Cover: Hummingbirds can lower their body temperature and metabolism at night to save energy, using a strategy called torpor. Shankar et al. (jeb243208) found much finer control of hummingbird body temperature than birds are usually shown to have: they lower their temperature by varying amounts, and use a shallow form of torpor to balance the trade-offs of using deep torpor versus remaining in normal body temperature sleep. This composite thermal image shows a male black-chinned hummingbird in normal sleep early in the night (left), transitioning to deep torpor, and then in deep torpor (right). Photo credit: Anusha Shankar, Isabelle Cisneros and Don Powers.
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On the feeding biomechanics of nectarivorous birds
Summary: Nectar-feeding birds employ unique mechanisms to collect minute liquid rewards from floral structures. This Commentary details the three stages of nectar feeding and suggests research pathways to expand our current knowledge.
Long distance homing in the cane toad (Rhinella marina) in its native range
Summary: Translocation-homing experiments reveal that non-territorial, non-migratory Rhinella marina can navigate to home areas following displacements exceeding regular, natural movements, suggesting a previously unconsidered prevalence of navigational abilities amongst amphibians.
A novel intramandibular joint facilitates feeding versatility in the sixbar distichodus
Summary: The sixbar distichodus is a freshwater, plant-eating fish with an extra joint in its lower jaw that allows it to feed in new ways compared with fishes lacking the joint.
Discontinuous gas exchange in Madagascar hissing cockroaches is not a consequence of hysteresis around a fixed PCO2 threshold
Summary: Discontinuous gas exchange cycles in cockroaches do not arise from internal PCO2 oscillations around a fixed ventilatory threshold. DGCs continue when haemolymph PCO2 exceeds values recorded during continuous gas exchange.
Severe hypoxia exposure inhibits larval brain development but does not affect the capacity to mount a cortisol stress response in zebrafish
Summary: Severe acute hypoxia exposure in larval zebrafish significantly decreases forebrain neural proliferation but does not affect the long-term capacity to mount a cortisol stress response.
A heterothermic spectrum in hummingbirds
Editor's Choice: Three hummingbird species are capable of a temperature spectrum from normothermy to torpor, implying that some birds, at least, can precisely control their metabolic state.
Rapid blood acid–base regulation by European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in response to sudden exposure to high environmental CO2
Summary: European sea bass exposed to 1 kPa (10,000 µatm) CO2 regulate blood and red cell pH within 2 h and 40 min, respectively, protecting O2 transport capacity, via enhanced gill acid excretion.
Elastic energy storage across speeds during steady-state hopping of desert kangaroo rats (Dipodomys deserti)
Summary: The ankle extensor tendons of desert kangaroo rats store and return elastic energy in relation to hopping speed, recovering more energy at faster speeds.
Maternal food restriction during pregnancy affects offspring development and swimming performance in a placental live-bearing fish
Highlighted Article: Maternal food restriction during pregnancy results in smaller offspring, slower postnatal body fat gain and an inhibition of postnatal improvement of swimming skills during feeding, possibly leading to lower competitive abilities after birth.
Genetic variation in haemoglobin is associated with evolved changes in breathing in high-altitude deer mice
Highlighted Article: High-altitude variants in haemoglobin genes are associated with evolved changes in breathing that likely enhance O2 uptake in hypoxia in deer mice.
Behavioural responses of threespine stickleback with lateral line asymmetries to experimental mechanosensory stimuli
Summary: Stickleback with more mechanoreceptors have a stronger bias towards hovering with their right side adjacent to a surface when illuminated but a weaker bias in the dark.
Correction: Convergence of joint mechanics in independently evolving, articulated coralline algae
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.