This post highlights zoology-related articles which have featured in the news over the last two weeks.
British frog populations are being decimated by an emerging killer disease. Ranavirus causes mass-mortality events and long-term population declines in common frog (Rana temporaria) populations in the UK and may also be affecting other native amphibians. The study is published in Animal Conservation. You can read the news articles on the Telegraph, Independent, Mirror and Daily Mail websites.
European brown hares (Lepus europaeus) can carry two different litters at the same time. A recent study in Nature Communications describes superfetation (a second conception while already pregnant) in hares. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research made the discovery by using high resolution ultrasonography on pregnant female hares. Hares do not spontaneously ovulate and it is thought that this mechanism of superconception evolved to increase reproductive success. Read the news article on the Wildlife Extra and Science Daily websites.
Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and Guyana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) try to find a common language when they meet. Research published in Ethology shows that when these dolphins come together off the coast of Costa Rica, they change the way they communicate and start using an intermediate language. Read the news article on the BBC.
A fish has been discovered to suckle its young. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology provides evidence that young European eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) suckle using ovarian follicles while still inside their mother. Read the BBC news article here.
European storm petrels appear to have escaped the 2002 Prestige oil spill without significant impact. Researchers writing in Marine Pollution Bulletin found that experienced adult birds deserted the polluted breeding area, choosing not to reproduce that year. This study provides evidence for how some long-lived birds may be able to avoid long term impacts of environmental disasters. Read the news article on the BBC.
by Anne Braae