Placental Vasculature of a transgenic mouse embryo.
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New Species of Venomous Jellies Discovered in Australia
By Megan Gannon, News Editor, Live Science | August 13, 2014
Two new species of jellyfish (Keesingia gigas and Malo bella) have been discovered off the coast of Western Australia. One is surprisingly large. The other is tiny. Both are extremely venomous.
These two newfound creatures are thought to pack painful stings that cause Irukandji syndrome, a constellation of symptoms that includes lower back pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, cramps and spasms. Though Irukandji syndrome usually isn’t life threatening, two people who were stung in the Great Barrier Reef in 2002 died from severe Irukandji-related hypertension.
Research scientist Lisa-ann Gershwin, who is director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services, described the new box jellyfish, or cubozoans, last month in the Records of the Western Australian Museum [available as a PDF].
Gershwin said that in all of the photos the jellyfish did not appear to have tentacles and that the specimen was also captured without them.
“Jellyfish always have tentacles … that’s how they catch their food,” she said. “The tentacles are where they concentrate their stinging cells. … Some of the people working with it through the years actually got stung by it and experienced rather distressing Irukandji syndrome.”
IMAGES:  An example of the Keesingia gigas jellyfish. Photograph: John Totterdell/MIRG Australia. Via The Guardian  Keesingia gigas in bloom of sea tomatoes, Crambione mastigophora. Image credit: John Totterdell / MIRG Australia.. Via Sci-News  That’s not a plastic bag. That’s a newly described species of box jellyfish, Keesingia gigas. Image Credit: Lisa-ann Gershwin
What does Ebola actually do?
By Kelly Servick, 13 August 2014 || Science/AAAS | News
Behind the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa lies a species with an incredible power to overtake its host.
Zaire ebolavirus and the family of filoviruses to which it belongs owe their virulence to mechanisms that first disarm the immune response and then dismantle the vascular system.
The virus progresses so quickly that researchers have struggled to tease out the precise sequence of events, particularly in the midst of an outbreak. Much is still unknown, including the role of some of the seven proteins that the virus’s RNA makes by hijacking the machinery of host cells and the type of immune response necessary to defeat the virus before it spreads throughout the body. But researchers can test how the live virus attacks different cells in culture and can observe the disease’s progression in nonhuman primates—a nearly identical model to humans.
Continue reading to find out some of the basic things we understand about how Ebola and humans interact …
IMAGE: The Ebola virus THOMAS W. GEISBERT
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel - Petaurista philippensis
Indian Giant Flying Squirrels, Petaurista philippensis (Rodentia - Sciuridae) vary in color from grey to coffee-brown with a mottled back, a grey tail and pale undersides. They feed on fruits and leaves and have a fondness for fig fruits.
They nest mostly in tree cavities and are found in a mosaic of forests of tall trees and plantations. When dusk falls, they leave their nests and return only before dawn.
Glides of flying squirrels are a thrill to watch. Gliding has been the subject of much research, as some scientists believe it may be a precursor to powered flight. Two membranes, one between the wrist and the ankle and another from their wrist to neck are what help them achieve the feat of gliding. Large flying squirrels like the Indian Giant Flying Squirrel have an additional membrane between their tail and hind limbs.
To glide, the flying squirrel climbs high up a tree to the upper canopy and jumps down. It then stretches its gliding membranes taut with the help of a cartilaginous wrist bone so that aided by the force of lift, it glides spread-eagle along an oblong trajectory. While air borne, it uses its tail to manoeuvre and then billows its gliding membranes outwards to decelerate so that it can land lightly. A vertical trunk is usually picked for landing when glides are long.
Indian Giant Flying Squirrels have been known to cover distances as great as 90m in a single glide, although they prefer shorter glides. They also prefer climbing across tree branches when distances between trees are short.
Petaurista philippensis is widely distributed in South Asia, southern and central China, and mainland Southeast Asia.
Photo credit: ©Gopi Krishnamurthy | Locality: Dandeli, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India