Jeffrey and Jacob made the video.
This video is about a North American porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum.
After the discovery, earlier this year, of another new tree porcupine species in another part of Brazil, Wildlife Extra writes now:
December 2013: A new species of porcupine has been discovered in Brazil by biologists from the Federal University of Paraíba. Named Coendou baturitensis it is a medium-sized prehensile-tailed porcupine with a body densely covered with tricolour quills that belongs to the Coendou genus.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines are nocturnal, herbivorous, solitary rodents native to Central and South America and measure 0.7-1 m long including the tail and weigh about 3-5kg. They feed on bark, leaves and buds as well as fruit and root vegetables. Their most noticeable feature is their long, unspined tail, which they use it as a fifth limb to helps them hold on to branches as they climb through the forest canopy.
The new species, Coendou baturitensis, only known habitat is the Baturité Range in the Brazilian state of Ceará.
“The name refers to the locality of origin, a forests on a mountain range similar to the Brejos de Altitude of the Brazilian Northeast where a fauna different from that of the surrounding semiarid Caatinga can be found,” co-authors Dr Anderson Feijó and Dr Alfredo Langguth wrote in the paper published in the journal Revista Nordestina de Biologia.
See also here.
- Conversation Starter (nicolebhs.wordpress.com)
- A baby porcupine and her apple | video | @GrrlScientist (theguardian.com)
- New wild cat species discovery in Brazil (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Dogs get painful lesson from porcupine (journalstar.com)
- Cryptozoology – Scientists discover new cat species roaming Brazil (disclose.tv)
From Wildlife Extra:
November 2013: Red squirrels could be capable of building up a resistance to the devastating disease squirrel pox that has decimated their numbers, scientists have found.
A study by the University of Liverpool has found that the red squirrel population along the Sefton coastline in Merseyside seems to be recovering from a serious outbreak of squirrel pox in 2008. Along with Lancashire Wildlife Trust researchers have been monitoring the red squirrel population at the Seaforth Coastal reserve, which had fallen by 85 percent as a result of the outbreak.
Dr Julian Chantrey, from the Institute of Integrative Biology, said: “We have had a unique opportunity to study the dynamics of the squirrelpox disease. So far, our findings indicate that they are recovering from the disease which affected them so severely in 2008. There are even indications that a few of the surviving squirrels appear to have antibody to the virus, which would suggest that they have recovered from infection in the past.
“More recently, we have identified a red squirrel that recovered naturally from squirrel pox and was released back into the population. However, at this stage, there is insufficient evidence to say whether there is significant resistance in the population as a whole to prevent another pox outbreak.”
Squirrel pox is a potentially fatal disease which affects red squirrel populations in the UK and is thought that to be a significant factor in the decline of the red squirrel population. It is a member of the pox virus family and is passed to red squirrels from grey squirrels, which rarely die from the disease. The disease causes scabby lesions on the squirrel’s body, including the eyes, ears,and fore and hind paws, and suppresses the immune system.
- Red Squirrel recovery (ntpressoffice.wordpress.com)
- Red squirrels show pox resistance (bbc.co.uk)
- Red squirrels showing resistance to poxvirus (theguardian.com)
- VIDEO: Testing red squirrels for pox resistance (bbc.co.uk)
- Red squirrels showing resistance to poxvirus (oddonion.com)
- Perthshire comeback for red squirrels (scotsman.com)
- Red squirrels under threat from humans (theguardian.com)
- Belfast Zoo celebrates red squirrel breeding success (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
This video is called Extinct hyenas tribute.
Among the finds so far in the coprolites is an Alpine marmot piece of bone. And a burying beetle shield. Scientists are still investigating which beetle species in the Nicrophorus genus that was. Had the beetle, like the hyena, been attracted by a dead mammoth?
- Hyenas, new research (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Getting the Dirt On Ancient Life With Coprolites (science.slashdot.org)
- North Side woman’s video captures clash between lions, hyenas (triblive.com)
- FWC seizes two hyenas from former Sasquatch Zoo (nwfdailynews.com)
- Bacteria Affect Smell Hyena (technologyka.wordpress.com)
- Hyena’s Bad Smell May Stem From Bacteria, Not Animal Itself (scooprocket.com)
- Ancient Shark’s Last Meal: Baby Turtle (livescience.com)
- Watch: Beaver Does Aerobics, Dreams of Becoming a Personal Trainer (news.softpedia.com)
- Going paperless: Beaver saves trees by working on a laptop instead (metro.co.uk)
- Who Doesn’t Want to Play With A Platypus? (neatorama.com)
This video from California in the USA says about itself:
6 March 2013
Ten years after removing nonnative rats the ecosystem on Anacapa Island, including rare seabirds, is showing profound results of recovery.
Ashy storm-petrels are nesting on the island for the first time ever recorded and Cassin’s auklets have expanded their territories in the absence of rats as predators. Significantly, the number of Scripps’s murrelets nests has quadrupled with a 50 percent increase of eggs hatched.
Rats are known to have negative impacts to island ecosystems. Rats are the most significant cause of bird extinctions on islands and are estimated to be responsible for half of bird and reptile extinctions worldwide.
Nonnative black rats, which were first reported on Anacapa Island in the early 1900s, threatened critical breeding habitat for these rare seabirds. They were eating approximately 70 percent of the eggs of the once common Scripps’s murrelet, a state-listed threatened species. They also preyed upon native deer mice, reptiles, insects, intertidal invertebrates, and plants.
From Wildlife Extra:
Rat Island cleared of rats after 230 year infestation
Rat Island is officially rat free
October 2013. Biologists have confirmed that Rat Island, a remote island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, is now rat-free for the first time for 230 years. The report comes after two years of careful field monitoring at Rat Island, where the invasive predator caused major declines on native bird populations by preying on eggs and chicks and altered the native ecosystem in numerous ways.
Largest rat eradication in Northern Hemisphere
Restoring habitat on Rat Island to benefit native wildlife is the largest rat eradication ever undertaken in the Northern Hemisphere and the first in Alaska. The eradication of the non-native rats took place in September of 2008 after four years of planning. The restoration of the 10-square-mile island was accomplished by Island Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
7,000 acres reclaimed for wildlife
“Rat Island is the most ambitious restoration effort we’ve undertaken on a refuge island, and we couldn’t have done it without our partners,” said Geoff Haskett, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Nearly 7,000 acres of wildlife refuge habitat has been reclaimed for native wildlife and that is an exciting result.
Giant song sparrow increases
Biologists have confirmed increased numbers of at least one native bird after just two rat-free nesting seasons on the island. The giant song sparrow, found only in the central and western Aleutian Islands, is now commonly occurring on Rat Island. Song sparrows were only rarely seen on the island prior to the restoration. Other species confirmed nesting on the island and expected to benefit from rat removal include black oystercatchers, glaucous-winged gulls, pigeon guillemots, rock sandpipers, common eiders, red faced cormorants and gray-crowned rosy finches. Over the long term, burrow nesting seabirds, driven from the island by rats, are expected to return and re-colonize the island.
“The presence of nesting birds is deeply gratifying,” says Bill Waldman, executive director of the non-profit Island Conservation. “Our field team was overjoyed to see so many song sparrows this year after working on the island for several years with only an occasional glimpse of one.”
Arrived in 1780
Though Rat Island is a remote island in the Aleutian chain about 1,300 miles west of Anchorage, invasive Norway rats arrived via a 1780′s shipwreck preying on native birds and altering the native vegetation during the ensuing 220 years. The Rat Island restoration is the most recent project in a long campaign to restore otherwise healthy seabird habitat in the Aleutians.
“We’re incredibly pleased to see this fresh new start for Rat Island,” said Randy Hagenstein, director of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska. “In the Aleutians, great clouds of seabirds normally fill the skies over islands teeming with life. The rats’ devastation had turned Rat Island into an eerily quiet place.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been at work in the Aleutian Islands, most of which lies within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, restoring seabird habitat by eradicating non-native species for more than four decades. Non-native foxes have been taken off over 40 islands in the refuge including Rat Island but this was the first rat eradication for the refuge.
