The incredible shape-shifting FROG: Scientists discover first ever amphibian that can rapidly change its skin texture
- Pristimantis mutabilis was spotted in Ecuador’s Andean cloud forest
- It shifts its skin texture to match what it is sitting on in three minutes
- This may to be protect itself from predators, but this is yet to be proven
Scientists have discovered a frog in Ecuador that can rapidly change its skin patterns to mimic the texture it sits on.
Spotted in the western Andean cloud forest, the creature is believed to be the first known amphibian to have this shape-shifting capability.
Researchers claim the ability to change skin texture to reflect its surroundings may enable the frog to camouflage itself from birds and other predators – but say this has yet to be proven.
Scientists have discovered a frog in Ecuador that can rapidly change its skin patterns to mimic the texture it sits on.Spotted in the western Andean cloud forest, the creature is believed to be the first known amphibian to have this shape-shifting capability
The new species, called Pristimantis mutabilis was discovered by a Case Western Reserve University PhD student and her husband at Reserva Las Gralarias.
Katherine Krynak spotted the spiny frog, which nearly the width of a marble, sitting on a moss-covered leaf.
The Krynaks captured the frog, and nicknamed it ‘punk rocker’ because of the thorn-like spines covering its body.
The next day, Ms Krynak pulled the frog from the cup and set it on a smooth white sheet of plastic. It wasn’t ‘punk ‘ – it was smooth-skinned.
The new species, called Pristimantis mutabilis – or mutable rainfrog – was discovered by a Case Western Reserve University PhD student and her husband at Reserva Las Gralarias. This image shows how the frog changes from spiky to almost smooth in just over 300 seconds
They assumed that, much to her dismay, she must have picked up the wrong frog.
‘I then put the frog back in the cup and added some moss,’ she said. ‘The spines came back… we simply couldn’t believe our eyes, our frog changed skin texture.
‘I put the frog back on the smooth white background. Its skin became smooth.’
‘The spines and colouration help them blend into mossy habitats, making it hard for us to see them,’ she said. ‘But whether the texture really helps them elude predators still needs to be tested.’
THE SEE-THROUGH GLASS FROG THAT SENDS PREDATORS HOPPING MAD
In this image, one of the frogs can even be seen sitting next to her transparent eggs, where the heads and tails of developing tadpoles can be clearly seen inside
This is the astonishing ‘glass’ frog which manages to elude its predators with its see through skin – rendering it almost invisible.
The Fleischmann’s Glass Frog looks as if it is changing colour as it moves, as the background shows through its transparent flesh.
The bizarre camouflage means you can still see its heart, intestines, and red blood vessels.
Photographer Thomas Marent snapped the frogs – with bulging yellow eyes – underneath leaves at a nature reserve in Choco, Colombia.
In this image, one of the frogs can even be seen sitting next to her transparent eggs, where the heads and tails of developing tadpoles can be clearly seen inside.
During the next three years, a team of fellow biologists studied the frogs. They found the animals shift skin texture in a little more than three minutes.
A separate research them at Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica, Ecuador, discovered that Primates sobetes, a relative with similar markings but about twice the size of P. mutabilis, has the same trait.
Because the appearance of animals has long been one of the keys to identifying them as a certain species, the researchers believe could mean many species have been missed.
Iguanas can range from 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) including their tail. The two species of lizard within the genus Iguana possess a dewlap, a row of spines running down their backs to their tails, and a tiny “third eye” on their heads. This light-sensing organ is known as the parietal eye, visible as a pale scale on the top of the head, and cannot make out details, just brightness.
Iguanas are often hard to spot, as they tend to blend into their surroundings. Their scale colors are a mode of hiding from larger predators.
Zombies may still be a thing of fiction, but some parasites more or less turn their hosts into the walking dead.
These masters of mind control manipulate their hosts from within, causing them to act in self-destructive ways that ultimately benefit the parasite. (Read “Mindsuckers” in National Geographic magazine.)
