In the stingray world, Himantura signifer is a bit of a Cinderella compared to its well-known Amazonian cousin, Potamotrygon motoro. Living in the fresh waters of the Batang Hari river of Sumatra, Himantura passes the seasons moving up and down the river, but unlike its South American relative, it occasionally ventures far down stream, into brackish delta waters; an environment better suited to its ancient ancestors. How Himantura handles the tricky transition from fresh to salt water wasn't clear, so Yuen K. Ip and an international team of coworkers put the Asian elasmobranch through its osmoregulatory paces, to find out how it stays out of a pickle in salt water(p. 2931). Knowing that stingrays, which live in the open sea, maintain high levels of urea, Ip and his team monitored the Asian stingray's urea levels as they gently raised the salt concentration. Even in fresh water, the stingray had higher urea levels than other freshwater species, and as the team raised the salt levels,the stingray matched the rise by increasing the amount of urea in its blood. They also monitored the amount of urea and ammonia that the animals excreted as the salt concentration increased, and found both fell. Instead of dumping ammonia, they were using it to synthesise extra urea, adding it to the urea they also retained in their bodies to survive in the brackish water. But even though the fish cut their urea losses, they were never able to retain enough of the osmolyte to rejoin their ancestors out at sea.
STINGRAYS STAY OUT OF A PICKLE
Kathryn Phillips; STINGRAYS STAY OUT OF A PICKLE. J Exp Biol 1 September 2003; 206 (17): 2905. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.00528
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Meet the JEB Editors @ SEB 2023
Come and meet the JEB team at the Society for Experimental Biology centenary conference from 4-7 July in Edinburgh, UK. Visit exhibition stand 13/15 to pick up JEB centenary goodies, including our new ‘100 years of discovery’ T shirt, and join our Meet the JEB Editors event on Thursday 6 July at 12.30 at Platform 5 to find out more about the journal and chat to Editors including EiC Craig Franklin, Monitoring Editors Sanjay Sane, Trish Schulte and John Terblanche and the in-house News and Reviews team.
New funding schemes for junior faculty staff
In celebration of our 100th anniversary, JEB has launched two new grants to support junior faculty staff working in animal comparative physiology and biomechanics who are within five years of setting up their first lab/research group. Check out our ECR Visiting Fellowships and Research Partnership Kickstart Travel Grants. First deadline for applications is 15 July 2023.
JEB@100: an interview with Monitoring Editor Katie Gilmour
Katie Gilmour tells us how she first encountered the JEB Editorial team as a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, UK, and how she would like to have a Star Trek tricorder to monitor fish non-invasively in the field.
The Forest of Biologists
The Forest of Biologists is a biodiversity initiative created by The Company of Biologists, with support from the Woodland Trust. For every Research and Review article published in Journal of Experimental Biology a native tree is planted in a UK forest. In addition to this we are protecting and restoring ancient woodland and are dedicating these trees to our peer reviewers. Visit our virtual forest to learn more.
Centenary Review - Adaptive echolocation behavior
Cynthia F. Moss and colleagues discuss the behaviours used by echolocating mammals to track and intercept moving prey, interrogate dynamic sonar scenes, and exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli.
Crucial DNA at crux of insect wing size evolution
Keity Farfán-Pira and colleagues have revealed that a tiny region of regulatory DNA in the vestigial gene governs whether insect wings are large or small and has played a key role in the evolution of insect wing size.