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Stories by Felicity Muth

Invasive Fish Used to Feed Homeless (and Bears)

I recently read a remarkable story of research done by people right at my home university at the University of Nevada, Reno. Thirty minutes from where we live is Lake Tahoe, which is a large lake which is half in Nevada, half in California.

September 1, 2015 — Felicity Muth

Why Are Black Widow Males So Destructive?

We often hear about animals where the males mate with multiple females. However, many animals have the opposite system, where a single female courts and mates many males.

August 23, 2015 — Felicity Muth

When Do Scorpions Spray Their Enemies?

Some animals defend themselves by spraying liquid at potential threats. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is the skunk, whose spray contains chemicals that smell awful to the animals it's defending itself from.

May 4, 2015 — Felicity Muth

A Meeting of Art and Science

Art and science are usually held up as two opposing disciplines. However, arguably very similar abilities are needed to be an artist and a scientist: an ability to observe the world in detail, to perhaps notice things that other people don't, to creatively come up with ideas and to draw novel connections.

May 3, 2015 — Felicity Muth

Both Winning And Losing Fights Makes Flies More Aggressive

Many animals behave aggressively towards one another. This is usually when they are fighting for something like territory, mates or food.  However, an animal's decision to become aggressive isn't a simple on-off switch and many factors feed into how aggressive an animal is.

April 16, 2015 — Felicity Muth

Lost Penguin Chicks Try To Find Their Way Home

King penguins are pretty social animals. Not only do they tend to hang out in a big group, but even within the group, they form little sub-groups; cliques of penguins who like to hang out together.

April 16, 2015 — Felicity Muth

An Optical Illusion As Seen By a Fish

Visual illusions are fun: we know with our rational mind that, for example, these lines are parallel to each other, yet they don't appear that way.

February 28, 2015 — Felicity Muth

Peacocks Produce Sounds We Can’t Hear

If you're lucky enough, you may have seen a peacock displaying to a female. It's an impressive event to witness: the peacock spreads and ruffles his enormous, brightly coloured tail feathers for a female, who, after checking him out, may choose to mate with him or not.

February 28, 2015 — Felicity Muth

Can Pigs Empathize?

There are a handful of traits that scientists and philosophers would argue would make us human, including self-awareness and language. Another key part of being human is thought to be our ability to empathize (although I sometimes find myself doubting some humans' abilities to empathize).

January 13, 2015 — Felicity Muth

What Makes Bowerbirds Such Good Artists?

Bowerbirds are perhaps the most intriguing artists of the bird world. Their beautiful constructions are built purely to impress females (they are not nests, as often mistaken to be).

January 7, 2015 — Felicity Muth

Why Do Rock Sparrows Decorate Their Nests?

When you read the word `communication', you probably think of language in some form, likely spoken or written. This is because, as humans, we're obsessed with communicating through language; it's likely that an hour doesn’t go by in your day when you don't communicate with someone by phone, email or text.

December 31, 2014 — Felicity Muth

Nevada Celebrates Pollinator Week

The title of this article probably is an overstatement. Perhaps instead it should have been ‘a small subset of people in Reno, and possibly in Vegas (because everything you can think of exists there) celebrated pollinators for a week.

July 16, 2014 — Felicity Muth

Psychic Animals and Football-Playing Bees

Working in the field of animal behaviour means that around World Cup season it’s hard to avoid being sent links to so-called ‘psychic’ animals that predict the outcome of matches, such as Paul the octopus, Leon the porcupine and Anton the tamarin.

July 15, 2014 — Felicity Muth

Limited Time Offer: Scientific American Health & Medicine Premiere Issue

Limited Time Offer: Scientific American Health & Medicine Premiere Issue