Stories tagged mole

Mar
06
2012

Iridescence is usually a vanity thing in nature; birds and butterflies, for instance, use it to attract mates. This is Golden Mole: The tiny structures that help streamline the mole and make it water-repellant also give it its iridescence.
Golden Mole: The tiny structures that help streamline the mole and make it water-repellant also give it its iridescence.Courtesy Killer18
the type of thing that would be completely lost on a blind mole...or is it? In the case of the golden mole, iridescence is very much a part of its appearance, but according to a new study about the structure of hair, this iridescence takes on a more functional role. The nano-sized structures on the flattened, paddle-shaped hairs not only give the moles a lovely sheen (for animals that can actually see them), but may also help to repel water and streamline the moles as they move through the sand. This is definitely a case of function over form.

Feb
10
2005

Scientists have long wondered about the reason for the star nosed mole's unusual schnozz. There have been many theories. Some thought the star was a souped-up smell organ that helped the moles sniff their way around underground. Some thought it was an extra "hand" for grasping prey. And some thought it was an antenna to detect electric fields as moles swim through muddy marsh water. A 1995 study finally proved that the stars are super-sensitive touch organs. And a study just published in Nature advances a theory about why the stars are so big.

Fact, Pics, and Video of the Star Nosed MoleThe 22 "fingers" of the star have a surface area eight times greater than the nose of the mole's close cousin, the eastern mole. The fingers also allow the mole to quickly tap on objects it comes across—13 times a second, compared to the eastern mole's eight times a second. That means the star-nosed mole can find 14 times the number of food items than the eastern mole can in a given amount of time. The advantage really pays off where there are lots of small prey animals, as in the marshy homes of star-nosed moles.

  • It takes a driver about 650 milliseconds to hit the brake after seeing a traffic light ahead turn red.
  • In 650 milliseconds, in the dark, a star-nosed mole can detect a worm or insect larva, determine that it is edible, and eat it.
  • The human record for eating hard-boiled eggs is 65 eggs in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, or six seconds per egg.
  • But a star-nosed mole can eat 10 mouthful-sized chunks of earthworm, one at a time, in 2.3 seconds—0.23 seconds per chunk. That's more than 26 times as fast as the human record for eating hard-boiled eggs. In fact, it's the fastest eating ever measured in any mammal.

Be sure to check out the videos of the mole eating, in real time and slow motion, on the linked website. They're amazing!