Sep 23, 2009 | 31
Bigger than coyotes but smaller than wolves, their howl is high-pitched and their diet includes deer and small rodents. They are "coywolves" (pronounced "coy," as in playful, "wolves"), and they are flourishing in the northeastern U.S., according to a study published today in Biology Letters.
Although coyote–wolf breeding has been reported in Ontario, where coyotes started migrating from the Great Plains in the 1920s, this study provides the first evidence of coywolves—also known as coydogs or eastern coyotes—in the Northeast. And even though they are more coyote (Canis latrans) than wolf (gray wolves are Canis lupus, and red wolves are Canis rufus), the expansion of these hybrids into western New York State marks the return of wolves to the Empire State.
Sep 15, 2009 | 2
Despite great strides made to help soldiers in Iraq survive their wounds, medical personnel in the U.S. military still struggle to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. This was one the messages presented yesterday at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in San Francisco.
Among the most common bacteria to turn up, usually in soldiers' wounds, are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and strains of the virulent Klebsiella. The spectrum of bugs harkens back to infections that were common during the Vietnam War, and doctors today are using the same antibacterial drugs as 40 years ago, says Dr. Clinton Murray, one of the presenters at the conference. Murray is an infectious disease specialist at Brooke Army Medical Center in Houston.
Sep 14, 2009 | 1
Lizards are well known for snapping off their tails when a predator snags them from behind, but that defense strategy doesn’t mean it's game over for the disembodied tail. The abandoned appendage has a network of neurons that guides it to flail about even after losing its connection to the brain.
Biologists at Clemson University and the University of Calgary noticed that the movements of the luckless tails of leopard geckos seemed more complicated than those of other lizard tails. So the scientists tracked the gecko tails post-snap and found that they jump, flip and lunge, presumably to distract predators and give the gecko time to make its getaway.
"No one had ever documented anything other than simple swinging, sort of like a pendulum,” says Timothy Higham, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson. Higham and Anthony Russell at the University of Calgary published their results last week in Biology Letters.
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