Cover: Sea otter in Simpson Bay, Alaska. The photo shows the blunt carnassial teeth in which hard food items are placed during biting events. Timm-Davis et al. (pp. 4703-4710) demonstrate that durophagy in sea otters is a specialized raptorial biting feeding mode. Their extreme blunt skull and mandibles, along with increased mechanical advantages of the masseter and increased bite force, form a repertoire of functional traits for durophagy. The kinematic data indicate innovations for the production of large bite forces at extreme wide gapes and gape angles. This image was taken under USFW permit number MA078744-4. Photo credit: Alice Cove Research.
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Sensing in a noisy world: lessons from auditory specialists, echolocating bats
Summary: Researchers use echolocating bats – with their adaptations for sound production and reception – as models for understanding how animals sense and communicate in noisy environments.
Characterizing the distribution of steroid sulfatase during embryonic development: when and where might metabolites of maternal steroids be reactivated?
Summary: Steroid sulfatase activity hydrolyzes steroid sulfates back to an active form. Here we demonstrate steroid sulfatase is present in various tissues during embryonic development.
Respiratory consequences of targeted losses of Hoxa5 gene function in mice
Summary: HOXA5 is a transcription factor broadly expressed in the respiratory system; Hoxa5 expression in the mesenchyme and phrenic motor neurons controls distinct aspects of respiratory development.
Head orientation of walking blowflies is controlled by visual and mechanical cues
Summary: Both mechanical and visual cues contribute to gaze orientation during free walking in blowflies, and when visual cues are lacking, more weight is given to gravity.
Low glucose availability stimulates progesterone production by mouse ovaries in vitro
Summary: Mouse ovaries respond directly to low glucose availability by increasing progesterone production; this may contribute to homeostatic processes that positively regulate blood glucose.
Pharmacological analysis of the transmembrane action potential configuration in myoepithelial cells of the spontaneously beating heart of the ascidian Styela rustica in vitro
Summary: The key role in the automaticity of the ascidian heart is played by the outward K+ currents, Na+ currents, activated hyperpolarization current If, and a current of unknown nature IX.
Thermal strategies of king penguins during prolonged fasting in water
Summary: Maintenance of near-normothermic temperatures in peripheral tissues of king penguins when fasting in cold water suggests maintained perfusion, presumably to mobilize free fatty acids from subcutaneous adipose tissue.
The opercular mouth-opening mechanism of largemouth bass functions as a 3D four-bar linkage with three degrees of freedom
Editors’ Choice: Extension of the traditional 2D four-bar linkage to a high-mobility, 3D four-bar linkage accurately predicts the motion of a mouth-opening mechanism in the skull of ray-finned fishes.
Fighting over burrows: the emergence of dominance hierarchies in the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus)
Summary: Dominant Norway lobsters profit from their rank in a social hierarchy by gaining increased access to burrows and by reducing activity outside the shelters as the hierarchy emerges.
Thermal tachypnea in avian embryos
Summary: Chicken embryos during the internal pipping phase (at a time when pulmonary ventilation initiates) are capable of responding to heat exposure by tachypnea.
A new method to characterize function of the Drosophila heart by means of optical flow
Summary: The analysis of coherent movement in Drosophila is established as a suitable indicator of qualitative changes of the heart's beating characteristics, which improves the usefulness of Drosophila as model of cardiac diseases.
Free-ranging dogs prefer petting over food in repeated interactions with unfamiliar humans
Summary: Free-ranging dogs are generally aversive towards making direct human contact for food. Interestingly, they show enhanced interactions with humans who provide them with positive social contact.
Aversive learning of odor–heat associations in ants
Highlighted Article: A new protocol to study aversive conditioning in harnessed ants exploiting the natural aggressive mandible opening response shows that ants are capable of aversive learning.
Myogenic activity and serotonergic inhibition in the chromatophore network of the squid Dosidicus gigas (family Ommastrephidae) and Doryteuthis opalescens (family Loliginidae)
Summary: A comparative physiological and immunohistochemical examination of coordinated activity among squid chromatophores in the absence of neural control and serotonin inhibition.
Neuromuscular mechanisms of an elaborate wing display in the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus)
Summary: We pinpoint the main skeletal muscles associated with the production of an elaborate gestural courtship display in a tropical bird, the golden-collared manakin.
Context-dependent chemosensory signaling, aggression and neural activation patterns in gravid female African cichlid fish
Summary: Gravid female cichlids show altered urine release and behavioral responses during inter- and intra-sexual social interactions. Brain activation patterns in socially relevant regions reveal context-dependent patterns.
Durophagous biting in sea otters (Enhydra lutris) differs kinematically from raptorial biting of other marine mammals
Summary: Sea otters represent a transitional stage of aquatic adaptation and use a specialized durophagous raptorial biting mode characterized by large gapes, large gape angles and lack of lateral gape occlusion.
Effects of food availability on metabolism, behaviour, growth and their relationships in a triploid carp
Summary: Food availability significantly affects physiological, behavioural and ecological processes in triploid carp by altering the trade-off between metabolism and growth.
Functional classification of gill ionocytes and spatiotemporal changes in their distribution after transfer from seawater to freshwater in Japanese seabass
Summary: Gill ionocytes in Japanese seabass originate from undifferentiated cells in the filaments and expand their distribution to the lamellae during freshwater acclimation.
The force-generation process in active muscle is strain sensitive and endothermic: a temperature-perturbation study
Summary: A temperature jump applied at the onset of ramp shortening enhanced force during the initial phase of force decline, indicating that cross-bridge force generation is both strain-sensitive and endothermic (absorbs heat).
Correction: The energetic cost of filtration by demosponges and their behavioural response to ambient currents
Correction: Honeybees in a virtual reality environment learn unique combinations of colour and shape
Correction: Audiograms of three subterranean rodent species (genus Fukomys) determined by auditory brainstem responses reveal extremely poor high-frequency cut-offs
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 Sanjay Sane
Sanjay Sane tells us about his first experience of publishing with the journal and why he thinks JEB is going to play a key role in our understanding of the current climate crisis and its implications for biodiversity.
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.
Celebrating 100 years of discovery
This Special Issue focuses on broad biological questions addressed through the lens of comparative biomechanics. Crosscutting through time, this series of Reviews, Commentaries and Research Articles addresses questions from the vantage points of the history of the field, today’s research, and the future of comparative biomechanics. Read the Editorial by Sheila Patek, Monica Daley and Sanjay Sane.
Centenary Review - Adaptive echolocation behavior
Cynthia F. Moss and colleagues Review the behaviours used by echolocating mammals to track and intercept moving prey, interrogate dynamic sonar scenes, and exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli.
Lack of oxygen curtails vision in red-eared sliders
When red-eared sliders sink to the bottom of a frozen pond for winter they reduce many biological systems to minimum life support, but now Michael Ariel and colleagues show that the reptiles temporarily lose their sight due to lack of oxygen but retain hearing.