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Index > News
In this News Blog you will news about Brachypelma spp. and other interesting news concerning the smallest among us.

You will also find messages about updates and other things concerning here.

After a while it is also possible that I will post some of my notes from my biology studies here, unless they are more relevant in other sections of the site.

WWF: The Copenhagen Deal Barometer

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 December 2009 13:51

BBC: Huge UK cave spiders 'sent' home

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A colony of huge cave spiders are finally heading home after 10 years.

The spiders have been squatting in a disused building in the Yorkshire Dales after escaping from a nearby cave, hidden in scientists' equipment.

Volunteers and staff from the National Trust's Malham Tarn estate in North Yorkshire are now transporting the spiders back to their natural home.

Measuring seven centimetres across, the cave spiders are amongst the largest spiders found in the UK.

"The time has come for the cave spiders to be relocated back to their natural homes," says Martin Davies, National Trust property manager for the Yorkshire Dales in the UK.

The old house is due to be renovated for use by visiting schoolchildren and walkers, Mr Davies explains.

Stow away

Ten years ago, a team of archaeologists from the University of Bradford carried out a major survey of the nearby Chapel Fell cave.

At the end of each day, they took their equipment to a nearby house to store overnight.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 December 2009 13:49

ScienceDaily: How a Brain Hormone Controls Insect Metamorphosis

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— A team of University of Minnesota researchers have discovered how PTTH, a hormone produced by the brain, controls the metamorphosis of juvenile insects into adults.

The finding, published in the Dec. 4 issue of Science, will help scientists understand how insect body size is programmed in response to developmental and environmental cues and offers the opportunity to develop a new generation of more environmentally safe ways to control agricultural pests as well as insects that carry human pathogens.

Scientists have known for 100 years that a brain-derived neuropeptide known as PTTH controls metamorphosis and although its specific sequence was identified 20 years ago, the way it signaled endocrine tissue has remained elusive until now.

"Understanding the signaling pathway that controls metamorphosis has been a long-term goal for many insect physiologists," says lead author Michael O'Connor, professor of genetics, cell biology and development at the University of Minnesota's College of Biological Sciences, where he holds the Ordway Chair in Developmental Biology.


Photo: Chrysalis of Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) (Credit: Pollinator publiched under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)

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Last Updated on Friday, 04 December 2009 17:22 is voting for Earth!

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Since 2007, Earth Hour has gained worldwide support for positive action against global warming. It all began with 2.2 million people in one city using their light switches to have their say. By March 2009, hundreds of millions of people in over 4,000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to vote for Earth.

This monumental swell of support for the environment has been four years in the making. And it’s all building towards one decisive moment in history – the Copenhagen climate summit, where world leaders will meet to discuss new ways of dealing with climate change.

Read more here: Earth Hour

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Last Updated on Thursday, 03 December 2009 17:21

ScienceDaily: Variable Temperatures Leave Insects With a Frosty Reception

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— For the first time, scientists at The University of Western Ontario have shown that insects exposed to repeated periods of cold will trade reproduction for immediate survival.

The study, conducted by Biology PhD candidate Katie Marshall and supervisor Brent Sinclair, has been published online by the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Results showed flies exposed to multiple bouts of cold survived better, but produced fewer offspring. Past research had demonstrated insects survive cold better if periodically exposed to warm conditions, which had led researchers to believe repeated cold exposures were better for insects than a prolonged cold exposure.

When Marshall and Sinclair tracked the number, sex and development time of offspring, however, they found that flies experiencing multiple cold exposures traded their future ability to reproduce for a chance at survival. In particular, cold-exposed flies produced fewer daughters, which is important because the number of female offspring limits the growth of a population much more than the number of male offspring.

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