New results show that land-living crabs, descended from marine ancestors, have re-invented key aspects of the insect nose through evolution in order to solve the problem of olfaction in their air-filled terrestrial environment.
The robber crab, Birgus latro, is the world’s largest land-dwelling arthropod, with a weight reaching 4 kg and a length of more than half a meter. Robber crabs are perhaps most famous for their ability to climb tall palm trees in search of coconuts, which they later are able to crack open with their massive claws. These crabs are fully adapted to a life on land and will actually drown if submerged in water. The robber crab’s transition from sea to land has been accomplished through numerous, and in many cases far-reaching, adaptations. A question not previously addressed is how the robber crabs have adapted to olfaction in their new environment – an intriguing question because the sense of smell needs to operate under very different conditions in air compared to water.
In the new work, Marcus Stensmyr and Bill S. Hansson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, together with colleagues from Lund University, Sweden and the University of New South Wales, Australia, show not only that these impressive crabs have a functional sense of smell but that the olfactory system they have developed is in fact highly sophisticated and sensitive. Moreover, the crabs have managed this evolutionary feat by adopting olfactory strategies similar to those of insects.
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy