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Stories by Katherine Harmon

Unusual Octopods: A Flapjack Devilfish Octopus [Video]

The many octopus species that live beyond the reach of vacationing snorkelers, scuba diving researchers and even near-shore commercial fisheries are relative unknowns compared with the more familiar shallow-water species...

March 29, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Unusual Octopods Elude Science: The Case of the Football Octopus

Shallow-water octopuses can be difficult enough to find. They camouflage against corals, hide in holes and generally make themselves scarce. But researchers can at least attempt to observe and collect them by snorkeling, diving or skimming nets and bottom trawls.The rest of the vast, dark ocean, however, presents a much larger sampling challenge...

March 27, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Mimic Octopus Makes Home on Great Barrier Reef

Of all the amazing octopus species out there, the mimic octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus , is perhaps the most bewildering. While most known octopuses are able to change color and shape for camouflage, mimic octopuses can also impersonate other animals to deter would-be predators...

March 21, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Octopuses Get One Chance at Love [Video]

The octopus is a solitary creature. Most known species of octopus avoid the company their own kind. And you might, too, if you knew your conspecific were capable of cannibalism.So in public aquariums, these animals are usually kept in separate tanks to keep them safe (and to avoid any unsightly encounters in front of visitors)...

March 12, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Salt Linked to Autoimmune Diseases

Nanowires used to disarm single genes in cells without harming or altering them were used to reveal that sodium chloride might cause harmful T cell growth

March 6, 2013 — Katherine Harmon and Nature magazine

Rare Social Octopuses Break All the (Mating) Rules [Video]

Of the hundreds of known octopus species, most are anti-social, practice safe sex (to avoid getting eaten by a mate) and lay just one clutch of eggs before dying.The poorly understood larger Pacific striped octopus, however, seems to break from these conventions: They are somewhat social, they mate face-to-face, and the females produce multiple batches of offspring.The octopus is so rare that science has yet to even give it a formal Latin name...

February 27, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

3-D Printed Octopus Suckers Help Robots Stick

Legions of animal-inspired robots are being created to improve military missions and disaster response efforts—from crawling cockroach-like RHex bots to leaping Sand Flea robots and the speeding Cheetah machines...

February 21, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Quails Demonstrate Mastery of Camouflage to Protect Their Colorful Eggs

A quail egg is like a protein-filled, free lunch, waiting on the ground to be spotted—and devoured—by a predator. But the Japanese quail ( Coturnix japonica ) seems to have mastered an impressive level of camouflage-manipulating behavior to keep her eggs off the menu.Female Japanese quails tend to lay distinctive eggs that are specific to each individual quail...

January 17, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Docs Frequently Fail to Sniff Out Boozers

Height? Weight? Any changes in your health? Do you smoke? Simple screening in the doctor's office can help clinicians pick up on potential health problems.

January 15, 2013 — Katherine Harmon
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