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Tag: species

Lemur losses could threaten Madagascar's largest tree species

Lemur losses could threaten Madagascar's largest tree species

Science
July 2 (UPI) -- Madagascar's largest tree species are under threat. So are the island nation's iconic primates, its lemurs. Healthy forests are essential to Madagascar's lemurs, and new research suggests the trees need healthy lemur populations to survive. They rely on each other. "Forest loss is a huge problem in Madagascar right now, but our study suggests that just saving the trees is not enough," Amy Dunham, associate professor of biosciences at Rice University, said in a news release. Lemurs disperse the seeds of Madagascar's largest hardwood species. And as the new research showed, lemurs are the only animals on the island large enough to ingest the seeds found inside the fruits of Madagascar's largest tree species. During a previous survey, scientists tracked the diets of 24 group...
New species of extinct gibbon found in tomb of Chinese emperor's grandmother

New species of extinct gibbon found in tomb of Chinese emperor's grandmother

Science
June 21 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a new extinct species of gibbon. The ape's skull was discovered inside the tomb of the grandmother of an ancient Chinese emperor. Lady Xia was the grandmother of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, who came to power in 221 BC and ordered the construction of the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors. The noblewoman's tomb was first excavated in 2004. Inside the tomb, researchers discovered several animal burial pits. New analysis of a 2,200-year-old ape skull recovered from one of the pits suggests Lady Xia kept as a pet a gibbon unlike any modern species. "Having gibbons as pets appears to have been common among Chinese royals during ancient times," Alejandra Ortiz, a researcher at New York University, told NPR. Though researchers we...
Cuckoo bee species 'hiding in plain sight'

Cuckoo bee species 'hiding in plain sight'

Science
Scientists have discovered 15 new species of cuckoo bees hidden in North American museum collections and in an ancient thesis.Like their avian counterparts, cuckoo bees lay their eggs in the nests of other bees, usually solitary dwellers.When the cuckoos hatch they kill off the usurped bees' larva and are raised by the unsuspecting host. Researchers say that this type of behaviour is common in bees and up to 15% of species are cuckoos.While there are many different genera, or types, of cuckoo bees, all the new discoveries relate to one genus, Epeolus. The new findings bring to 43 the total of Epeolus species in North America. These cuckoos are said to look more like wasps than other bees, with a smoother, less fuzzy look. This is...
Scientists discover new species of exploding ant

Scientists discover new species of exploding ant

Technology
A new species of ant which can detonate its body when threatened has been discovered by scientists. A research team from Austria, Thailand and Malaysia found the insects, Colobopsis explodens, in the rain forest in Borneo.The ants fend off attackers by latching on to enemies and flexing their bodies so violently that they explode, releasing a toxic yellow liquid and killing themselves instantly.The yellow goo is sticky, can be fatal for predators, and is said to smell similar to curry.This tactic is used by minor worker ants to kill or hold off intruders, often to defend the whole colony.Researchers described the species as "particularly prone to self-sacrifice".Image:The 'doorkeeper' ant has a plug-shaped face to barricade nest entrancesIt is rare in nature for individuals to volunta...