Category Archives: defence

Startling

When under attack, skink exposes its entire blue tongue As their name indicates, blue-tongued skinks possess a blue tongue. The lizards sometimes protrude it to show the striking colour. Arnaud Badiane and colleagues explain why. The blue-tongued skinks from Australia, … Continue reading

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Camouflage suit

Covered with sponges, a crab is poorly visible The spider decorator crab Camposcia retusa adorns its legs and carapace exuberantly with sponges, probably to mislead predators, Rohan Brooker and colleagues write. The crab accumulates more decorations when it has no … Continue reading

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Cryptic leaf colour

Camouflage protects alpine plants from herbivory In the high mountains of China, Corydalis plants can be found with leaves that are coloured like stone. That is no coincidence: plants without a stone colour are easily detected by butterflies and devoured … Continue reading

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Useful cigarette butts

House finch has to accept harmful side effects Smoked-trough cigarette filters are noxious, still some bird species add them to their nest lining, where the nicotine will repel blood-sucking parasites. They do so only when they need to, as Monserrat … Continue reading

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Trapped, encased, killed

Snails use their shells as a weapon against parasitic worms Parasitic roundworms that invade a snail’s shell may be trapped, encased and fixed permanently to the inner layer of that shell, as Robbie Rae shows. Thanks to its shell, a … Continue reading

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Biting prey

Fish with venomous fangs have many imitators Meiacanthus fish species are armed with venomous fangs that deter predators. Many nonvenomous fish species protect themselves from being attacked by mimicking the aposematic colours and the behaviour of Meiacanthus species. A large … Continue reading

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Micro army

Cloud of semiautonomous pincers protects sea urchin When a hungry fish approaches, the collector sea urchin releases a cloud of small biting, venomous pincers that deter its enemy before it has attacked. This peculiar defensive strategy is revealed by Hannah … Continue reading

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Tiny scarecrow

Red-winged blackbird flinches from whistling caterpillar It is funny when the tiny caterpillar of the walnut sphinx Amorpha juglandis suddenly emits a high-pitched noise. Thus sound scares birds, as Amanda Dookie and colleagues witnessed, so that they will refrain from picking … Continue reading

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