Nature Stories: Word from the Wild
Tales about new wildlife research, conservation and quirky critters.
Roger Di Silvestro
Check out these stories in National Wildlife magazine’s “News of the Wild” for December./January:
Last Supper for a Caterpillar
A new study in Utah’s Great Basin desert has found that when a wild plant called coyote tobacco is attacked by hornworm caterpillars, the plant emits an odorous SOS that attracts insects that feed on the caterpillars.
Humpback Whales Form Special Bonds
Biologists with the Mingan Island Cetacean Study in St. Lambert, Quebec, have discovered that humpback whales form long-term pairs during the summer feeding season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the first such report of pair bonds in baleen whales.
Penguins in Trouble
More than 180 penguin biologists, gathered for the Seventh International Penguin Conference at Boston’s New England Aquarium, reported in September that declining population numbers continue to plague 10 of the world’s 18 penguin species.
Bonus “News of the Wild”
Right Whales Ramp It Up
Human activities have increased noise levels in the ocean. Recently, for the first time, biologists found that endangered North American right whales, which number only about 400 animals, increase the volume of their vocalizations in response to that human-generated noise. How the rising decibel levels of both the whale calls and the ocean background noise affect whale behavior remains unknown, according to a report published recent in Biology Letters. Ship collisions and fishing-gear entanglement are the right whales’ leading causes of death.