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Wednesday, July 24

Yellow-legged gull eggs wriggle to warn nest mates about danger, induces survival traits

Yellow-legged gull chicks in their nest (image credit: Contando Estrelas)


Birds and animals emanating alarm calls to warn their offspring about possible predator presence is a common occurrence in the animal world. However, a new study published in nature Ecology and Evolution journal shows that Yellow-legged gull eggs which are exposed to such alarm calls can imbibe that information and pass it on to other nest mates through vibrations, inducing developmental changes at embryonic stage and also influencing anti-predator behavior in later life.

As part of the study, the researchers collected 90 eggs from a large colony of Yellow-legged gulls from Salvora Island in Spain and conducted an experiment to investigate whether alarm calls about predators ‘heard’ by the eggs induce anti-predator traits in the chicks when they hatch. They have created an experimental group – clutches of 3 eggs each, (totaling 45) which were exposed to alarm calls – and a control group –clutches of 3 eggs (totaling 45) which were not exposed to alarm calls. 

Tuesday, July 23

Population of Long-Billed Vultures in India still declining: Environment Ministry



Indian Long Billed Vulture, indian vulture, vulture population in india
Indian Long-billed vultures in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh (Image Credit: Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons)

Despite conservation efforts, the population of the critically endangered, Long-billed vultures is declining in India. According to Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, there are only 12000 Long-billed vultures left in India as per the latest survey figures.

Answering a query in the Lok Sabha, the Ministry informed that surveys in the past showed that the population of the vultures in the country was establishing after a sharp decline during the mid-90s till 2007. However, the latest surveys show that the Long-billed vulture population is still declining.

Wednesday, June 26

The national waterway project may put the turtles of Varanasi Ghats at stake, claims new study

Boats at Varanasi Ghats in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, India
(Image credit: Jorge Royan/Wikimedia commons)



Large vessel movement through the Ganga River as part of the proposed National Waterway-1 system under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) will pose a major threat to the geomorphology of the river and endanger the habitat of soft shell turtles in Varanasi Turtle Sanctuary (VTS), claim researchers from IIT Kanpur and Wildlife Institute of India.

According to their study published in the Current Science journal, the geomorphology within the VTS has remained stable for the past 50 years, except for some minor changes. National Waterway-1 system under JMVP which proposes to connect Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Haldia in West Bengal, enabling the movement of large cargo vessels through VTS, may disturb this stability, says the study.