“Some parasites can alter the behavior of their host in ways that give the parasite a better home, or provide more nutrients, or cause the host to move to a different environment,” said Janice Moore, a biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
This strategy seems to work, she added: “A parasite that can alter the behavior of its host, and in doing so improve its own transmission, is going to be favored by natural selection,” she said. (See “World War Z: Could a Zombie Virus Happen?“)
Read on—if you dare.
Females of the Costa Rican wasp Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga lay their eggs on the abdomens of unlucky orb spiders called Plesiometa argyra.
After living off its host for a few weeks, the wasp larva injects a chemical into the spider that makes it build a strange, new kind of web, unlike anything it’s built before. (See photos of the world’s biggest, strongest webs.)
But this new web isn’t for the spider: It’s meant to support the cocoon that the wasp larva will build after finally killing and eating the spider.
When the female jewel wasp is ready to procreate, she finds a cockroach to serve as a living nursery for her young. (See a video of the graphic novella “Sting of Doom” from the November National Geographic magazine.)
First she injects a toxin into the roach that paralyzes its front legs. Then the wasp strikes again in the roach’s head. Frederic Libersat of Ben-Gurion University in Israel and colleagues discovered that the venom targets a specific area of the brain responsible for initiating movement
Stripped of its ability to move of its own free will, the cockroach can be grabbed by the antenna and guided to a burrow, where the wasp will lay her egg on the victim and entomb them together. (Read more about how zombie roaches lose free will because of wasp venom.)
The wasp larva slowly consumes the cockroach for several days before pupating in its abdomen, emerging as an adult about a month later.
Mind-Controlling Slime Balls
As an adult, the lancet liver fluke—a type of flatworm—resides in the livers of grazing mammals such as cows. (See pictures of animal “zombies,” including a frog that survives being frozen.)
Its eggs are excreted in the host’s feces, which are then eaten by snails. After the eggs hatch inside the snail, the snail creates protective cysts around the parasites and coughs them up in balls of mucus.
These fluke-laden slime balls are then consumed by ants. When the flukes wiggle their way into an ant’s brain, they cause the insect to climb to the tip of a blade of grass and sit motionless, where it’s most likely to be eaten by a grazing mammal. That way, the liver fluke can complete its life cycle. (Read about fungi that zombify ants.)
Fishy Dance of Death
The fluke Euhaplorchis californiensis begins its life in an ocean-dwelling horn snail, where it produces larvae that then seek their next host, a killifish. (See “The Puppet Master’s Medicine Chest.”)
Once it finds a fish, the parasite latches on to its gills and makes its way to the brain. But this isn’t its final stop.
The fluke needs to get inside the gut of a water bird in order to reproduce. So inside the killifish’s brain, the fluke releases chemicals that cause the fish to shimmy, jerk, and jump.
Jenny Shaw, then at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and colleagues found that the parasite decreases serotonin and increases dopamine levels in the fish’s brain. The switch in this brain chemistry stimulates the fish to swim and behave more aggressively.
These moves attract the attention of birds, which may eat the fish—and the flukes. The flukes mate, and their eggs are released back into the water in the bird’s droppings to be eaten by horn snails and start the cycle anew.
Hairworms have a perpetual challenge: They infect landlubbing insects like crickets, but the parasites must make their way to an aquatic habitat in order to reproduce. (Also see pictures: ” ‘Zombie’ Ants Controlled, Decapitated by Flies.”)
Researchers at France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique figured out how they accomplish this feat. Hairworms produce mind-controlling chemicals that cause their cricket host to move toward light. Because water bodies reflect moonlight, this often sends crickets toward lakes and streams.
The crickets jump in and drown, and the hairworms emerge, ready to find their next victim.
Rings of stars thought to surround the Milky Way are actually part of it, according to new research, meaning the galaxy is bigger than previously believed.
The findings extend the known width of the Milky Way from 100,000 light-years across to 150,000 light-years, said Yan Xu, a scientist at the National Astronomical Observatories of China and former visiting scientist at Rensselaer who was the lead author of a paper detailing the discovery in Astrophysical Journal.
