Horse shoe crabs on beach

The humble animal who saves the most human lives

Credit for ‘most lives saved’ must go to the Atlantic horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus. The American Horseshoe Crab is a unique and valuable marine invertebrate. In 1950, while searching for medical cures, scientists isolated a bright-blue blood a clotting agent, conagulogen, that binds to fungi and endotoxins from the horseshoe crab. Horseshoe crabs do not have haemoglobin in their blood, but instead use hemocyanin to … Continue reading The humble animal who saves the most human lives

cone snail

Cone Snail Venom Could Inspire Fast-Acting Insulin For Diabetes

Forget slow and steady. For the cone snail, it’s fast-acting chemistry that wins the race.Researchers have now shed light on the structure of a speedy insulin that cone snails use to paralyse prey. You don’t want to mess with cone snails. These undersea predators stun prey with a harpoon-like appendage that injects venom, or they release immobilising venoms into nearby water. For decades scientists have … Continue reading Cone Snail Venom Could Inspire Fast-Acting Insulin For Diabetes

aeria -whale-survey

Annual aerial survey of southern right whales

The Mammal Research Institute’s Whale Unit (University of Pretoria) will be conducting their annual aerial survey of southern right whales from 29 September through to mid-October. This is the 38th consecutive annual survey and the resulting dataset is one of the longest such datasets available worldwide. This survey, flown in an Airbus H120 at an altitude of approximately 300m and some 500 to 800m offshore … Continue reading Annual aerial survey of southern right whales

Can white sharks see in murky water?

SHARK EYESIGHT A shark’s eyes are almost on completely different sides of its head, so the shark has a nearly 360-degree field of Vision. However, they have two major blind spots; right in front of the snout and right behind the head. Sharks’ eyes are built just like ours A shark’s eye is similar to the eye of other vertebrates, with many parts that we’d recognize: a lens, … Continue reading Can white sharks see in murky water?

Iconic breaching is not the only way white sharks hunt for their prey

A Dyer Island Conservation Study in Gansbaai Sheds Light on Great White Hunting Behavior When we think of great white hunting behaviors, the iconic image that comes to mind is that of a shark breaching from the water, a seal clamped helplessly in its jaws. Great whites represent the archetypal ambush hunter to many of us, suggests there may be more to their hunting techniques … Continue reading Iconic breaching is not the only way white sharks hunt for their prey

Where did the Gansbaai sharks go?

Gansbaai is one of three great white shark cage diving hotspots in the world and the only location with all year round shark activity. That was until January 2016. For the first time in the shark cage diving history of Gansbaai the white sharks mysteriously disappeared. For over a week the eight shark cage diving operators launched extensive search attempts in different parts of the … Continue reading Where did the Gansbaai sharks go?

Southern Right Whales..gentle giants of the ocean

The southern right whale, Eubalaena australis, is amongst the largest of the four baleen whales that come close inshore on the southern African coast: • Southern Right • Humpback Whale • Bryde’s Whale • Minke Whale They arrive along the South African coasts between May and June and their numbers peak during August,   September and  October. Right whales are easily distinguished from other whales by … Continue reading Southern Right Whales..gentle giants of the ocean

Elusive leopard kill 33 penguins at Stony Point

Betties Bays’ elusive but well-loved leopard created havoc at the African penguin colony at Stony Point last week. Social media buzzed with excitement and concern about the fate of the leopard. Cape Nature, who took over the management of the Stony Point penguin colony in June 2014 issued this statement on their Facebook Page; “We have proactively increased nocturnal patrols and introduced additional scent deterrents … Continue reading Elusive leopard kill 33 penguins at Stony Point

Humpback Whale flippers solve helicopter air flow problems

We’ve all seen movies of humpback whales playing in the sea. The most obvious feature is a nice symmetrical tail slapping the water as it dives. But we also see an awkward-looking flipper emerging as it breaches the water. That flipper fin has white lumps along its edge – lumps called tubercles. Still, it seems so crudely made. But it’s not what it seems. It’s actually a highly mobile … Continue reading Humpback Whale flippers solve helicopter air flow problems

Psst, Buddy, That Cute Penguin Is Making Eyes At You..

To Save African Penguins, Humans Set Up a Dating Service GREENSBORO, N.C. — When the African penguins Derek and Geirfugl were given their own room last spring, keepers at the Greensboro Science Center questioned whether they liked each other enough to take their relationship to the next level. Derek was more interested in interacting with her human keepers than with other penguins. And when she … Continue reading Psst, Buddy, That Cute Penguin Is Making Eyes At You..