To ensure that invasive rats don’t spread to other globally significant seabird habitats in Alaska, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leads the ongoing Stop Rats! campaign to help ships, harbours, and towns to prevent the spread of rats.
“The history of Rat Island shows we need to prevent future disasters caused by invasive species. Alaska is almost entirely rat-free, and it’s absolutely vital we work together to keep it this way. Birds that build nests on the ground – such as ducks, seabirds and songbirds – simply can’t defend their eggs and chicks from non-native predators such as rats,” said Haskett, Alaska Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
300 successful rat eradication programmes
Island habitat restorations are occurring across the globe. Worldwide, there have been more than 300 successful eradications involving invasive rodents. Rats are responsible for about half of all bird and reptile extinctions on island habitats.
In 2008, the Rat Island Wildlife Habitat Restoration team spread grain-based bait pellets across the island from helicopters flying a GPS-guided flight path.
Two years of monitoring following international standards revealed no sign of rats. Although initial non-target mortality was higher than expected, no sign of any additional bird mortality was observed in 2010 and populations of affected bird species are already recovering on Rat Island.
With the rats gone, restoration partners and the Aleutian Pribilof Island Association agree that an Aleut (Unangan), name would be a fitting tribute to the restored island. APIA is now taking steps to enact a name change. Once a name is selected, it will await approval from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
- The Birds Are Back! ‘Rat Island’ Renamed (livescience.com)
- Former ‘Rat Island’ in Alaska Has Whole New Look (sci-tech-today.com)
- A ‘Silent’ Rat-Infested Island Now Looks Like Paradise (businessinsider.com)
- Rat Island, Alaska is rat free for the first time since the 18th century (thewildlifenews.com)
Aaron van den Elsen made this video.
Red squirrels in Zeeland: here.
- VIDEO: Idyllic new home for red squirrels (bbc.co.uk)
- Red squirrel on the rise after decades of decline (itv.com)
- After 140 years, red squirrels are fighting back (telegraph.co.uk)
- Red squirrels in helicopter delivery (bbc.co.uk)
- Native red squirrels WINNING war on foreign greys after 140 years of decline (mirror.co.uk)
- Increase in the number of red squirrels boost UK tourism (express.co.uk)
- Red squirrels ‘making a comeback’ (bbc.co.uk)
- The whole beast (studentghettoblog.wordpress.com)
- Red Squirrels, Robins and Sapir-Whorf (adiscounttickettoeverywhere.wordpress.com)
By Peter Frost in Britain:
Star Journalist Eats Dormouse Shocker
Friday 11th October
PETER FROST makes no bones about a youthful indiscretion that profoundly affected his culinary preferences
Some years ago a fraternal delegation of British trade unionists were touring Tito’s Yugoslavia.
After an afternoon visiting farms and factories they had reached a castle in Slovenia.
The multicourse evening dinner was impressive, the folk music and dancing equally entertaining.
The actual meal, a meaty spicy stew Slovenian speciality, had been delicious. But what was the curious dark gamey meat?
The bones indicated a tiny animal but lack of a common language got in the way of a correct identification.
The best the young and rather embarrassed student acting as translator could manage was “mouse.” She reluctantly announced it with predictable and dire consequences to the spirit of international working-class solidarity.
That Slovenian delicacy was the edible dormouse (Glis glis). The Romans loved to eat them too. They kept them in terracotta jars with wheat and honey and the little animals stuffed themselves to twice their normal size ready for roasting.
When I lived in Hertfordshire edible dormice made their home in my loft. They played noisily among the boxes and papers but I never tried to cook them.
The animal, looking just like a miniature squirrel, had been introduced by the multimillionaire naturalist Lionel Walter, the second baron Rothschild, at his country seat at Tring Park.
This video is called Horrible Histories-The Second Baron Rothschild. The Second Baron Rothschild has dinner with monkeys, live snakes round the banisters and a carriage drawn by zebras!
Rothschild used his great wealth to collect and import rare and exotic species from all over the world in what was once his very own private museum.
