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Breeding pairs of birds cooperate to resist climate change
5 June 2017 9:00
Adeline Marcos

Most bird chicks need parental care to survive. In biparental species the chicks have greater chances of success if both parents participate in this task, especially under hostile situations. An international team of scientists has revealed that when temperatures rise, males and females in pairs of plovers shift incubation more frequently.

It is a new species
The Spanish plant that was classified by mistake
29 May 2017 8:33
Adeline Marcos

Surprisingly, there are still plant species waiting to be discovered in the Iberian Peninsula. Some are detected thanks to the latest study methods, and others, such as Linaria becerrae, are described when reinterpreting species which are already known. This new plant had been classified by mistake for 176 years in Málaga.

Tarantulas use their lateral eyes to calculate distance
18 April 2017 9:37
Eva Rodríguez

A necessary part of any animal’s sense of direction is a positioning system, allowing it to have an idea of the relation between where it is and where it wants to go; this is known as odometry. A study from the Autonomous University of Madrid shows that tarantulas use their posterior lateral eyes and anterior lateral eyes (they have a total of four pairs of eyes) to establish the distance they have travelled.

The last ‘caimans’ living in Spain
28 March 2017 10:30
Adeline Marcos

Sixteen million years ago, the reptile Diplocynodon ratelii lived in wooded ecosystems among the lakes and pools of what we know today as Catalonia (Spain). Fossils found at the Els Casots site in the Vallès-Penedès Basin confirm not only that these are the most recent remains of the genus in the Iberian Peninsula, but also that temperatures at the time were higher than today’s.

Wall lizard becomes accustomed to humans and stops hiding
22 March 2017 9:00
Eva Rodríguez

Habituating to predators or fleeing and hiding are tactics that vary between species. Scientists from two research centres in Italy and Spain have observed that adult male common wall lizards sharing their living spaces with humans become accustomed to them and hide less when humans approach them. Yellow lizards were the most “daring”.

A virus lethal to amphibians is spreading across Portugal
8 March 2017 10:30
Eva Rodríguez

A new strain of ranavirus is currently causing mass mortality in several species of amphibian in the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in continental Portugal. This infectious agent is hypervirulent and also affects fish and reptiles, which complicates the situation, according to a study boasting the collaboration of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.

The microworm of Jaén whose males have no penis
28 February 2017 9:45
Adeline Marcos

In the most arid areas where there is little to no water, there live nematodes of no more than 1 mm which feed on bacteria and help to mineralise soil and produce nutrients. In an orchard of Jaén a new species has appeared with a feature that makes them unique on the Iberian Peninsula: the males lack the copulatory organ.

The first Iberian lynx infected by the pseudorabies virus
20 February 2017 9:02
Eva Rodríguez

Matojo, the nine-month-old Iberian lynx cub found dead in 2015 in Extremadura, did not die from natural causes. His necropsy shows that it was the pseudorabies virus that triggered his sudden demise. Before this case, contagion of this infectious disease was only known in one wild cat in the world, a Florida panther.

The wren’s song becomes more complex in the city
30 January 2017 10:06
Eva Rodríguez

The European wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is a bird with a very characteristic song, with an intensity that does not tend to co-exist with low-frequency noise. However, researchers from the University of Salamanca explain in a study that their songs have become more complex in cities.

New wheat crops as an alternative to a gluten-free diet
12 December 2016 8:46
SINC

Wheat, one of the most widely consumed grains in the world, contains gluten, a mixture of proteins that can be toxic for people with coeliac disease. A new study that analysed the toxic components of these proteins in various varieties of wheat makes the first step forward towards developing wheat-based products that are safe for coeliacs.