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The sit-and-wait feeding strategy of the Surinam Horned Frog - Ceratophrys cornuta 

It has been said that frogs of the South American genus Ceratophrys (Leptodactylidae) can best be described as big, bad and beautiful. Big because of their size (C. cornuta attains a length of up to 15 cm), bad because they are aggressive, and beautiful because of their often gaudy combinations of green and brown dorsal coloration.

The Surinam Horned Frog, Ceratophrys cornuta occurs in the Amazon Basin (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru and Suriname). These frogs are voracious predators, which use a sit-and-wait feeding strategy to ambush prey that varies from ants to small vertebrates.

Horned frogs bury themselves in the leaves on the ground with only the head sticking out. Once in this position and helped by its camouflage coloration, C. cornuta waits for something edible to pass by and eats almost anything that passes, as long as it will fit in the frog’s mouth.

The cryptic coloration of these frogs is thought to be an anti-predator adaptation as it aids in camouflaging them in their surroundings. It is also thought that the horns may function as part of this camouflage, since the horns may be perceived by predators as the stem of a leaf or other such object

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Robert Oelman | Locality: unknown (2013) | [Top] - [Bottom]

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Is this ground tusking coupled with head-waggling?  He must want to play!  Elephant Voices, who also shot this video of a male at the Olare Orok Conservancy in 2011, has compiled an extensive database of elephant gestures and their meaning for anybody who’d like to understand our big gray friends a little better.  

In addition to studying and lobbying for elephants in Africa for 30+ years, Elephant Voices co-founder Dr. Joyce Poole is lending her expertise to Global Sanctuary for Elephants, co-founded by Scott Blais with Dr. Poole and others, which is an organization currently working to build a sanctuary for retired captive elephants in Brazil.  This proposed sanctuary will be modeled on the progressive and humane elephant-keeping principles of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, which Scott also co-founded in 1995, which aims to give elephants retirement from captive zoo or circus life and the freedom to just be elephants for the first time.

All of these elephant projects need our support, so if you’re looking for a way to celebrate World Elephant Day on August 12 (besides floppy running and ground tusking) donating or bringing attention to these worthy causes is a great place to start!

Aries noticed something else as well when observing single-sex groups: she found that groups composed entirely of women students tended to have a “rotating,” participatory style in comparison with male groups. In other words, in these groups women took turns in an egalitarian way, and each spoke for more or less equal amounts of time throughout the class hour. Male groups appeared more contest-like, with extremely uneven amounts of talk per man. They competed by telling personal anecdotes or raising their voices. In dividing the hour unevenly, they established hierarchies of access to the discourse. All these characteristics remained stable over the course of several months. And what happened in mixed groups? Unsurprisingly, the male competitive style won out. Apparently, it’s as hard for men to give up the habits of competition as it is for women to learn them.
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DBT Handbook

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy created by Marsha Linehan, PhD. It is a modified version Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with a focus on Mindfulness, which is pulled from Eastern mindfulness techniques. DBT was originally created to treat chronically suicidal and self-injuring individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but has since been proven effective for many other mental illnesses including, but not limited to: depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and self-injurers.

more info on DBT here and here

I first learned DBT two years ago at Timberline Knolls when I did residential, and it helped so much that I did a DBT intensive outpatient program when I got home from there. After “graduating” from my IOP, I created my own version of our DBT handbook that I could keep forever, basically. It took a long time- 28 pages- but it was worth it!

I wanted to share it with you all because I think everyone should learn DBT, whether they have mental health disorders or not!

Mice are crucial part of lab research. Everything from their cells and their behavior are dissected in the name of science. Some of the biggest medical breakthroughs owe thanks to mice, but all that may come into question due to a shocking new discovery that threatens to blow apart decades of research.

Mice are more scared of male researchers than of female ones.

It sounds almost too comical to be true, but a new study published in the journal Nature Methods argues that mice’s aversion to men is all too real — and it may have had incalculable impact on past research.

Read more

Music Rewires the Brain

Even old jokes can have a scientific basis in fact.

You know the one about the tourist who stops a native New Yorker on the street and asks, “Excuse me sir, but how do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

"Practice, practice, practice."

