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Current Biology
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Nov 02, 2015

Volume 25Issue 21p2739-2878, R1019-R1056
Open Archive
On the cover: The powerful and characteristic roars of howler monkeys are among the loudest vocalizations produced by any terrestrial animal. All howler monkey species have a highly modified larynx with a greatly enlarged cup-shaped hyoid bone, which is thought to function as a resonating chamber for their calls. However, there is striking variation in the size of the hyoid between sexes and among species. The cover shows a group of black-and-gold howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya). This species commonly lives in multi-male groups and is sexually dichromatic (males are black, females are blonde). In this issue, Dunn et al. (pages 2839–2844) show that males of howler monkey species characterized by multi-male groups invest in large testes but have relatively small hyoids. However, males of species characterized by harem groups invest in large hyoids and have relatively small testes. This is the first known example of an evolutionary trade-off between investment in vocal traits and investment in sperm competition. Photograph © Mariana Raño, used with permission....
On the cover: The powerful and characteristic roars of howler monkeys are among the loudest vocalizations produced by any terrestrial animal. All howler monkey species have a highly modified larynx with a greatly enlarged cup-shaped hyoid bone, which is thought to function as a resonating chamber for their calls. However, there is striking variation in the size of the hyoid between sexes and among species. The cover shows a group of black-and-gold howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya). This species commonly lives in multi-male groups and is sexually dichromatic (males are black, females are blonde). In this issue, Dunn et al. (pages 2839–2844) show that males of howler monkey species characterized by multi-male groups invest in large testes but have relatively small hyoids. However, males of species characterized by harem groups invest in large hyoids and have relatively small testes. This is the first known example of an evolutionary trade-off between investment in vocal traits and investment in sperm competition. Photograph © Mariana Raño, used with permission.

Magazine

Feature

  • Deep sea in deep trouble?

    • Michael Gross
    Ahead of the imminent start of the industrial exploitation of deep sea resources, an EU report finds that scientific knowledge and understanding of this environment and its ecosystems still falls short of what would be needed for a sustainable use.

Q & A

  • Tatsuo Fukagawa

    • Tatsuo Fukagawa
    Tatsuo Fukagawa studies centromeres and kinetochores at the Graduate School of Frontier Bioscience in Osaka University.

Quick guides

  • Predatory grasshopper mice

    • Ashlee H. Rowe,
    • Matthew P. Rowe
    A Quick Guide on grasshopper mice which, contrary to the great majority of mouse species, are obligate carnivores.
  • Poison frogs

    • Jennifer L. Stynoski,
    • Lisa M. Schulte,
    • Bibiana Rojas
    Stynoski et al. introduce the dendrobatids, a charismatic group of frogs known for their colourful and often poisonous skin.

Correspondences

  • Is there any evidence for vocal learning in chimpanzee food calls?

    • Julia Fischer,
    • Brandon C. Wheeler,
    • James P. Higham
    Fischer et al. challenge Watson et al.’s claim to provide evidence for vocal learning in chimpanzees. They argue that arousal was not controlled for, and point out that the calls of the two populations of chimpanzees already overlapped greatly at the beginning of the study.
  • Reply to Fischer et al.

    • Stuart K. Watson,
    • Simon W. Townsend,
    • Anne M. Schel,
    • Claudia Wilke,
    • Emma K. Wallace,
    • Leveda Cheng,
    • Victoria West,
    • Katie E. Slocombe
    In this reply to Fischer et al.’s critique of Watson et al. (2015), Watson et al. provide additional data to refute arousal-based explanations for their results. They also provide new analyses to support their original findings, as well as clarification and discussion of conceptual disagreements.