The building was built in 1889 to house his huge collection of mounted specimens and first opened to the public in 1892. The Rothschild family gave the museum and its contents to the nation in 1937. Today it is a branch of the Natural History Museum and open to the public.
Walter loved messing about with nature. He bred hybrids between zebras and horses and you can see the result, a stuffed hybrid foal on display at the museum.
He was frequently seen driving a zebra-drawn carriage into the local town.
Another great, or perhaps tiny, obsession of this curious baron was flea circuses and the Tring museum has an amazing collection of these strange phenomena.
Rothschild introduced many live exotic birds and animals into his Tring estate and, not surprisingly, many escaped and are now living locally or in some cases all over Britain.
That’s why today you can find a healthy population of dormice anywhere up to a hundred miles from Tring Park. From the six animals brought to Britain in 1902 there are now thousands making a nuisance of themselves all over the home counties.
Although dormice are regarded as a pest the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits certain methods of killing and taking dormice, and removing them may require a licence. The law isn’t very clear on whether you can cook and eat them.
The edible dormouse is the largest of all dormice, being up to seven inches long plus its five-inch bushy tail. It weighs up to five ounces but can stuff itself to twice that weight before hibernation or cooking.
Like a lizard the dormouse, when grabbed by the tail, can allow its skin to break easily and slide off the underlying bone, allowing it to escape. The exposed vertebrae then fall off and a stumpy tail regrows.
Edible dormice like to live among oak and beech woods. They particularly love old, well-established, apple orchards and feed mainly on berries, apples, and nuts. However, they are adaptable, and would also eat bark, leaves, and flowers.
They will also eat insects, beetles and other invertebrates, and even raid small birds’ nests for eggs.
Their primary predators are owls and foxes and also curious wild food fanatics who want to find out for themselves what the Romans and the Slovenians are making all that fuss about.
- Profile: dormice (the cutest creatures in existence?) (wildsouthuk.wordpress.com)
- Dormouse: A far from sleepy adventure (insearchofthegruffalo.wordpress.com)
- Rare bird egg found in Aberdeen Uni museum drawer (scotsman.com)
- The Tring about Hertfordshire (lookrightturnleft.wordpress.com)
After our item on blind rodents, immune to cancer, another rodent. Not blind at all: quite big eyes. Immune to cancer too, as far as I know. However, not immune to the economic race to the bottom of “austerity” which destroys health care, education etc. in Greece and elsewhere.
Many Greek parents who used to be able to afford both health care and Mickey Mouse magazines for their children are unable to pay for either by now.
From Keep Talking Greece blog today:
Mickey Mouse fells victim of the Greek crisis
The Greek crisis swallows another famous victim: Mickey Mouse. After 48 years of publishing the Mickey Mouse magazines in Greek, Christos Terzopoulos announced the stop of the publication.
The Greek edition of Mickey Mouse was published by Nea Aktina S.A. from 1 July 1966 until August 2013.
- How to draw Mickey Mouse the Disney way (telegraph.co.uk)
- Russian Parliamentarians compare Obama to Mickey Mouse (voiceofrussia.com)
- That time Mickey Mouse was a Drug Dealer (messynessychic.com)
- Mickey Mouse Mag Stops 48-Year Run (greece.greekreporter.com)
- Dog Does Not Like Mickey Mouse (socialitelife.com)
This video is called Spalax microphthalmus, Mole-Rat.
Today, there was news about “deaf” frogs which turned out to be not really deaf.
Now, about blind mole-rats which turn out to be blind indeed; however, they turn out to have other strong points.
From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA today:
Blind mole-rats are resistant to chemically induced cancers
Like naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus gaber), blind mole-rats (of the genus Spalax) live underground in low-oxygen environments, are long-lived and resistant to cancer. A new study demonstrates just how cancer-resistant Spalax are, and suggests that the adaptations that help these rodents survive in low-oxygen environments also play a role in their longevity and cancer resistance.
The findings are reported in the journal Biomed Central: Biology.
