The Lessons In Courtship We Can Learn From Animal



Most male mice are happy with just a short moment of passion – a quick knee-trembler behind the skirting board with a partner, and then he’s off. But a male Californian Mouse is the opposite: he seems a perfect mouse-husband who stays in to help groom and feed his mousewife, bringing her water, doing the housework and helping to look after their babies.Proof that he’s fallen head over paws in love? No, simply that the clever female has drugged him.She produces hormones in her urine that he finds intoxicating. Something in his brain is triggered by the scent, and he becomes her slave, working to exhaustion.Sound familiar? It should do. Because love is a drug for humans, too. When we fall in love, our brains swim with opioids – a natural intoxicant from the same class of chemical as heroin – and similarly addictive


In Bats And Whales, Convergence In Echolocation Ability Runs Deep


Only some bats and toothed whales rely on sophisticated echolocation, in which they emit sonar pulses and process returning echoes, to detect and track down small prey. Now, two new studies in the January 26th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.

The discovery represents an unprecedented example of adaptive sequence convergence between two highly divergent groups and suggests that such convergence at the sequence level might be more common than scientists had suspected.“The natural world is full of examples of species that have evolved similar characteristics independently, such as the tusks of elephants and walruses,” said Stephen Rossiter of the University of London, an author on one of the studies. “However, it is generally assumed that most of these so-called convergent traits have arisen by different genes or different mutations. Our study shows that a complex trait — echolocation — has in fact evolved by identical genetic changes in bats and dolphins.”

Mysterious White-Nose Syndrome Still Killing Bats

white nose bat

As winter approaches and millions of North American bats settle into caves to hibernate, experts fear that many will die before spring from the still-mysterious white-nose syndrome. The disease was first identified in New York in 2006, according to Discovery News. Since then it has only spread, and some experts warn it could advance as far as Indiana.

No one is sure exactly how white-nose syndrome works or where it came from, but apparently the “white nose” results from a fungus that infects the bats while they hibernate. Researchers are trying to figure out how white-nose syndrome spreads, why it kills the bats, and how it can be prevented before bats become entirely extinct.

Not a bat fan? Consider this: Bats eat about 600 insects a night. (And you thought your potato-chip binge was bad!) That means the fewer bats there are, the more bugs. And that’s sure to bug even the biggest bat-hater.


Fellatio Common Among Fruit Bats, Says Research


Fruit bats regularly engage in oral sex, according to groundbreaking new research published in Science magazine. The study found that more than two-thirds of female short-nosed fruit bats (Cynopterus sphinx) performed fellatio on their sexual partners, and that they were rewarded with longer bouts of intercourse as a result.Previously, the only animals known to carry out oral sex – apart from humans – were bonobo chimpanzees.

However, the study, by Libiao Zhang and his team of biologists from Guangdong Entomological Institute in China, found that female bats were enthusiastic fellators, with 70 per cent performing oral sex on their mate during intercourse.

Science magazine reported: “Both sexes groomed each other during courtship. But then came the shocker.