"Animal Minds" -- great segment on National Geographic Explorer


New member
I just watched a segment of this week's National Geographic Explorer entitled Clone! called "Animal Minds". This segment featured none other than our own Gonodactylus and several beautiful stomatopods (including O. scyllarus, G. chiagra, and G. smithii (I think).

I'm already looking into ordering the video -- but anyway, it was a great segment featuring the survival strategies after molting of a very clever stomatopod (G. smithii -- I think?). The strategies included bluffing and using the molted skin as a decoy and escape aid.

If you have a chance, check out the segment for the beautiful video of these fascinating animals. I just wish that I'd had a VCR handy.
I didn't know that National Geographic was still recycling this piece. We made it a few years back in Panama. I had always wanted to film a piece on bluffing in Neogonodactylus bredini. This species uses a meral spread threat when it molts to scare away intruders - even though it can't strike for a few days after molting. I wanted to film the entire molt sequence putting an animal in a cut-away burrow. I collected a couple of hundred stomatopods so that I could find one or two ready to molt. We then set up the animal in the burrow and waited. Typically I can tell if an animal is going to molt within the next few hours. We waited all day and nothing. We sat up all night - nothing. The next morning we needed to set up some scenes outside, so the producer and I went out on the reef. We left the camera man with the animal that was supposed to molt. About two hours later the camera man came out on the reef and told us that he was afraid that the stomatopod was sick. It was quivering and had rolled over on its side. We raced back to the lab, but of course it had molted by the time we got there. To this day I still don't have a high quality film of stomatopods molting.

MSNBC is showing the program again on the following dates and times:

7pm EST on 6/8 is the cloning program, with the animal minds segment
beginning at 8:20.

Then, 6pm EST on 6/16 is the cloning program, with the animal minds segment
beginning at 7:20.