My paper with Emily and Niall and Tara on reproductive interference in lygaeid bugs is now out online-early in Population Ecology. The paper forms part of a special issue on the topic of reproductive interference. The paper is open-access, so please access the paper here: Shuker et al 2015 Popul Ecol.
This week’s Batesian mimic of the week is the chick of the Peruvian cinereous mourner (Laniocera hypopyrra). Amazingly, the chick of this species mimics a big orange, aposematic caterpillar. For a news-piece from American Naturalist (and link to the paper) go here. Below is a Youtube clip – the chick appears 5 minutes in.
Here is something a bit different. Here is a wonderful language tree of the Indo-European and Uralic languages by Minna Sundberg. For the piece in the Grauniad about it, go here. Click on the image for a bigger version.
Well done Ginny, whose poster on the repeatability of mating failure in seed bugs won best poster at this year’s School Post-graduate symposium – nice one!
See Mischiati and colleagues in Nature for a study of hunting behaviour in the dragonfly Plathemis lydia using high-speed photography. A fun study and great to see it on the front of Nature, but perhaps not that suprising that these superb aerial hunters use “advanced” or “complex” information integration and path prediction (especially if you have ever tried to catch them!).
Mischiati et al (2015) Internal models direct dragonfly interception steering. Nature 517: 333-338.
Welcome to the future (i.e. 2015). Fortunately, it is a future where we probably won’t have to worry about machines/computers etc taking over the world, despite recent books, scare stories and comments by famous physicists. For a compelling debunking of the fear of the machines, read John Searle’s fabulous article in October 9th New York Review of Books, “What your computer can’t know” (Dave is just catching up on his NYRB reading over the holidays). Coming at his arguments from my perspective, the key point is that machines are not biological organisms, and so “taking over the world” is meaningless to a machine. Why would a super-intelligent computer (if one could be made) have such a motive? Why would they have any intentionality at all? Searle’s article is a brilliant read and I strongly recommend it. To get a reprint please either contact John Searle or head to the NYRB website (paywall). Or subscribe to NYRB of course! It is wonderful reading.