The Prague Zoo on Sunday opened a new exhibition featuring one of the
largest wolf spiders ever found in the Czech Republic, a member of largest
species in Europe.
The new wolf spider at the Prague Zoo is about seven centimeters tall. Arachnologist Vladimír Hula, who discovered the female specimen in the Břeclav region, will be on hand to discuss its attributes.
Agile hunters, wolf spiders do not spin webs but rather pounce upon their prey or even chase it over short distances. Some lie in wait in burrows.
The Moravian Amazon, an area along the lower parts of Morava and Dyje rivers in the southern part of the Czech Republic, is considered to be one of the richest habitats in Central Europe. But scientists are ringing alarm bells, warning that the number of old trees in the UNESCO Biosphere area which provide a home to rare species of beetles, are being crowded out and their numbers are rapidly declining.
Czech scientists have conducted research suggesting that brightly coloured male species do not have any sexual advantage over their more dowdy peers. Research carried out by scientists at the Academy of Biology on zebra fish found that sperm from brighter coloured fish was not healthier than others. In contrast, it was often more lethargic and less healthy. Many male birds and fish use bright colours, usually resulting from the organic pigment carotenoid, to attract partners with the common assumption that brighter meant better sperm.
Biologist and philosopher Zdeněk Neubauer has died at the age of 75, the Václav Havel Library announced on Wednesday. Neubauer, a former dissident, was a close friend of the playwright and former Czech president. He was awarded the Vision 97 prize by the foundation created by Václav and Dagmar Havel and was also a winner of the Tom Stoppard prize for his essays. Zdeněk Neubauer’s career as a scientist was interrupted by the ‘nomalisation’ after 1968. He returned to Prague’s Charles University after the Velvet Revolutuion of November 1989.
According to a recent study, some three percent of the country's spider species have died out and about 50 percent are threatened with extinction. What are the reasons behind the spiders' disappearance? And is it true that there are poisonous spiders migrating to the Czech Republic from the south of Europe?
For twenty years now, a team of Czech scientists has been studying insects in the tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea. Recently, they received over 90 million crowns from the European Research Centre to study the influence of insects on forest vegetation in New Guinea and other countries, including Japan, Panama and Ghana. The project also involves erecting a huge crane right in the middle of the New Guinean tropical forest in order to explore its canopy.
Helena Fulková has become the first Czech scientist to clone a mouse. The biologist conducted the cloning in Japan, one of the leading countries in that area of science. Ms. Fulková told the Czech News Agency she had succeeded in cloning six baby mice, most of which were still alive. She had been working on research into genetically modified mice at a university in Tokyo and said she only carried out the cloning at the suggestion of a colleague in order to enhance a paper they were working on together.
Scientists from Prague’s Charles University and the Czech Academy of Sciences have patented a new method of biological treatment of neck and head cancer, the head of the research team, Karel Smetana from Charles University said. The method, which is much less devastating for patients than those currently in use, is based on supressing the activity of genes that convey information between cancer cells and connective tissue cells in areas affected by tumours. If clinical tests confirm the method’s effectiveness, it could be introduced in some 10 or 15 years’ time, the scientists said.
Czech entomologist Milan Řezáč has discovered an unknown spider species in the Macocha abyss in south Moravia, the ctk news agency reports. The spider is from the Harpactea family and has been given the working name “six-eyed-spider”. Řezáč, who earlier discovered a new spider species in Israel, will publish a description of his latest find in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.