“Going into the research, astronomers had observed that the number of Milky Way stars diminishes rapidly about 50,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy, and then a ring of stars appears at about 60,000 light-years from the center,” Xu said. “What we see now is that this apparent ring is actually a ripple in the disk. And it may well be that there are more ripples further out which we have not yet seen.”
An international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, came to this conclusion after revisiting astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and finding that the galactic disk of the Milky Way is actually contoured into several concentric ripples.
“In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn’t just a disk of stars in a flat plane — it’s corrugated,” said Newberg, a co-author of the paper. “It’s very similar to what would happen if you throw a pebble into still water — the waves will radiate out from the point of impact.”
But in this case, the pebble could be a dwarf galaxy passing through the disk. “It would gravitationally pull the disk up as it comes in, and pull the disk down as it goes through, and this will set up a wave pattern that propagates outward,” she explained. “As it radiates outward from the sun, we see at least four ripples in the disk of the Milky Way.”
She added that although the data only looks at part of the galaxy, it can be assumed that the pattern continues throughout.
The new research builds upon a 2002 paper in which Newberg established the existence of the “Monoceros Ring,” an “over-density” of stars at the outer edges of the galaxy that bulges above the galactic plane.
At the time, Newberg noticed evidence of another over-density of stars, between the Monoceros Ring and the sun, but was unable to investigate further. With more data available from the Sloan survey, researchers recently took another crack at it.
“I wanted to figure out what that other over-density was,” Newberg said. “These stars had previously been considered disk stars, but the stars don’t match the density distribution you would expect for disk stars, so I thought, ‘Well, maybe this could be another ring, or a highly disrupted dwarf galaxy.’”
Newberg said the findings support recent research, including a theoretical finding that a dwarf galaxy or dark matter lump passing through the Milky Way would produce a similar rippling effect. In fact, the ripples might ultimately be used to measure the lumpiness of dark matter in our galaxy.
According to NASA website, in 1997 a question was asked to NASA, the question was what are the chances of life existing outside our solar system? Astrophysicist Padi Boyd gave the following answer to the question “the number of communicating civilizations in our galaxy likely depends on a number of factors which must combine to yield a habitable planet where life has the chance develop to a certain level of technological know-how. These factors include the rate of formation of stars like the Sun, the fraction of those with planets, the fraction of Earth-like planets, the fraction of such planets where life develops, the fraction of those where the life becomes intelligent, the fraction of intelligent species who can communicate in a way we would detect, and the lifetime of the communicating civilizations. As you may imagine, there is a lot of debate about reasonable values for most of these factors. As we learn more about the likelihood of planets around other stars, we are able to better estimate one of these parameters. For the other parameters, the estimates vary widely. Frank Drake’s own current estimate puts the number of communicating civilizations in the galaxy at 10,000“.
So Frank Drake’s estimate is possibly 50% greater than what was originally estimated…15,000 communicating civilizations…
According to Professor Brian Cox in the TV documentary series Wonders of Life, Series 1 Episode 3, “mutations are an inevitable part of living on a planet like Earth. They’re the first hint at how DNA and the genes that code for every living thing change from generation to generation. Mutations are the spring from which innovation in the living world flows. But cosmic rays are not the only way in which DNA can be altered. There’s natural background radiation from the rocks, there’s the action of chemicals and free radicals. There can be errors when the code is copied“.
“And then all those changes can be shuffled by sex, and indeed whole pieces of the code can be transferred from species to species. So, bit by bit, in tiny steps from generation to generation, the code is constantly randomly changing. Now, whilst there’s no doubt that random mutation does alter DNA, evolution is anything but random. It can’t be, because the chances of something with DNA as complex as this appearing by luck alone are vanishingly small“.
“Imagine you just changed one position in the code at random, a random mutation. There are four letters, A, T, C and G, so there are four possible combinations. If there are two places in the code, there are four combinations for each one. So that makes 16. If there are three, then there are 64 possibilities. By the time you get to a code with 150 letters in it, then there are more possible combinations in the code than there are atoms in the observable universe“.
