locomotion in boa constrictors
Summary: Unlike most limbless vertebrates, snakes can propel themselves without bending their long axis because of muscles that both move the skin relative to the underlying skeleton and modulate skin stiffness.
How does a slender tibia resist buckling? Effect of material, structural and geometric characteristics on buckling behaviour of the hindleg tibia in stick insect postembryonic development
Summary: Quantitative data on changes in biomechanical properties of hindleg tibia cuticle during the entire life of the stick insect Carausius morosus indicate strategies preventing buckling of the tibia.
Naked mole rat brain mitochondria electron transport system flux and H+ leak are reduced during acute hypoxia
Summary: The function of naked mole rat brain mitochondria is downregulated during acute hypoxia and matches whole-animal metabolic rate depression.
Femoral bone perfusion through the nutrient foramen during growth and locomotor development of western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus)
Summary: In kangaroos, growth is the main determinant of femoral bone blood flow during the in-pouch stage, whereas locomotor activity becomes the dominant factor during the post-pouch stage.
Trehalose metabolism genes render rice white tip nematode Aphelenchoides besseyi (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae) resistant to an anaerobic environment
Summary: To ensure survival, nematodes utilize both extracellular and intracellular trehalose, and trehalose metabolism genes regulate each other to keep trehalose and trehalase activity at certain levels during the anoxybiosis–re-aeration process.
Immune function and the decision to deploy weapons during fights in the beadlet anemone, Actinia equina
Summary: Strategic fighting decisions affect an individual's subsequent ability to mount an immune response in the beadlet anemone, Actinia equina.
Highlighted Article: Prey retention in spider orb webs changes as their spiral thread properties vary with protein intake.
The gastric caecum of larval Aedes aegypti: stimulation of epithelial ion transport by 5-hydroxytryptamine and cAMP
Summary: Transport of H+, Na+ and K+ across the gastric caecum of larval mosquitoes is stimulated by serotonin acting through the intracellular messenger cAMP.
Will the Antarctic tardigrade Acutuncus antarcticus be able to withstand environmental stresses related to global climate change?
Highlighted Article: Acutuncus antarcticus tolerates stressors as desiccation, temperature and ultraviolet radiation, although radiation negatively affects its life cycle. This tardigrade is able to adapt to changing environmental conditions.
Increased capillary tortuosity and pericapillary basement membrane thinning in skeletal muscle of mice undergoing running wheel training
Summary: Capillaries in skeletal muscles of mice undergoing long-term running wheel training change in structure, making them better adapted to the higher energy requirements of the tissue.
Oxidation of linoleic and palmitic acid in pre-hibernating and hibernating common noctule bats revealed by 13C breath testing
Summary: Pre-hibernating and hibernating noctule bats oxidize linoleic acid instead of palmitic acid, probably because of faster transportation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body of bats.
Nosema ceranae parasitism impacts olfactory learning and memory and neurochemistry in honey bees (Apis mellifera)
Summary: Nosema ceranae alters amino acid and biogenic amine levels in the honey bee brain and affects odor learning and memory in both nurse- and forager-aged bees.
Effects of mechanical disturbance and salinity stress on bioenergetics and burrowing behavior of the soft-shell clam Mya arenaria
Summary: Burrowing of clams is energetically expensive: clams with higher aerobic capacity and lower energy expenditure per burial show higher exercise endurance, but burrowing speed and endurance are impaired by the low or fluctuating salinity.
Fasting enhances mitochondrial efficiency in duckling skeletal muscle by acting on the substrate oxidation system
Summary: Fasting lowers the capacity of the respiratory machinery to pump protons, which generates a lower membrane potential, triggering a large decrease in proton leak activity and thus a higher coupling efficiency.