Dispatches

  • Planar Polarity: Forcing Cells Into Line

    • Helen Strutt,
    • David Strutt
    Polarisation of tissues in the plane of an epithelium is fundamental for both animal morphogenesis and organ function. A new paper describes a role for mechanical cues in determining how such polarity is aligned with the body axes.
  • Neuroethology: Unweaving the Senses of Direction

    • Stanley Heinze
    Three recent studies have significantly advanced our understanding of the highly conserved central complex of the insect brain, showing how it provides an internal representation of body orientation, encodes behaviorally relevant sensory cues, and at the same time controls motor actions.
  • Evolution: Two (Very Long) Legs to Stand On

    • Yingguang Frank Chan
    How do the legs of jerboas get so long? A comprehensive study of the Dipodidae family of two-legged rodents reveals many evolutionary refinements in toe numbers, bone structures and proportions. Clearly, this adorable emerging developmental model system has legs.
  • Learning and Memory: Do Bees Dream?

    • Krishna Melnattur,
    • Stephane Dissel,
    • Paul J. Shaw
    In mammals, evidence for memory reactivation during sleep highlighted the important role that sleep plays in memory consolidation. In this new study, the authors report that memory reactivation is evolutionarily conserved and can also be found in the honeybee.
  • Early Histocompatibility: Color the Mechanism Green and Red

    • Gary W. Litman,
    • Larry J. Dishaw
    Allorecognition in Hydractinia, a cnidarian, is governed by two different, highly polymorphic genes encoding transmembrane proteins. Using a fluorescent cell read-out system, a new study now shows that the basis for specificity involves homophilic interactions between extracellular domains.
  • Sensory Development: Late Integration of Multiple Cues

    • Pascal Mamassian
    Young children use multiple cues to appreciate the three-dimensional structure of the world. A new study reveals that these cues are properly integrated only years later, thus showing that sensory development is protracted well into teenage years.
  • Animal Communication: He’s Giving Me Good Vibrations

    • Peggy S.M. Hill
    A unique bioassay allows a substrate-borne vibration signal to be isolated and manipulated to test its role in eliciting female mate choice, which may be driving a speciation event, by a live, unrestrained male.
  • Palaeobiology: Ecological Revelations in Ediacaran Reproduction

    • Marc Laflamme,
    • Simon A.F. Darroch
    The biology of Ediacaran organisms — the oldest fossils of large multicellular life — has been notoriously hard to decipher, as they show little obvious relation to extant life forms. Ecological analyses, rather than anatomy, yield new revelations about their reproduction.

Minireview

  • Organization of the Locus Coeruleus-Norepinephrine System

    • Lindsay A. Schwarz,
    • Liqun Luo
    Schwarz and Luo review classic work, as well as recent studies using innovative technologies, which provide insight into the anatomical organization and functioning of the locus coeruleus, a small nucleus in the brainstem that modulates diverse behaviors via norepinephrine signaling in widespread regions of the brain.

Articles

  • The Hippo Pathway Core Cassette Regulates Asymmetric Cell Division

    • Alyona Keder,
    • Noemí Rives-Quinto,
    • Birgit L. Aerne,
    • Maribel Franco,
    • Nicolas Tapon,
    • Ana Carmena
    Keder et al. have found a novel function for the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway in asymmetric cell division (ACD). Warts, a core kinase of this pathway, phosphorylates the ACD regulator Canoe/Afadin, and this is essential in vivo for the correct asymmetry of the division, including ACD modulator localization and mitotic spindle precise orientation.
  • Warts Phosphorylates Mud to Promote Pins-Mediated Mitotic Spindle Orientation in Drosophila, Independent of Yorkie

    • Evan B. Dewey,
    • Desiree Sanchez,
    • Christopher A. Johnston
    Dewey et al. identify a role for the Hippo kinase complex in regulating the activity of Mud, an evolutionarily conserved mediator of spindle positioning that functions independent of the canonical Hippo effector, Yorkie. Their work uncovers a novel link between essential cell proliferation and spindle orientation signaling networks.
  • All Spiking, Sustained ON Displaced Amacrine Cells Receive Gap-Junction Input from Melanopsin Ganglion Cells

