PHOTOS: New “Green Bomber” Sea Worms Fire Glowing Blobs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 20, 2009   View Article

Researchers announced the discovery of at least five new “green bombers”-deep-sea, swimming worm species armed with “bombs” that glow a brilliant green when dropped.

The glowing bombs are thought to distract predators such as fish, allowing the worms to escape.

Predator Fish Help Coral Reefs Rebound, Study Shows

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 5, 2006   View Article

The return of a top predator in a Bahamas marine reserve is proving unexpectedly beneficial to coral reefs there, according to a new study.

The finding is a relief to scientists, who were concerned that the reserve’s population of predatory Nassau grouper would swell at the expense of the already vulnerable reefs, which are quickly disappearing due to disease, hurricanes, and warming oceans.

Cicada Swarm Proves a Feast for Predators

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 24, 2004   View Article

A female thumb-size wasp known as a cicada killer might sound like the perfect predator to combat the billions of periodical cicadas swarming much of the eastern U.S. this May and June.

The wasp (Sphecius speciosus) paralyzes a cicada with her sting, carries it back to a chamber in her underground burrow, lays an egg on it, and seals the chamber. A few days later the egg hatches and the wasp larva eats the cicada alive.

Birds Eat Birds as Fish Stocks Fall, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 18, 2004   View Article

Off the northeastern coast of Great Britain, fishing boats are swarmed by seabirds gorging on the undersized catch and fishy waste that is routinely discarded overboard. But as the number of discards are declining—partly due to measures to conserve fish stocks—some predatory birds have turned to eating their feathered fellows with more frequency, according to a new study.

As a consequence of this dietary shift, some defenseless bird communities face a threatening decline in their populations, said Stephen Votier, an ornithologist at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

Whale-Worn Camera Sees Precision in Feeding Frenzy

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 16, 2004   View Article

When the normally placid waters of Alaska’s Chatham Straight begin to bubble in a violent boil, marine biologist Fred Sharpe slips up to the cauldron’s edge for a front row seat. He knows a coordinated feeding frenzy of epic proportions has just begun.

The bubbles are blown by a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) circling about 45 feet (14 meters) below the ocean surface as several of the whale’s mates scream and wave their pectoral flippers in an effort to ensnare herring (Clupea pallasi) in the net of bubbles.

Camera Worn by Lion May Aid African Conservation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 16, 2004   View Article

At more than 300 pounds (135 kilograms) of muscle and bone, a full-grown female lion can kill her prey with a single, stealthy pounce and clamp of her powerful jaws. The trick in central Kenya’s Laikipia District is to make sure the lioness’ prey is wildlife, not livestock.

“There are no formally government protected areas in Laikipia,” said Laurence Frank, a wildlife biologist at the University of California at Berkeley. “All of it is privately owned in one form or another.”

Elusive Jaguars Remain a Mystery, Even to Experts

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 25, 2003   View Article

“Yaguara,” the South American Indian word for jaguar, literally means the animal that kills in a single bound.

The elusive, spotted-coat cats secretly stalk their prey until just the right moment. Then they pounce with a graceful thud: In one leap the cats must snap their prey’s spine or else go hungry.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach