(Sheridan, Wyo) No matter what is happening in the human world right now, take a break and learn some things from Mother Nature.
Romeo the Frog
Even if you have no use for online dating, you have to check out this profile on Match.com. He’s stocky and 6.22 cm tall, which is average for an 11 years old Sehuencas (pronounced “say-when-cuss”) Water Frog. “Romeo” the frog had some help setting up his profile from Arturo Munoz, a conservation scientist at Cochabamba Natural History Museum in Cochabamba City, Bolivia.
Romeo explains that his desire to find a mate is a matter of survival,
…not to start this off super heavy or anything, but I’m literally the last of my species. I know – intense stuff. But that’s why I’m on here – in hopes of finding my perfect match so we can save our own kind (no pressure ;)).
Munoz and his colleagues hope to create enough awareness to raise $15,000 before Valentine’s Day. The funds will be used to send 10 expeditions to the streams and rivers where the Sehuencas Water Frog was once common to look for individuals to establish a conservation breeding program.
To check out Romeo’s profile and donate to the cause, click here.
3D Insect Cinema
While many mammals, including humans, see in three dimensions, mantises are the only insects that have the eye placement for stereoscopic vision.
Humans use their brains to merge the slightly different views from the right and left eyes, but no one knew if it worked the same way for mantises.
To investigate that question, scientists outfitted mantises with mini 3D glasses (no small task) and, “… created a little 3D movie theater for the insects that specializes in films showing moving, abstract patterns of dots. One of the dots — called the target — was supposed to look like prey to the mantis.”
By varying backgrounds and colors, it became apparent that mantises can perceive three dimensions regardless of background discrepancies, responding to motion instead.
The Mule Deer Project
In order to learn about migration, students in Mrs. Parfitt’s AP Environmental Science classes at Cheyenne’s Central High School are participating in an awesome project with the Laramie County Conservation District, the University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Citizen’s Science Initiative, and the Wyoming Game & Fish department.
In mid-January, biologists sedated a doe mule deer long enough be radio collared with collars made possible by the Muley Fanatics Foundation – Southeast Chapter. Another mule deer will be collared soon. Each of the collars will send a signal six times a day for two years to the eagerly awaiting students.
To see where the deer go and learn more about the project, click here.
Seeds and Snakes
Researchers at Cornell University published a paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B demonstrating the importance of snakes in seed dispersal and germination.
In an unorthodox use of preserved specimens, they dissected and analyzed the stomaches of 50 rattlesnake specimens. They found rodent remains in 45, with a total of 971 seeds in the snakes’ gastrointestinal tracts.
As well as surviving the entire digestive tract of the snake, the seeds also sometimes germinated in rattlesnake colons.
A single snake may have around 20 rodent meals—with potentially hundreds of seeds inside—during its 25- to 30-week active season, and snakes can travel as much as 2 kilometers in just a few days, much further than the rodents themselves would have traveled.
Snakes “should be studied and appreciated as seed rescuers and secondary dispersers, perhaps even ecosystem engineers, in addition to their recognized predatory functions,” the researchers write.