That New Yorker is absolutely correct. Scientists have found that the brains of professional musicians are physiologically different from the brains of other people, and they got that way mostly because of practice, practice, practice.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/music-rewires-brain

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Cat Body Language Cat Body Language: Decoding the Ears

It might be hard to believe, but cat ears contain over two dozen muscles, enabling them to do an Exorcist-like 180-degree swivel forward, backward, up and down. Although they pan around like radar dishes scanning for sounds, they’re not just for hearing.

A cat’s ears and tail (as we’ll discuss later) are a vital part of cat body language, and proper interpretation can help you better understand Fluffy’s moods and in some cases, keep you safe from injury.

The Relaxed Cat - Normally, a relaxed cat’s ears will point slightly to the side and slightly forward as shown in Figure 1 (below). This indicates contentment and sense of well-being. She’s neither fearful nor aggressive.

The Alert and Interested Cat - When your cat is alert and something has captured her interest, her ears will assume a straight-up orientation, and a forward posture as in Figure 2 (see chart). She’ll usually greet you with ears erect, offering a friendly greeting.

The Nervous Cat - If your cat’s ears are twitching, she’s agitated and nervous, as shown in Figure 3. This might be a cue to offer her reassurance and a safe embrace. Persistent twitching could be a sign of a medical problem.

Signs of Aggression - A cat’s ears moving from a forward posture to a backward posture indicates increased aggression. A cat’s ears moving from an upright position to a full horizontal position indicates increased fear, annoyance, or submissiveness — a warning for you to leave her alone. If you notice that your cat’s ear are maintaining a horizontal orientation on a regular basis, she could have an ear infection or ear mites, and a trip to the vet is warranted.

Attack Mode - When the ears flatten against the head in a defensive position as in Figure 4, your cat is frightened and may attack. She instinctively keeps her ears flat against her head in attack mode to protect her ears from claws and teeth during a fight. Ears that are pointing backward somewhere between the “alert” and “defensive” positions indicate an aggressive cat who may attack.

Understanding when a cat might attack can save you from injury. When the ears are back (the telltale sign of aggression), you should never try to touch or pick up a cat because you’re at high risk of being bitten or scratched — injuries that could require hospitalization.

The Ambivalent Cat - The cat’s ears are also able to move independently of one another. When they’re in different positions, the cat is ambivalent and unsure of how to respond. She’s likely to withdraw to assess the situation. As she does so, her ears may shift as they interpret stimuli and consider how to react.

Understanding Cat Body Language: The Tail

Your cat’s tail is like a big old apostrophe at the end of her body that puts a fine point on affection, aggression, fear and happiness. One of the most primal tail movements is the violent back-and-forth swish, sometimes called a Sword Tail. Whether it’s a wild cat stalking a zebra, or a house cat stalking a gopher, she’ll swish her tail to prompt the prey to move, which allows the cat to zero in for the attack. In the house, either leave her be until she relaxes, or toss her a toy to attack. It’s usually not a good idea to pick her up when she’s in “swish mode”, because the object of her attack will likely be you.

You also don’t want to mess with your cat when her tail is in a position of defensive aggression. In this orientation, the tail is lowered, but the tip is curved upward. This indicates that something has attracted her attention, and she is very nervous, defensive, and unsure of her surroundings. If you try to pick her up, she may attack.

A happy cat holds her tail high, and if she greets you at the door with her tail quivering, she’s happy to see you. That’s the time you want to shower her with affection.

If you’re introducing a new cat into your home, reading your cats’ “tail language” can be helpful in breaking up fights before they start. You don’t want to pick up the aggressor at this point, but a few squirts with a squirt gun can persuade him to beat a retreat.

A tail is a perfect extension of feline expression. There’s poetry in the way a contented cat will artfully wrap her tail around her, or in the way a Balinese will proudly strut her tail like a flame behind her.

Cats even use their tails when asleep. The flicking tail on your snoozing Snowshoe? She’s dreaming of her life as a mighty lion on the Serengeti, stalking a wildebeest.

Watch on inthecloud.gjmueller.com

Using Dialogue Circles to Support Classroom Management

At Glenview Elementary School, circles are part of a program called Restorative Justice, which is aimed at building collaboration, respect, and positive behavior among students. The circles were implemented in classrooms slowly, and after two years, there was a marked improvement in classroom behavior.

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