Muscle as a tunable material: implications for achieving muscle-like function in robotic prosthetic devices
Summary: Here, we consider insights into muscle mechanics based on new ideas about the giant protein titin as a tunable viscoelastic element in active muscles, and discuss implications for design and control of robotic prostheses.
Summary: This Review examines why developmental stress studies in the avian taxa show conflicting results, identifies benefits and costs of developmental stressors and recommends future studies in the field.
Highlighted Article: Unlike hypoxia-tolerant rodents inhabiting similar niches, star-nosed moles are intolerant to hypoxia, which may reflect an evolutionary trade-off favouring the extreme sensory biology of this unusual insectivore.
Summary: Molecular markers of memory formation, CREB, CamKII and fen-1, are expressed similarly in the mushroom bodies and optic lobes of honey bees following visual aversive conditioning.
Highlighted Article: Mussels repair shell damage caused by fatigue within one week and further strengthen shells within one month. Bivalve shells are a dynamic armor, responsive to accumulating weakening damage.
A higher mitochondrial content is associated with greater oxidative damage, oxidative defenses, protein synthesis and ATP turnover in resting skeletal muscle
Highlighted Article: High aerobic activity is linked to an accrual of oxidative damage and greater costs associated with protein turnover.
Summary: Stability of the social environment influences oxidative balance in dominant and subordinate males in a tissue- and marker-specific manner in experimental groups of cichlid fish.
Convergent evolution of skin surface microarchitecture and increased skin hydrophobicity in semi-aquatic anole lizards
Summary: Multiple Anolis lineages independently evolved a similar skin surface microarchitecture with water-repellent properties as an adaptation to a semi-aquatic lifestyle.
Photoperiod is involved in the regulation of seasonal breeding in male water voles (Arvicola terrestris)
Highlighted Article: In the field, male water voles show dramatic seasonal changes in morphological and neuroendocrine markers along the hypothalamo–pituitary–gonadal axis, which are strongly influenced by photoperiod as shown under controlled laboratory conditions.
Regulation of host phenotypic plasticity by gut symbiont communities in the eastern subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes)
Summary: A novel example of influences of gut-microbial communities on host phenotype indicates how gut symbionts modulate phenotypic plasticity in a eusocial super-organism.
Kinematic and dynamic aspects of chimpanzee knuckle walking: finger flexors likely do not buffer ground impact forces
Summary: Theoretical analysis and experimental evidence, in addition to previous EMG studies, indicate that finger flexors are likely not involved in buffering ground impact in chimpanzee knuckle walking.
Exposure to low temperature prepares the turtle brain to withstand anoxic environments during overwintering
Summary: Acute low temperature exposure and anoxia alter electrical properties in turtle pyramidal neurons similarly. However, acute low temperature exposure lengthens repolarization time, but acclimation to low temperature reverses it.
Electrocommunication signals indicate motivation to compete during dyadic interactions of an electric fish
Summary: Electric fish adjust their competition behavior according to mutual assessment, where electrocommunication with so-called ‘rises’ could signal a loser's motivation to continue assessment through ritualized fighting.
Wading through water: effects of water depth and speed on the drag and kinematics of walking Chilean flamingos, Phoenicopterus chilensis
Summary: Flamingos change limb kinematics such as step height and limb joint angle as speed and water depth change, with higher steps in intermediate depths that may reduce drag imposed by water.
Membrane lipid metabolism, heat shock response and energy costs mediate the interaction between acclimatization and heat-hardening response in the razor clam Sinonovacula constricta
Summary: Investigation of the heat-hardening responses in intertidal bivalves after acclimatization to warm seasons highlights the mediating role of membrane lipid metabolism, heat shock responses and energy costs in the interaction between the heat-hardening responses and seasonal acclimatization.
Running away or running to? Do prey make decisions solely based on the landscape of fear or do they also include stimuli from a landscape of safety?
Highlighted Article: Integrating safety cues into the landscape of fear models of predator–prey interactions can provide a more thorough understanding of animal decision making. Crayfish use safety cues associated with shelters in high risk situations but not in low risk events.
Cryptochrome-dependent magnetoreception in a heteropteran insect continues even after 24 h in darkness
Summary: Existing animal magnetoreception models are either light dependent or light independent. Cryptochrome protein (Cry) is at the center of the light-dependent mechanism. Interestingly, the firebug Pyrrhocoris apterus shows both Cry-dependent and darkness-resistant magnetoreception.
Influence of an L-type SALMFamide neuropeptide on locomotory performance and muscle physiology in the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus
Summary: SALMFamide neuropeptide can regulate the locomotor behavior of sea cucumbers; muscle metabolic physiology after SALMFamide treatment indicates potential physiological mechanisms underlying this regulation.