Odd Creatures 

Giant invasive flatworms found in France and overseas French territories

One of the consequences of globalization is the introduction of invasive species. Giant hammerhead flatworms, or land planarians, up to 40 cm (over 1 foot) in length, are reported from France and overseas French territories by an international team led by Jean-Lou Justine of ISYEB (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France). This is the first study of this invasion, reported in an article to be published in the open-access journal PeerJ.

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How animals holler

While humans can only broadcast about one percent of their vocal power through their speech, some animals and mammals are able to broadcast 100 percent. The secret to their long-range howls? A combination of high pitch, a wide-open mouth and a clever use of the body’s shape to direct sound — none of which are factors that humans can replicate.

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Odd Creatures 

Birds from different species recognize each other and cooperate

Cooperation among different species of birds is common. Some birds build their nests near those of larger, more aggressive species to deter predators, and flocks of mixed species forage for food and defend territories together in alliances that can last for years. In most cases, though, these partnerships are not between specific individuals of the other species — any bird from the other species will do.

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Probiotics to protect bees from an infection associated with colony collapse disorder

Adding probiotics to bees’ food helps make them more resistant to nosemosis, a fungal infection associated with colony collapse disorder that has been observed in Europe and North America over the past 20 years. Probiotics can decrease the mortality rate of this infection in bees by up to 40%, report researchers at Université Laval in the most recent edition of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

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Odd Creatures 

The mystery of lime-green lizard blood

Green blood is one of the most unusual characteristics in the animal kingdom, but it’s the hallmark of a group of lizards in New Guinea. Prasinohaema are green-blooded skinks, or a type of lizard. The muscles, bones and tongues of these lizards appear bright, lime-green due to high levels of biliverdin, or a green bile pigment, which is toxic and causes jaundice. Surprisingly, these lizards remain healthy with levels of green bile that are 40 times higher than the lethal concentration in humans.

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Odd Creatures 

Crocodiles listen to classical music in MRI scanner

What happens in a crocodile’s brain when it hears complex sounds? An international research team headed by Dr Felix Ströckens from the Department of Biopsychology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) has provided the answer to this question. In a first, the researchers examined a cold-blooded reptile using functional MRI. They were thus able to determine that complex stimuli triggered activation patterns in the crocodile’s brain that are similar to those in birds and mammals — a deep insight into evolution. The results were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences on April 25, 2018.

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