Category archives: Ethology

The bodyguard

The bodyguard

EthologyNeurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

Ladybugs are beautiful beetles and many present what is called an aposematic coloration, bright and striking colors that warn: do not eat me, I am dangerous. When they are disturbed, they defend themselves with legs and jaws, expel a poison and their brightly colored elytra with black dots are a warning to anyone who tries […]

Sex, alcohol and flies

Sex, alcohol and flies

EthologyNeurobiology

By Ignacio Amigo

Men have been drowning their love sorrows in alcohol since the dawn of times. What probably none of those lonely broken-hearted drinkers might have imagined, is that their despair would serve as inspiration for an interesting research involving sex, alcohol and flies. As the story goes, a group of researchers at the University of California […]

Building bridges

Building bridges

BiologyEthology

By José Ramón Alonso

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 move together as a single body. Thus, the aggregation and joint movement require the coordination […]

Defend your friends

Defend your friends

BiologyEthology

By José Ramón Alonso

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 moist and warm climates. The ants collect and exploit the honeydew produced by the mealybugs […]

Metacognition in nonhumans

Metacognition in nonhumans

EthologyNeuroscience

By José Ramón Alonso

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, problem-solving, decision making, comprehension and production of language, etc. Metacognition can take many forms; it […]

Sounds of seduction

Sounds of seduction

BiologyEthology

By José Ramón Alonso

Ants communicate through different mechanisms in order to regulate their social organization. The best known is through scented chemicals known as pheromones. These chemical messengers are received at the tips of the antennae and differences in concentration between the left one and the right one are used as an orientation vector. Ants use about ten […]