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Archive for month: April, 2016

Nope: Another Giant Super-Rat Found In UK

Nope: Another Giant Super-Rat Found In UK

You might remember all the fuss over the ‘giant rat’ found in London a little while back, well this one would certainly give it a run for its money. The rodent – which measures in at two feet long – was captured at someone’s home in Humberston, Grimsby, after pest controllers were called in to deal with reports of the vermin scuttling along their patio. Grim.

The owner of S.W.A.T. Total Pest Control, Jeff Sullivan, 58, confirmed that this is the biggest rat he’s encountered in his 18 year career in the sector.

He said:

” There is a lot of misrepresentation with guys taking photos of rats with mobile phones and holding it out at an extreme arms-length to create the illusion that it’s bigger than it really is. But this is the real deal, it’s the largest rat I’ve ever seen.

He’s referring to the four foot rat found in London not too long ago, which actually turned out to be a trick of perspective and was only two feet long.

Just to make this a bit more terrifying, it sounds like this could become a much more regular occurrence, as they predict there is a plague of ‘super rats’ in the UK.

Usually Britain’s rodent population is decimated by the cold, but due to the mild winter weather this year, the rats spent the colder months eating and growing in size, reports The Mirror.

A view echoed by Jeff, who revealed that the rats are eating high-protein food to bulk up to their insane size and are also becoming almost impossible to kill with traditional rat poisons.

This particular rat was caught using traps, which is the most eco-friendly way of dealing with vermin.

We’re not exactly thrilled that these giant rats now seem to be an actual thing- it’s definitely not something I want to encounter in my kitchen anytime soon!

Source :   UNILAD, News
Writer :   Alex Mays

Ant antennae two-way communication system

Ant antennae two-way communication system

Ants use their antennae to send and receive messages. Scientists believed ant antennae were like human ears — designed to receive communication signals. Researchers from University Of Melbourne found ants also use their antennae to send signals.

Biologists made the discovery while studying changes in surface chemistry during ant interactions. The bodies of ants — like bees, beetles, flies and wasps — are coated in cuticular hydrocarbons, CHCs, wax-like chemical compounds that protect insects from dehydration and aid in communication.

When the Melbourne scientists stripped the CHCs from an ant’s antennae the insect became unrecognizable to the rest of the colony.

The phenomenon suggests antennae help ants deliver key information about who they are and where they’re from to their peers.

“An ant’s antennae are their chief sensory organs, but until now we never knew that they could also be used to send out information,” researcher Qike Wang, a PhD student at Melbourne, said in a news release. “Like everyone else, we assumed that antennae were just receptors, but nature can still surprise us.”

Wang and his research partners also found different parts of the ants’ bodies featured different mixtures of CHCs. Their findings — detailed in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B — suggest different parts of the body can deliver different pieces of information.

“Compared to visual or acoustic signals, we know rather less about chemical signals, and one reason might be that we are analyzing a mixture of different signals,” Wang said. “What we’d like to know is what more they might tell us.”

Source :   UPI, Science News
Writer :   Brooks Hays

Pregnant Cockroaches On Human Genetics

Pregnant Cockroaches On Human Genetics

Researchers hope to uncover the genetic mechanisms that take place during cockroach pregnancy and use this knowledge to better understand human pregnancy. The first-ever sequencing of a cockroach genome species, Diploptera punctate, has been created by researchers at the University of Cincinnati and may help scientists create a research model similar to current models that utilize data from mice and apply it to humans.

In this case, the model could reveal the effects of stress during pregnancy on both the mother and daughter. The researchers extracted ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is found in the cells of every living organism that inhabits the Earth, and created a gene readout to examine the stages of changes that take place during cockroach pregnancy and examine if these changes can be applied to other mammals.

“When I started this project two and a half years ago, we might have had a maximum of 80 sequenced genes for this animal,” Emily Jennings, who conducted the research, said in a press release. “Now, we’ve found as many as 11,000 possible genes. We’re in the process of assigning functions, roles and names by comparing sequences to sequenced genomes, such as that of the fruit fly, stored in the database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information.”

“We’re on the edge of creating an exciting new resource for examining how a mother nourishes her babies before birth, a process typically associated with mammals,” she added.

During pregnancy, the D. punctate cockroach creates a unique milky secretion that provides its embryos with various essential nutrients including proteins and carbohydrates, a process that is comparable to how pregnant mammals utilize placentas. Jennings’ research will focus on the gene expression that takes place during the pregnancy process and examine the possibility of the presence of genes that start or stop the pregnancy.

“Ultimately, our next step will be looking at how interaction between the mother and the embryos can be affected, so if the mother is stressed during pregnancy – such as being exposed to a toxin or being deprived of resources such as food and water – we want to see how that can affect development of the embryos,” Jennings said.

The findings are currently being presented at the annual national meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Portland, Ore., until Jan. 7.

Source:    HNGN – Headlines and Global News
Writer:    Tyler MacDonald

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