Image: Michael Lohmann/GDT
Falklands penguins return home through a sandstorm
The sand is still whipping through the air as the penguins come into view.
The Gentoo penguins emerge from the haze, their red-orange beaks and peachy feet flaring against the dreary beach of Sea Lion Island in the Falklands. The birds are hurrying home after a long day feeding at sea.
Penguins usually conjure up images of snow blizzards or ice sheets, but not these ones. The Gentoo penguins set up house on sandy or shingle beaches, with good open access to the sea.
Dung Beetles Navigate by the Milky Way
A day in the life of a male dung beetle goes something like this: Fly to a heap of dung, sculpt a clump of it into a large ball, then roll the ball away from the pile as fast as possible. However, it turns out that the beetles, who work at night, need some sort of compass to prevent them from rolling around in circles. New research in Current Biology suggests that the insects use starlight to guide their way. Birds, seals, and humans also use starlight to navigate, but this is the first time it’s been shown in an insect.
Meet the Japanese giant salamander, which can grow to to be 5 feet long. The males are particularly feisty and battle with other males for prime nest sites. Paternal care is rare among salamanders, but the males of this species (called den-masters) do all of the child rearing.
Jason G. Goldman looks at how certain adolescent animal behaviors remind us of risk-taking teenage humans. Research suggests there’s some evolutionary advantage to a species’ young walking the fine line of danger as a way to learn and become more successful adults:
Whether it’s inquisitive antelope following a cheetah around or older elephant males controlling the murderous, aggressive outbursts in younger males, the transition years to maturity are tough on many animals … by necessity.
Throughout the animal kingdom, adolescence is a tightrope act. As they gradually lose the care and protection they receive from their parents, young animals of any species must strike a delicate balance between risk and safety. If they play it too safe, they’ll suffer a lack of understanding about the dangers of the worlds in which they live. Too risky, and they might wind up served as a tasty snack for a hungry shark or cheetah or killed at the hands of their friends.
(via BBC - Future)