New Species of See-Through Frog May Give Kermit a Run for His Money!
You thought Kermit the Frog was the cutest? Look at this little guy’s eye-popping lime-green skin, bulging white eyes, and perfectly shaped black pupils. Kermit may be rich, and he clearly he has better luck with assertive pigs, but this newly discovered glass frog has put the internet into a tizzy with its cuteness.
Brian Kubicki, founder of the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center, discovered the frog in Costa Rica. He decided to name the tiny amphibian after his mother.
The Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium dianae) has a translucent belly and a very distinctive call. It lets out a high pitched whistle like that of an insect, which may help it find a mate.
Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog rocks a see-through underbelly, leaving its organs completely visible! The reason for this lack of pigmentation remains a mystery to scientists.
Somehow this Kermit look-a-like managed for fly under the radar and evade researchers – which could be due to its whistle.
“The advertisement call that the males of this species produce are very unique, no other known species of frog has a similar call, and this was indeed one of the traits that we used for the justification of it being a completely new species,” and it “could have played a role in its going undetected prior,” said Kubicki.
This is the first glass frog discovered in Costa Rica since 1973.
Glass Frogs – According to National Geographic, ‘Glass frogs, found in Central and South America rain forests, live high in tree canopies near streams and creeks, descending when it’s time to breed. The glass frog’s name originates from its translucent, organ-revealing bellies. Their green coloration, on the other hand, helps the nocturnal frogs stay camouflaged on the undersides of leaves during the day.’
The Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog is discussed in the February 19 journal Zootaxa.
Hope You’re Not Afraid of Spiders, Because This Species Can Change Color!
A species of crab spider has the ability to slowly change color based on its background. More specifically, the female whitebanded crab spider changes from white to yellow (and the reverse) to ambush prey when hunting.
The crab spider’s color-changing abilities have been detailed for the first time in a new scientific paper, published this week in the journal Ecological Entomology.
Gary Dodson, a Ball State biology professor, and Alissa Anderson, who graduated with a master’s degree in 2012 from Ball State, were the first to measure the rate of color change in the whitebanded crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes).
‘This species of spider crab is one of the few that can reversibly change their body colour in a manner that to the human eye results in a match to the flowers on which they ambush prey,’ Dodson said. ‘We knew that females, but not males, can switch between white and yellow depending on the background. But we did not how quickly that happened.’
Using Adobe Photoshop, researchers measured the color-changing process of various female whitebanded spider crabs. They discovered that white spiders had a much easier time switching to yellow, versus yellow spiders changing to white. It is possible morphing from white to yellow is less physiologically damaging than the reverse.
FUN FACT: This species of crab spider exhibits one of the most extreme examples of sexual size dimorphism across all animals. Females, which are the size of a ‘fat kernel of corn,’ are 20 times larger in mass than males.
Frostbite, Amputation, and Adoption: This Rottweiler Was Given a New Lease on Life with Four Prosthetic Paws
This adorable 2-year-old Rottweiler’s name is Brutus, and he gets around using four specially designed prosthetic paws!
Brutus was left out in the freezing cold as a puppy and developed frostbite. His owner decided to amputate all four paws, and eventually gave him up for adoption.
Lucky for Brutus, someone noticed him in a store parking lot in Colorado, where he was looking for a new home. Hundreds of people donated money to give Brutus a new lease on life and four new paws! Brutus’ new owner, Laura Aquilina, says she just wants to give Brutus the gift of being a regular dog.
Felix Deurr, an orthopedics professor at Colorado State University, says prosthetics like Brutus’ have only been around for about 15 years and not all dogs get used to them. A study reviewing their effectiveness is due out later this year.
According to NBC News, Brutus is the second dog in history to receive four prosthetic limbs.
Aquilina says if Brutus doesn’t take to the prosthetics, she will move on without them, but by the looks of this video, Brutus is doing just fine!
Arkansas Man’s Kidney Failure Likely Linked to His 16-Glass a Day Iced Tea Habit
An Arkansas man went to the hospital last May complaining of nausea, fatigue, weakness, and body aches. After doctors conducted a kidney biopsy, they realized his kidneys were failing due to a high number of oxalate crystals found in the tissue.
Black tea is a significant source of oxalate, which is naturally found in many foods, and the 56-year-old man admitted to drinking 16 glasses of iced tea a day!
Researchers believe his excessive beverage habit could be the cause of his kidney failure, but can’t prove iced tea was the culprit.
“There are reports about kidney stones related to high oxalate intake attributed to tea, but to our knowledge there are no reports of biopsy-proven nephropathy [kidney damage] associated with excessive consumption of iced tea,” said one of the report’s co-authors, Dr. Alejandra Mena-Gutierrez, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
Although it can’t be proven that iced tea led to this man’s condition, doctors often put kidney stone patients on low-oxalate diets. Beverages that are considered high-oxalate drinks include black tea, dark beer, instant coffee, and Ovaltine.
Unfortunately, the man needed dialysis, and remained on it because the damage to his kidneys was so severe.
Researchers reported the man’s case in the April 1 New England Journal of Medicine.
Festo’s New Robotic Ants, Butterflies, and Chameleon Tongue Will Make You Do a Double Take
Festo has unveiled a slew of new animal-inspired robotic creatures you need to see to believe.
I’d like to introduce you to Festo’s BionicANTs, eMotionButterflies, and FlexShapeGripper!
BionicANTs – ‘Highly integrated individual systems to solve a common task’
The BionicANTs not only mimic the delicate anatomy of ants, but also their cooperative behavior. BionicANTs actually work together, under a clear set of rules, to coordinate their actions and movements. They even know when to branch off and use their ‘antennae’ to re-charge at the edge of their work space.
By pushing and pulling together, the ants are able to move an object across a defined area. This way, they are able to move loads that a single ant could not move alone. This technology seems playful, but it could greatly impact factories and production lines in the future.
Why ants? Ants are tough industrious workers that can carry a hundred times their own body weight. They live in big colonies with clear rankings and set rules. Ants know which tasks they need to fulfill, and they can work together to complete them.
eMotionButterflies – ‘Ultralight flying objects with collective behavior’
These might be the most beautiful robots I’ve ever seen! You have to admit they look real. Except for the large ‘Festo’ logo printed on their wings 🙂
These artificial butterflies feature highly integrated on-board electronics, allowing them to activate their wings individually with precision. No human pilot is required to control the eMotionButterflies. Thanks to indoor GPS and a complicated camera system, the bionic insects know where to fly and how to avoid collisions.
The wings are curved out of wafer-thin carbon rods and covered with an elastic capacitor film, which helps keep the eMotionButterfly’s weight as low as possible and its flight as natural as possible.
Why butterflies? Butterflies begin the world as caterpillars and later emerge as colorful flying creatures. They have large wings and slim bodies, making them light and aerodynamic.
FlexShapeGripper – ‘Gripping modelled on a chameleon’s tongue’
Gripping applications have always played a key role in production, which explains Festo’s interest in the chameleon’s highly specialized tongue. The chameleon has the ability to shoot its tongue out light a rubber band and wrap around objects like a suction cup.
The FlexShapeGripper’s water-filled silicone cap allows it to wrap itself around various items in a flexible and form-fitting manner, much like a chameleon!
Why a chameleon? Chameleons can more their eyes independently of each other and change the color of their skin depending on their mood and temperature. Their unique tongues help them attack and retract prey as quick as lightening
All three of these ‘biomimetic’ devices will be on display at the industry trade show Hannover Messe in April.