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Zoologger: The first solar-powered vertebrate

When you think about it, animals are weird. They ignore the abundant source of energy above their heads – the sun – and choose instead to invest vast amounts of energy in cumbersome equipment for eating and digesting food. Why don’t they do what plants do, and get their energy straight from sunlight?The short answer is that many do. Corals are animals but have algae living in them that use sunlight to make sugar. Many other animals, from sponges tosea slugs, pull the same trick. One species of hornet can convert sunlight into electricity. There are also suggestions that aphids can harness sunlight, although most biologists are unconvinced.

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More Wolverine frogs! Japanese species uses bony thumb-spikes to fight and hold onto mates

Discover Ed Yong 20121019

Four years ago, I wrote about a group of African frogs that remind me of the Marvel Comics character Wolverine, who fights with three retractable claws in each arm. The frogs, belonging to the family Arthroleptidae, also have bone claws in their feet. They use these in defence, as many naturalists discovered to their dismay.

They’re not alone. On another continent, Noriko Iwai from the University of Tokyo has studied a different species – the Otton frog – that carries a similar bony spike in its foot. It’s large for a frog, growing to around 12 centimetres in length. The males use their spikes as anchors to latch onto females, and flick-knives for duelling with rival males.

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Kryssning – OBS NY TID!
Då helgen som vi tidigare gått ut med var dubbelt så dyr att resa på har vi beslutat att ändra datumet. Fredagen den 22 februari (OBS NYTT DATUM) arrangerar SHF en utfärd till Helsingfors med Silja Line (avresa 17:00). På programmet står ett besök på Tropicario ( som SHF betalar för. Vi är tillbaka i Stockholm söndag 24 februari. Resan kostar c:a 400 kr/p.p. Anmälan till Mårten på tel. 073 – 972 28 83. Bokning av båtresan sker direkt vi TallinkSiljas hemsida. Om ni bokar buffe så välj den som serveras klockan 20:00.