“Now, a hippo has a code with around three billion different letters. So the number of combinations of those letters, the chances of producing that code at random, are absolutely, infinitesimally small. It’s impossible. So there must be a non-random element to evolution… ..a natural process, which greatly restricts this universe of possibilities, and shapes the outcome.
We call it Natural Selection“.
Cats may bite, and geese may have barbed penises, but one newly described hermaphroditic sea slug has taken violent animal sex to a new level by stabbing its mates in the head.
The perpetrator of this bizarre act, Siphotperon sp. 1, is a small sea slug found off the northeast coast of Australia. A simultaneous hermaphrodite, it has both male and female reproductive organs that it uses simultaneously during sex.
For its male organ, the slug has a two-pronged penis consisting of a penile bulb that transfers sperm, and a separate, needlelike appendage called a penile stylet that stabs and injects partners with prostate fluid-containing sex hormones called allohormones.
This stabbing behavior, known as traumatic secretion transfer, is fairly common amongst hermaphroditic sea slugs, and does not actually traumatize the slug — the term trauma refers to the Greek translation as “wound.” The behavior is well documented, but still not very well understood. It is thought to help individuals increase reproductive success by either inhibiting fertilization by others or increasing fertilization by their own sperm, but this remains unclear.
Researchers have also noted that different species, and even members within the same species, stab mates in different regions of the body, raising the question of how these individuals decide where to aim their shots. [See Images of Hermaphroditic Sea Slugs Having ‘Head Sex’]
To investigate this question, researchers based at the University of Tuebingen in Germany studied the mating rituals of five hermaphroditic slug species, including Siphotperon sp. 1 and four of its close relatives. The scientists found that three of the five species placed their stylets fairly randomly on their mates’ bodies, seemingly “choosing” a location based on logistical convenience rather than for any intended outcome. Members of a fourth species consistently placed their stylets close to their partners’ female genitalia, presumably to remain close to the reproductive action.
But Siphotperon sp. 1 was the only of its relatives that consistently stabbed its partner between the eyes. This is the first known instance of such reproductive head-butting in the animal world, the team reports today (Nov. 12) in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
“No one has ever described that before,” study co-author Rolanda Lange, who now works as a postdoctoral researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, told LiveScience. “If you see two animals injecting fluids into each other’s heads during mating, that’s just weird. Even if you work in this area, it’s just weird.”
The slugs stab each other in the head several minutes after penetrating each other with their penile bulbs, and remain stabbed and pumping prostate fluid into each other’s circulatory systems for the majority of their 40-minute mating period, the researchers report.
The team has not determined why the slugs target the region between their mate’s eyes, but they speculate the creatures might use allohormonesto manipulate some aspect of their mate’s nervous system, which is centered directly behind the eyes.
Joris Koene, a biologist at VU University Amsterdam who was not involved in this research but has studied similar stabbing behavior in other hermaphroditic animals, such as earthworms, thinks it’s possible that the slugs are targeting their mates’ nervous systems, but is not yet convinced this is the case.
“Wherever you inject something through the [slug’s] skin, you end up in the body cavity where the blood circulates,” Koene told LiveScience. “It might be targeting something just underneath there [behind the eyes], but I think it’s hard to directly make that link based on what they have now.”
The team acknowledges that this hypothesis is speculative, and next hopes to test the idea by isolating prostate fluid and experimentally injecting it into individuals to assess the fluid’s role in reproductive success, Lange said.
Learn about Peter Khoury who claims to have DNA evidence of a sexual encounter with an alien which was tested by scientists and passed a lie detector test https://jewishpaedophilia.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/australian-security-guard-peter-khoury-dna-evidence-of-an-alleged-alien-passed-a-lie-detector-test/
Learn about the 62 children in Zimbabwe who witnessed a UFO land and beings get out or the 200 Australian children and staff who witnessed a flying saucer and were told to keep quiet about the incident https://jewishpaedophilia.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/1994-ariel-school-in-ruwa-zimbabwe-62-children-aged-8-to-12-reported-seeing-a-silver-craft-that-had-four-others-around-it-strange-beings-dressed-in-a-black-very-tight-suit-wi/