Author Archives: José Ramón Alonso

José Ramón Alonso
José R. Alonso has a PhD in Neurobiology and is professor of Cell Biology at the University of Salamanca. He has been researcher and visiting professor at the University of Frankfurt/Main and the University of Kiel, in Germany, and the University of California, Davis and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in the United States. He has authored more than 145 articles in peer-reviewed journals and written 20 books including university textbooks and popular science for both adults and children.

Phragmosis is a method by which an animal defends itself in its burrow by using its own body as a barrier. This term was coined by W.M. Wheeler in 1927 to describe a cryptic defensive technique employed by arthropods that […]

Bulldog ants (Myrmecia pyriformis) are the most dangerous ants on Earth. The name of these Australian native ants is due to the way they bite and hang off their victims using their mandibles: they sink their teeth and they keep […]

Slime mold is an informal name given to several kinds of unrelated eukaryotic organisms that can live freely as single cells but when food is in short supply, many of these unicellular organisms will congregate to form multicellular structures that […]

Brood parasites are organisms that rely on others to raise their young. The strategy appears among fishes, birds and insects, including some species of ants. Slave-making ants capture brood from other ant species to increase the worker force of their […]

Ants are among the most diverse, abundant and ecologically significant organisms on earth. They have colonized almost every landmass on Earth and the only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in […]

Mutualistic interactions are ubiquitous phenomena occurring between many classes of organisms. The mutually beneficial relationship between ants and honeydew-producing mealybugs (hemipterans) is a very well-studied example. Mealybugs belong to the family Pseudococcidae and they are unarmored scale insects found in […]

Swarm robotics studies the coordination of many simple physical robots that act as a single multirobot system. The interactions between the individual robots and the interaction of the robots with the environment generate a collective behavior that is named […]

Metacognition is «cognition about cognition», or «knowing about knowing». It comes from the root word «meta», meaning beyond, and the word «cognition» that includes all mental abilities and processes related to knowledge: attention, memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning, biological computation, […]

Sleep has a critical function in metabolic homeostasis. Its restorative function may be a consequence of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system . The glymphatic system is a functional […]

An «earworm» is a tune that arises seemingly spontaneously in the mind and becomes “stuck” in the head for hours or days. It is also called brainworm, musical imagery repetition, involuntary musical imagery, and stuck song syndrome. Sometimes we […]