A Beetle's Menu Change
No points for guessing what dung beetles eat. Feces are so rich with nourishing bacteria that 80 or more species of the beetle can live in the same area. Under such intense competition for droppings, one species has gone entirely from scavenging to preying. Through 11 months of recording with infrared cameras in the Peruvian jungle, Trond Larsen of Princeton University and his colleagues found that an eight-millimeter-long nocturnal dung beetle, Deltochilum valgum, devours millipedes up to 13 times larger than itself. The beetle kills by wrapping its legs around a victim, wedging its serrated head between the prey's segments and then ripping the body apart. The head of this species is unusually narrow for dung beetles all the better to burrow inside a corpse to dine on the innards, the researchers note in their report, published online January 21 by Biology Letters.
--Charles Q. Choi
No Nets in the Arctic
Regulators may protect a fishery before anyone even had a chance to cast a net. Melting sea ice and the migration of salmon and other fish farther north make the Arctic region attractive. Because of a lack of studies detailing the impact of commercial fishing in the area, the U.S. North Pacific Fishery Management Council charged with administering Alaskan waters voted unanimously on February 5 to close off to any fishing all U.S. waters north of the Bering Strait some 196,000 square miles of ocean. Studies to determine safe harvesting levels and the impact on indigenous people would be required before any fishing could begin. The proposed prohibition does not mean that the entire Arctic is safe seven other countries have claims there, including Norway, which has already begun fishing in its waters.
This article was originally published with the title Anti-Loudness Protein.