locusts swarm

They Hop, they Jump, they Fly

Locusts on the move

When I was still living in Perth (Western Australia), the newspaper reported a case of a horse race that was being abandoned and a cricket match that was cancelled for one and the same reason: invading swarms of migratory locusts, thousands upon thousands of them. What causes these insects from time to time to build up their populations to immense numbers with hundreds of millions of individuals gathering together, migrating across the land and ravaging anything green on their way of destruction? What is known is that environmental conditions are to blame. Continue reading

eye discovery pond snail photoreceptor

A Multiple-Purpose Photoreceptor – the eye of the pond snail

Seeing through the pond snail’s eye

In this time and age of global information flow, internet and machine translations, it is unthinkable that a discovery no matter where and in which language published, even if it were Basque, Haussa, or Aymara, would remain unnoticed as had happened in the 19th century with Mendel’s epoch-making laws of inheritance. Continue reading

fish intelligent brain mute

Mute as a Fish

But fish aren’t stupid

As the saying goes “Travel broadens the mind”: I agree, provided one is not only relaxing, basking in the sun, eating and drinking well and generally lazing around, but also takes an interest in learning something new and exploring the environment.

On a trip to a Japanese town by the name of Tsu in the prefecture known as Mie, I got to know a method that would allow me to go on an extended vacation without having to worry about who is going to feed my aquarium fish while I’m away. Dr Kohbara showed me some goldfish in his laboratory, which when hungry snap at a little bead that’s hanging in the water and is attached to a string that operates a switch of an electronic feeding machine. By pulling at the string, a knife tip of food is released from the feeder. Continue reading