Supersynchrony in Banded Mongoose females

Banded Mongoose females have a unique system of supersynchrony when they have their babies – they all give birth on the same night.

The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a small carnivorous mammal found in central and eastern Africa – and one of 25 African species of mongoose. It is related to the Meerkat.

Most mongooses are solitary, but the Banded Mongoose lives in a colony of about 20 individuals, and up to 55 individuals. The colony lives underground in burrows, called dens.

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Fieldfares poop on their enemies

The Fieldfare bird has a defence system using its faeces – its excrement, its poop – which can be fatal to its enemies and predators.

The Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) is a small bird in the Turdidae family of thrushes. It is related to the Song Thrush and the Mistle Thrush. It is native to countries in northern Europe and Asia.

It lives in small colonies. The female makes a cup-shaped nest, in a tree, bush, or among rocks, where she lays 5-6 eggs and sits on them until they hatch after 13-14 days.

To guard the nest and to protect itself from predators, such as a Raven, the colony of Fieldfares uses a flying faecal defence system by pooping on its enemies. 

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What is the difference between hard coral and soft coral?

What is the difference between hard coral and soft coral?

Corals are marine (saltwater) invertebrate animals that usually form colonies of individual polyps, mainly in tropical reefs. 

Hard coral is also called stony coral.

Hard coral is in the sub-class Hexacorallia (hexa means six), whereas bue coral and soft coral are in the sub-class Octocorallia (octo means eight).

Hard coral is in the Scleractinia order, whereas soft coral is in the Alyconacea order.

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CREATURE FEATURE: European Ground Squirrel

The European Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) is a rodent mammal in the Sciuridae family of squirrels. It is also known as the European Souslik.

The European Ground Squirrel has a slender body with a short, bushy tail. Its short fur is yellowish-grey, flecked with black hair. Its underside is pale. It has large, dark eyes and small, rounded ears. It has short feet with sharp claws for digging. It has strong, gnawing teeth. It has a small nose with whiskers. 

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Bubble Coral

The Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) is a marine (saltwater) zooxanthellate coral in the Caryophylliidae family of stony corals, although this is not definitive according to some zoologists – they refer to its classification as Incertae sedis or Problematica (which means ‘uncertain placement’ or ‘problematic’). It is in the Cnidaria phylum. It is also known as Grape Coral, Pearl Coral, and Bladder Coral. 

The Bubble Coral ‘bubble’ is grape-sized and roundish. It is cream to yellowish to light beige. Bunched together, like grapes, they form a colony that looks like an inverted cone. 

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RESEARCH: Social spiders help each other to catch their prey

There are many animal species that hunt in packs to kills their prey, especially when the prey is large. Examples of animals that hunt in packs include wolves, lions, dogs, hyenas, and ants.

Pack hunting is also called cooperative hunting because each individual animal in the pack cooperates with the rest of the pack for the same purpose. 

A new 2021 research study shows that some spider species also practice cooperative hunting to help each other to catch their prey. Researchers at the University of Toulouse in France observed two colonies of a social spider species called Anelosimus eximius. The researchers copied the actions of prey entering a spider web – they created vibrations in different parts of the webs – and filmed the responses of the spiders.

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Knobby Finger Coral

The Knobby Finger Coral (Porites duerdeni) is a marine (saltwater) coral in the Poritidae family of polyp stony corals.

The Knobby Finger Coral looks like short, stubby, branching fingers in small, mound-shaped colonies. The top of each finger is spherical. It has widely spaced calices with retracted polyps. It has a well-developed wall reticulum. It can be varied in colour from light grey to yellowish-green and pinkish-red. It is sessile (not moving), with a mouth in each polyp.

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RESEARCH: Albatrosses divorce more often when ocean waters are warm

Research scientists think that albatrosses divorce and seek new partners when conditions are harsher than usual, reported Science News in November 2021. The research was documented in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B.

The albatross is a large seabird in the Diomedeidae family. The albatross is a monogamous bird, which means that it stays with the same partner for life. However, when ocean waters are warmer than average, more of the albatross birds break up and look for a new partner, says a recent study.

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Plate Coral

The Plate Coral (Lithophyllon repanda or Fungia repanda) is a large marine (saltwater) polyp stony coral in the Fungiidae family of mushroom, disc, or plate coral. It is not a plant. It is also called the Mushroom Coral and the Fungia Plate Coral.

The Plate Coral is a colony of organisms, each with a separate mouth. It is shaped like a plate with a round, flat body, which is raised a little in the centre where the mouth is. It is covered with short tentacles, less than 2 centimetres (less than an inch) in height. It can be a variety of colours, from brownish to yellow, red, blue, or orange.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Red-Crowned Parrot

The Red-Crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis) is a bird in the Psittacidae family of parrots. It is also called the Green-Cheeked Amazon Parrot or Mexican Red-Headed Parrot. 

The Red-Crowned Parrot is green with a bright red forehead and crown, dark-blue streak behind the eyes, and light-green cheeks. Some have red and blue feathers under their wings. It has a white eye-ring with bright yellow eyes. It has a beige beak and cere. It has grey or beige legs. 

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European Paper Wasp

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is a hymenopteran insect, a winged insect related to bees, wasps, and hornets. It is a vespid and a polist wasp in the Polistini tribe. It is a social wasp. It is also known as the Common Poet. 

The European Paper Wasp has a slender yellow and black body and long yellowish-orange legs. It drags its legs behind it when it is flying, because its legs are long. Its narrow wings are orange with dark tips. It has large eyes. Its antennae are yellowish-orange with club-shaped tips. 

It has a venomous stinger at the end of its abdomen. It can sting multiple times because the stinger stays in the body (the stinger of bees comes out of the body when the bee stings an animal, so it can only sting once). 

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Fallacy: All Bees Live in Hives

A fallacy is something that is not true.

All bees live in hives is a fallacy.

Do all bees live in hives? No, not all bees live in hives. There are social bees and solitary bees.

A colony of bees—many thousands of bees—are social bees that live together in a hive. The Bumblebee and the Honeybee (or Honey Bee) are social bees, living in colonies, and living in hives.

However, solitary bees do not live in hives. 

Most bee species are, in fact, solitary bees.

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Violescent Sea-Whip

The Violescent Sea-Whip (Paramuricea clavata) is a marine (saltwater) soft coral in the Plexauridae family. It is also known as the Purple Gorgonin. It is an animal, not a plant. 

The Violescent Sea-Whip is red or reddish-purple, but it may be partly yellow. It grows in the soil at the bottom of the ocean. It has branching arms, like a whip, that form a fan shape. The stem and branches are made from a protein called gorgonin, that forms a bony skeleton. Polyps protrude from the skeleton. The polyps have a central mouth disc with eight tentacles around the circular disc. 

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