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Summary: Using examples of biomechanical systems from fishes, birds and humans, this Commentary shows how mechanical linkages can be created or modified dynamically during behaviors in order to improve motor control.


Highlighted Article: Tufted puffins have high flight costs. Infrared imaging and heat exchange calculations suggest that they use their large bills to dissipate excess metabolic heat after flying.

Summary: Passive tension in skeletal muscle increases in proportion to tissue fluid volume, suggesting that natural fluctuations in water content may influence muscle performance in vivo.


Highlighted Article: Average length of the honey bee glossal setae decreases with age but nectar intake rate remains constant through behavioral compensation, in which nectar dipping rate is increased.

Summary: The subtidal anemone Nematostella vectensis exhibits strong circadian behavioral rhythms following entrainment in natural conditions. Corresponding transcriptional rhythms suggest that solar radiation drives physiological cycles in this sediment-dwelling animal.

Summary: RNA sequencing reveals changes in gene expression linked to altered heart structure in juvenile fish as a consequence of embryonic exposure to low, environmentally realistic levels of crude oil.

Highlighted Article: Red-eyed treefrogs' hatching responses to predator attacks, vibration playbacks and egg jiggling appear when vestibular function develops. Ear development may be a key limiting factor in the onset of mechanosensory-cued hatching.

Summary: The main mechanism limiting the full expression of carotenoid-based color signals varies with environmental conditions in a red-colored seabird.

Summary: Heart mitochondria of juvenile European sea bass are impaired by acute warming, but seem to benefit from conditioning to warmer temperatures; they are only marginally impacted by ocean acidification.

Summary: Peltier devices selectively cold-block the activity of cricket ears, and allow the study of bilateral auditory processing and the effect of reciprocal inhibition in central auditory neurons.

Summary: Morphological, physiological and behavioral approaches demonstrate for the first time that the eyes of snapping shrimp provide spatial vision.

Summary: Juvenile alligators that experienced embryonic hypoxia have a faster rate of ventricular relaxation, greater left ventricle stroke volume and greater cardiac power following β-adrenergic stimulation, compared with juvenile alligators that did not experience embryonic hypoxia.

Summary: Unique among insects, the femoral chordotonal organs in many beetles have a special design of the apodeme for amplification of dynamic signals.

Summary: The proboscis extension response of honey bees was conditioned using different pollen scents, then tested with novel pollen scents. Honey bees generalized the pollen scents from plants that share the same flowering period.

Highlighted Article: Experimental and comparative data show that humans and other animals selected for long-distance running convergently evolved adaptations to augment diaphragmatic breathing with thoracic movements.

Summary: Ant colonies adjust their trail-clearing effort context dependently by preferentially creating shortcuts when alternative detours are long.

Summary: C-type allatostatin and its receptor are involved in the regulation of ovarian development in Scylla paramamosain, possibly by directly inhibiting the uptake of yolk by oocytes and obstructing oocyte growth.

Summary: Fatty acid binding protein (FABP) is an essential element of skeletal muscle energy metabolism in vivo; its knockdown in locust flight muscle prevents extended flight activity.

Summary: A measure of colour based on the object colour solid, which is mostly independent of species, gives an insight into the psychology of animal signals.

Summary: Postnatal development of shivering thermogenesis is initially delayed in high-altitude deer mice; the highly aerobic muscle phenotype and superior thermogenic capacity characteristic of adults does not mature until after weaning.

Summary: In mosquitoes, paired/triplet auditory neurons, responding to opposite directions of the sound wave and tuned to different frequencies, occur in every angular sector of the Johnston's organ, allowing the production of complex auditory behaviors.

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