“We’ve shown that, compared to mice and rats, blind mole-rats are highly resistant to carcinogens,” said Mark Band, the director of functional genomics at the University of Illinois Biotechnology Center and a co-author on the study. Band led a previous analysis of gene expression in blind mole-rats living in low-oxygen (hypoxic) environments. He found that genes that respond to hypoxia are known to also play a role in aging and in suppressing or promoting cancer.
“We think that these three phenomena are tied in together: the hypoxia tolerance, the longevity and cancer resistance,” Band said. “We think all result from evolutionary adaptations to a stressful environment.”
Unlike the naked mole-rat, which lives in colonies in Eastern Africa, the blind mole-rat is a solitary rodent found in the Eastern Mediterranean. Thousands of blind mole-rats have been captured and studied for more than 50 years at Israel‘s University of Haifa, where the animal work was conducted. The Haifa scientists observed that none of their blind mole-rats had ever developed cancer, even though Spalax can live more than 20 years. Lab mice and rats have a maximum lifespan of about 3.5 years and yet regularly develop spontaneous cancers.
To test the blind mole-rats’ cancer resistance, the Haifa team, led by Irena Manov, Aaron Avivi and Imad Shams, exposed the animals to two cancer-causing agents. Only one of the 20 Spalax tested (an animal that was more than 10 years old) developed malignant tumors after exposure to one of the carcinogens. In contrast, all of the 12 mice and six rats exposed to either agent developed cancerous tumors.
The team next turned its attention to fibroblasts, cells that generate extracellular factors that support and buffer other cells. Previous studies of naked mole-rat cells have found that fibroblasts and their secretions have anti-cancer activity. Similarly, the researchers at Haifa found that Spalax fibroblasts were efficient killers of two types of breast cancer cells and two types of lung cancer cells. Diluted and filtered liquid medium drawn from the fibroblast cell culture also killed breast and lung cancer cells. Mouse fibroblasts, however, had no effect on the cancer cells.
To help explain these results, Band and his colleagues looked to the gene expression profiles obtained from their previous studies of blind mole-rats in hypoxic environments. The researchers had found that genes that regulate DNA repair, the cell cycle and programmed cell death are differentially regulated in Spalax when exposed to normal, above-ground oxygen levels (21 percent oxygen) and conditions of hypoxia (3, 6 and 10 percent oxygen). These changes in gene regulation differed from those of mice or rats under the same conditions, the researchers found.
Spalax naturally have a variant in the p53 gene (a transcription factor and known tumor suppressor), which is identical to a cancer-related mutation in humans, Band said. Transcription-factor genes code for proteins that regulate the activity of other genes and so affect an animal’s ability to respond to its environment. The research group in Israel showed “that the Spalax p53 suppresses apoptosis (programmed cell death), however enhances cell cycle arrest and DNA repair mechanisms,” he said.
Hypoxia can damage DNA and contribute to aging and cancer, so mechanisms that protect against hypoxia – by repairing DNA, for example – likely also help explain the blind mole-rat’s resistance to cancer and aging, Band said.
“So now we know there’s overlap among the genes that affect DNA repair, hypoxia tolerance and cancer suppression,” he said. “We haven’t been able to show the exact mechanisms yet, but we’re able to show that in Spalax they’re all related. One of the lessons of this research is that we have a new model animal to study mechanisms of disease, and possibly discover new therapeutic agents.”
Explore further: The naked mole-rat’s secret to staying cancer free
- Zoologger: The rat that defies powerful carcinogens (newscientist.com)
- Study Reveals Naked Mole-rats Secret of Staying Cancer Free (medindia.net)
- Blind mole rats may hold key to cancer (3quarksdaily.com)
- Biologically Supreme: Naked Mole Rat Now Found To Be Immune To Cancer (nocamels.com)
- The naked mole-rat’s secret to staying cancer free (medicalnewstoday.com)
- The rat that defies powerful carcinogens (newscientist.com)
- Simple molecule prevents mole rats from getting cancer (3quarksdaily.com)
- Naked Mole Rats Help Scientists Fight Cancer (scienceworldreport.com)
- The naked mole-rat’s secret to staying cancer free (medicalxpress.com)