Bigger is better, if you’re a leatherback sea turtle. For the first time, researchers have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

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More than a half century after claims that a new frog species existed in New York and New Jersey were dismissed, a team of scientists has proven that the frog is living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina and are naming it after the ecologist who first noticed it.

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Researchers have discovered a new reproductive mode in frogs and toads — breeding and laying direct developing eggs in live bamboo with narrow openings — which was observed in the white spotted bush frog (Raorchestes chalazodes). This critically endangered frog is currently only one of two species known to adopt this novel reproductive strategy.

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Species of poison frogs that utilize bright warning coloration as protection from predators are more likely to develop louder, more complex calls than relatives that rely on camouflage. New research indicates that because these visual cues establish certain species as unsavory prey, they are free to make noisy calls in plain sight and better attract possible mates.

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Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species — in as little as 15 years — as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.

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With new nano-sized acoustic transmitters, scientists followed the pathways of loggerhead turtle hatchlings. According to the study, local oceanic conditions are believed to drive the evolution of some unique swimming behaviors.

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The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it’s definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, and being less sexually active. The research team investigated how longevity of 1,014 species of scaled reptiles is influenced by key environmental characteristics and by their feeding and sexual habits.

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To date, it was thought that the loggerhead turtle arrived to the Mediterranean from North America and the Caribbean after the last glacial period. However, latest scientific studies show that this marine species colonized the Mediterranean between 20,000 and 200,000 years ago, so the colonization event took place before the last glacial period.

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Two closely related viruses that have been introduced to northern Spain in recent years have already led to the collapse of three different species of amphibian — the common midwife toad, the common toad, and the alpine newt — in the protected area of Picos de Europa National Park. In all, six amphibian species have suffered from severe disease and mass mortality and researchers say that the viruses appear to be on the move.

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By screening over 2,000 approved drugs and natural products, scientists have shown that tannic acid may help ease the impact of bacterial lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Tests completed using experimentally modified frog oocytes show that tannic acid counteracts the harmful effect of an enzyme produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). However, more research is needed to find out if tannic acid can help treat S. aureus infections in humans.

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No single ‘one-size-fits-all’ model can explain how biodiversity hotspots come to be, finds a study of more than 700 species of reptiles and amphibians in Madagascar. By analyzing the distribution of Madagascar’s lizards, snakes, frogs and tortoises, researchers find that each group responded differently to environmental fluctuations on the island over time. The results are important because they suggest that climate change and deforestation in Madagascar will have varying effects on different species.

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The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a unique bed of inclined sand and using a snake-like robot to test ideas spawned by observing the real animals, both biologists and roboticists have now gained long-sought insights.

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Chicken taste receptors are ‘broadly tuned’ for bitter taste, whereas six frog taste receptors are mixed, consisting of broadly as well as narrowly tuned receptors. In general, individual substances activated different receptors in clearly separated concentration ranges, which may also provide a clue to the role of bitter taste diversity in enhancing the chance of survival.

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Researchers have enlisted a Caribbean lizard to help them find out on how geography can influence the evolution of animal species.

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Researchers have enlisted a Caribbean lizard to help them find out on how geography can influence the evolution of animal species.

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