Friday Faves February 27, 2015

We're not going to discuss "the dress" or the great llama chase of 2015 (where was I yesterday?) ...but there's plenty else to talk about!

False memory in bumblebees

In an experiment that might be called "confuse a bee," bees were trained on two different stimuli that indicated a reward (a yellow flower, or a black and white striped flower). After training, they were given three flowers to choose from: one yellow, one black and white striped, and one YELLOW striped - combining qualities from the test stimuli. Bees chose the flower most recently rewarded.

A few days later, the bees started to chose the yellow striped flower, suggesting their memory was getting fuzzy and they were hedging their bets for a treat! Read more here.

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Ants have a toilet too

Ants are well-organized animals that create trash piles outside of their nest areas; but scientists  recently found that they will choose one place within their nest to poo. How do you do this? Feed ants colored sugar solution! This is the first evidence of ant toilets within their living space.

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Rats reciprocate helping

Rats were either given bananas or carrots (less yummy to rats) by a fellow rat buddy (note: it's not like walk up and hand the other rat a banana - from what I can tell they pull a level that gives the other rat access to the food item). Later on, the recipient rat could choose to pull one of two levers to give one of the "givers" some oats in return. The recipient rat preferred to give oats to the rat who had given them bananas, suggesting the rats remembered who had helped them and how.

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Bonus Video: Octopus hunting on land

An octopus took advantage of a tide pool to catch a crab. The footage is amazing!

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