RESEARCH: How do balls of worms untangle? It’s in the way they move!

How do balls of worms untangle? Harry Tuazon of the Georgia Institute of Technology in America has found that a ball of worms can untangle in milliseconds with a corkscrew wiggle.

What does this mean? And why is it important to know?

Researcher Harry Tuazon studied California Blackworms (Lumbriculus variegatus). He found that they tangle themselves into a ball to preserve moisture during droughts. He calls these ‘balls’ of worms knotted ‘worm blobs.’ In the wild, these balls can have up to 50,000 individual worms.

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RESEARCH: The changing vision of the Jewel Beetle 

A March 2023 study says that the Jewel Beetle evolves its vision to see new colours.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota in America are studying the Jewel Beetle, known for its elytron (shell) of vivid, iridescent, and metallic colours.

The Jewel Beetle is an insect in the Buprestidae family of wood-boring beetles. It has large, well-developed eyes, and scientists in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota want to learn about its vision. 

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RESEARCH: The Hummingbird is the most colourful bird in the world

A research study published in June 2022 in the Communications Biology journal found that the Hummingbird species, collectively, is more colourful than any other type of bird.

One way to measure colourfulness is to consider the theoretical total number of colours a bird can detect, and then estimate how many of these colours are produced on the feathers of the bird. Most birds can see more colours than humans can see because birds have extra receptors in their eyes to detect light in the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of colour. Using this method, a 2011 study published in the Behavioral Ecology journal by researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and Yale University in America, found that birds typically produce on their feathers only about 30% of the colours they see. 

In this new 2022 study, Gabriela Venable at the Duke University in North Carolina, America, and her researchers, looked at 114 species of Hummingbirds. It is the first time that a group of related birds have been studied in relation to colourfulness.

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