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Ecology and Life
The puppy room easing life's pain in a stroke
Gentle wobblings of a 'foul gull' fulmar
Frigatebird returns to nest on Ascension for first time since Darwin
New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Uggie: 'He likes to fly first class'
It's a dog's life in China: sold for £1m or stolen and sold as meat
Malibu residents hire crew to remove rotting whale carcass from beach
Yellowstone's popular alpha female wolf shot dead by hunters outside park
What I miss most in the dead time of winter is the insects
BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China
The vibrant river was a welcome relief after the bleak, snow-covered fields
TV Review: Miniature Britain; Weight Loss Ward; Rome
Marine conservation group says UK lacks ambition to preserve seas
UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones
Live animal exports going via previously unknown routes
When a dozing otter steals the show
Newly discovered slow loris species already threatened
What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
Could this really be the fearsome, legendary Girt Dog reincarnate?
Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
Life comes cheap for winter wrens
Ash trees consumed by something of the night
Foie gras taken off menu in House of Lords
  New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Pufferfish is one common name for the 120 or so fishes of the family Tetraodontidae. They are familiar marine and estuary inhabitants and are characteristically slow but agile swimmers, unless threatened, when they are capable of sudden acceleration. Pufferfish, usually found in tropical waters, exhibit a bizarre defensive behaviour, taking in a large volume of water and swelling in size, which makes them more intimidating in appearance, or difficult to eat. Also, the liver and skin of pufferfish typically contain poisons second only to poison-arrow frogs among vertebrates in their toxicity.

The genus Canthigaster is conspicuous due to a long pointed snout and fantastic coloration, and it is thought that their bright colour patterns advertise the repellent toxins in their skin.

In contrast to the dramatic variations in colour among species, Canthigaster are usually surprisingly uniform in their morphology and DNA. For this reason colour features continue to play a major role in distinguishing between species.

C criobe was discovered during an expedition to the Gambier archipelago in French Polynesia in 2010, by Jeffrey Williams of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Erwan Delrieu-Trottin and Serge Planes of Perpignan University, France. It is recognised by the 12 to 14 orange-brown stripes beginning in front of the eye, running along the side of the body, and terminating near the base of the caudal fin.

It appears to be part of a species complex including C janthinoptera and C jactator, the former a widespread Indo-Pacific species and the latter endemic to Hawaii. Interestingly, the DNA is quite similar within this complex even though the new and Hawaiian species are separated by 3,417 miles. Groups of species within the sub-family exhibit rapid differentiation in anatomy and colour compared with slow evolution in the mitochondrial DNA. Thus C criobe and its relatives offer a fascinating way of comparing rates of molecular and morphological divergence among both widespread and geographically limited populations.

The name criobe was chosen to recognise the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l'Environnement in Moorea, French Polynesia, which is an important supporter of marine biodiversity exploration and research in the region.
New to Nature No 96: Oncopodura fadriquei
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How the stink of a waterbuck could prevent sleeping sickness in Kenya
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New to nature No 97: Ferrisia uzinuri
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New to Nature No 98: Xerophytacolus claviverpus
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Pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo after 'poisoning'
A badger's biscuit-sized footprints in the snow follow the field edge
British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals
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The lake is muted under the winter sun, like a faint watercolour painting
Should the RSPCA have pursued the man who ate a live goldfish?
Days of heavy rain have left the ancient woodland sodden
Alice Roberts: Rudolph and our early ancestors a love story
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