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Experiments suggest macaques are capable of making decisions based on inference

(Left) Performance over time of monkeys performing the transitive inference task, as compared to two algorithms. The “Maximizer” algorithm always chooses the stimulus associated with the highest overall rate of reward. The “Explorer” algorithm favors the better alternative, but often samples the less-rich option in the hopes of discovering something new. All three perform well […]

TV crews capture first evidence of leopard seals sharing food

Up to 36 seals were seen feeding at the same king penguin colony in South Georgia. Credit: James Robbins/University of Plymouth Drone footage captured by crews filming the Netflix series Our Planet—narrated by Sir David Attenborough—has shown never-before seen behaviour of two leopard seals sharing food. Despite being considered a charismatic and enigmatic Antarctic predator, […]

Greening devastates the citrus industry—new research offers a solution

The appearance of HLB symptoms in 5-month-old cultivar Valencia seedlings fed by Asian citrus psyllid for 2 to 20 days. The HLB symptoms were monitored at 30, 60, and 90 days postinoculation (dpi). Representative images of HLB symptom development are shown. Credit: Sheo Shankar Pandey and Nian Wang Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as greening, […]

To learn how poison frogs are adapting to warmer temperatures, scientists got crafty

A strawberry poison frog (aka bluejeans frog), the subject of this study. Credit: (c) Michelle Thompson, Field Museum There’s a species of poison frog called the “strawberry frog” or the “blue jeans frog,” depending on who you ask. These frogs are smaller than a quarter, with bright red bodies and navy blue limbs, and they […]

Bats use leaves as mirrors to find prey in the dark

Portrait of Micronycteris microtis. Credit: Inga Geipel On moonless nights in a tropical forest, bats slice through the inky darkness, snatching up insects resting silently on leaves—a seemingly impossible feat. New experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) show that by changing their approach angle, the echolocating leaf-nosed bats can use this sixth sense […]

Can plants think? They could one day force us to change our definition of intelligence

Nervous? Credit: Marco Uliana/Shutterstock Some might balk at the idea that plants made of roots, stems and leaves could have intelligence or consciousness. But scientists have actually been hotly debating this idea for decades. A recent paper sought to finally draw a line under this question by dismissing it completely. It argued that the key […]

Male black widow spiders piggyback on the work of their rivals to find female mates faster

Female (left) and male (right) black widow spiders. Credit: McCann, University of Toronto A new University of Toronto study finds male black widow spiders will hijack silk trails left by rival males in their search for a potential mate. Male black widows will follow chemical cues—pheromones—released by potential female mates, but it was always assumed […]

The vision of spiderlings is nearly as keen as their parents: study

Baby jumping spiders can see nearly as well as their parents, according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Cincinnati. Credit: Daniel Zurek Baby jumping spiders can hunt prey just like their parents do because they have vision nearly as good. A study published in the journal Vision Research […]