strange behaviors

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    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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The Next Big Thing #2: Working On The Right Mussels

Posted by Richard Conniff on December 27, 2013

North America is a mother lode of freshwater mussels, with almost 300 native species. Their looks are dull, but their behaviors aren’t. In one species, for instance, the female puts out a fleshy mantle that does a convincing imitation of a minnow. But when a real fish comes to investigate, the mussel blasts larvae into its gills, turning the fish into a mussel incubator.

Unfortunately, many native mussels are now being overwhelmed and suffocated by invasive zebra and quagga mussels. Researchers have been testing scores of microbes in search of a way to kill the invaders and save the homegrown species. The common North American soil bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens didn’t sound like a contender at first. It’s a beneficial microbe used in agriculture to protect the roots of some plants against fungi and nematodes. One strain even helps turn milk into yogurt. But when researchers tried strain CL145A, it killed the invasive mussels without harming anything else.


One Response to “The Next Big Thing #2: Working On The Right Mussels”

  1. […] « The Next Big Thing #2: Working On The Right Mussels […]

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