    • Aaron N. Reifler,
    • Andrew P. Chervenak,
    • Michael E. Dolikian,
    • Brian A. Benenati,
    • Benjamin Y. Li,
    • Rebecca D. Wachter,
    • Andrew M. Lynch,
    • Zachary D. Demertzis,
    • Benjamin S. Meyers,
    • Fady S. Abufarha,
    • Elizabeth R. Jaeckel,
    • Michael P. Flannery,
    • Kwoon Y. Wong
    For many decades, retinal ganglion cells were thought to signal information only to higher visual centers of the brain. In this study, Reifler et al. report that intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells transmit their tonic light responses to multiple types of amacrine interneurons in the rat retina, through gap junctions exclusively.
  • Mechanical Strain Determines the Axis of Planar Polarity in Ciliated Epithelia

    • Yuan-Hung Chien,
    • Ray Keller,
    • Chris Kintner,
    • David R. Shook
    Planar polarity is established in ciliated epithelia using components of the planar polarity pathway, but the long-range cue that directs this planar axis globally is unknown. Chien et al. show that mechanical strain imposed on the developing Xenopus ciliated skin during gastrulation is both necessary and sufficient to direct timely formation of a global axis of planar polarity.
  • Multiple Phylogenetically Distinct Events Shaped the Evolution of Limb Skeletal Morphologies Associated with Bipedalism in the Jerboas

    • Talia Y. Moore,
    • Chris L. Organ,
    • Scott V. Edwards,
    • Andrew A. Biewener,
    • Clifford J. Tabin,
    • Farish A. Jenkins Jr.,
    • Kimberly L. Cooper
    Moore et al. demonstrate the value of considering evolutionary history to elucidate the developmental genetic mechanisms of morphological change. Focusing on the jerboas and related rodents, they find that each derived limb skeletal character is genetically distinct and that elements of the hindlimb elongated by punctuated evolution.
  • Central-Complex Control of Movement in the Freely Walking Cockroach

    • Joshua P. Martin,
    • Peiyuan Guo,
    • Laiyong Mu,
    • Cynthia M. Harley,
    • Roy E. Ritzmann
    Martin et al. describe how movement direction is encoded in the central complex of a freely walking insect. Cells subdivide the range of movements (forward and turning speed). The activity of these cells results in changes in limb reflexes that redirect movement. The code is context dependent: activity is altered when animals must climb a barrier.
  • Sensorimotor Decision Making in the Zebrafish Tectum

    • Alison J. Barker,
    • Herwig Baier
    Barker and Baier use a visually mediated behavior to investigate sensorimotor decision making in the larval zebrafish. They identity specific interneurons in the optic tectum that bias behavioral choice to approaches. These neurons are tuned to a narrow range of sizes and have receptive fields shaped by prey-selective retinal ganglion cell inputs.

Reports

  • Caffeinated Forage Tricks Honeybees into Increasing Foraging and Recruitment Behaviors

    • Margaret J. Couvillon,
    • Hasan Al Toufailia,
    • Thomas M. Butterfield,
    • Felix Schrell,
    • Francis L.W. Ratnieks,
    • Roger Schürch
    Couvillon et al. show that naturally occurring caffeinated forage tricks honeybees into acting as if nectar quality, measured by bees as sugar content, is higher than it really is. Workers increase foraging and recruitment behaviors, which ultimately quadruples colony-level recruitment, tempting the colony into sub-optimal foraging strategies.
  • The Role of Vibrations in Population Divergence in the Red Mason Bee, Osmia bicornis

    • Taina Conrad,
    • Manfred Ayasse
    Conrad and Ayasse investigate whether female red mason bees show selective mate choice between males from different regions based on a male’s vibrations. With an exciting new bioassay, they show that females prefer mating with males from their own region using male vibrations as a signal, indicating that there is divergence between populations.
  • Perceptual Learning of Acoustic Noise Generates Memory-Evoked Potentials

    • Thomas Andrillon,
    • Sid Kouider,
    • Trevor Agus,
    • Daniel Pressnitzer
    Andrillon et al. investigated how human listeners manage to learn complicated random auditory noises after only a few exposures. They showed that learning was tracked in real time by the emergence of novel auditory potentials. These neural responses could signal the extremely rapid formation of sharp selectivity to subtle acoustic patterns.
  • Catalytic Strand Separation by RECQ1 Is Required for RPA-Mediated Response to Replication Stress

    • Taraswi Banerjee,
    • Joshua A. Sommers,
    • Jing Huang,
    • Michael M. Seidman,
    • Robert M. Brosh Jr.
    RECQ1 helicase, a proposed target for cancer therapy, unwinds or branch migrates key intermediates of DNA repair and replication. Here, Banerjee et al. show that RECQ1 governs RPA recruitment in the context of replication dynamics in vivo to suppress DNA damage and preserve genomic stability.
  • Evolutionary Trade-Off between Vocal Tract and Testes Dimensions in Howler Monkeys

    • Jacob C. Dunn,
    • Lauren B. Halenar,
    • Thomas G. Davies,
    • Jurgi Cristobal-Azkarate,
    • David Reby,
    • Dan Sykes,
    • Sabine Dengg,
    • W. Tecumseh Fitch,
    • Leslie A. Knapp
    Males often face a trade-off between pre- and postcopulatory investments for reproduction. Dunn et al. report the first evidence for a trade-off between vocal investment and sperm production—howler monkey species with harem groups have large vocal tracts and small testes, whereas those in multimale groups have small vocal tracts and large testes.
  • Allorecognition Proteins in an Invertebrate Exhibit Homophilic Interactions

    • Uma B. Karadge,
    • Minja Gosto,
    • Matthew L. Nicotra
    Karadge et al. discover that the Hydractinia allorecognition proteins Alr1 and Alr2 are self-ligands that bind to each other across adjacent cell membranes. Allelic polymorphism at both proteins gives rise to multiple isoforms, each of which binds only to themselves, suggesting a mechanism for allorecognition specificity.
  • A Brazilian Social Bee Must Cultivate Fungus to Survive

    • Cristiano Menezes,
    • Ayrton Vollet-Neto,
    • Anita Jocelyne Marsaioli,
    • Davila Zampieri,
    • Isabela Cardoso Fontoura,
    • Augusto Ducati Luchessi,
    • Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca
    Menezes et al. report an obligatory relationship between a fungus and a social bee, in which the larvae eat the fungal hyphae that grows inside brood cells. The fungus occurs in the building material of the nest and uses larval food as growth medium. It is transmitted via swarming, suggesting this is the first case of a fungus-growing bee.
  • Late Development of Cue Integration Is Linked to Sensory Fusion in Cortex

    • Tessa M. Dekker,
    • Hiroshi Ban,
    • Bauke van der Velde,
    • Martin I. Sereno,
    • Andrew E. Welchman,
    • Marko Nardini
    Humans combine sensory signals to improve perceptual precision, but this ability does not develop until ∼11 years of age. Dekker et al. show that the onset of this perceptual skill is linked to functional changes within the visual cortex, revealing the surprisingly long development of sensory mechanisms underlying human perception.
  • Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial Societies

    • Gandhi Yetish,
    • Hillard Kaplan,
    • Michael Gurven,
    • Brian Wood,
    • Herman Pontzer,
    • Paul R. Manger,
    • Charles Wilson,
    • Ronald McGregor,
    • Jerome M. Siegel
    Yetish et al. find that hunter-gatherers/horticulturalists sleep 6.4 hr/day, 1 hr more in winter than in summer. Onset is about 3.3 hr after sunset, and sleep occurs during the nightly period of falling temperature. Onset times are irregular, but offset time is very regular. Little napping is seen. Light exposure is maximal in the morning, not at noon.
  • Context Odor Presentation during Sleep Enhances Memory in Honeybees

    • Hanna Zwaka,
    • Ruth Bartels,
    • Jacob Gora,
    • Vivien Franck,
    • Ana Culo,
    • Moritz Götsch,
    • Randolf Menzel
    Zwaka et al. investigate whether sleep’s role in memory processing is similar in evolutionarily distant species and demonstrate that a context trigger improves memory in invertebrates, as it does in humans. They show that in honeybees, exposure to an odor during deep sleep that has been present during learning improves memory performance.

Errata

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