Contributors: Ming Bai, Rolf Georg Beutel, Klaus-Dieter Klass, Weiwei Zhang, Xingke Yang, Benjamin Wipfler
... A new insect species (†Alienopterus brachyelytrus Bai, Beutel, Klass, Wipfler et Zhang gen. et sp. nov.) of a new order and family is described, based on a single male embedded in Cretaceous Burmese amber (ca. 99Ma). Unusual characters are shortened forewings combined with fully developed, operational hindwings, similar as in Dermaptera, and specialized attachment pads otherwise only found in mantophasmatodeans (heelwalkers). A cladistic analysis suggests a placement as sister to Mantodea, supported by a profemoral brush and other characters. The male genitalia show the same pattern in both groups. Specialized features are the unusual flight apparatus, attachment structures adapted for locomotion on leaves, and a dense profemoral setation suitable for catching small prey. †Alienopterus was apparently able to fly and likely a predator of small arthropods in bushes or trees. An impressive radiation of Mantodea started in similar habitats at least 35Ma later in the early Cenozoic. In contrast, †Alienopterus was an evolutionary dead end in the roach–mantis transition zone.
Contributors: Giorgio Rizzi, Meredith E. Lodge, Kelly R. Tan
... Operant behavioral tasks for animals have long been used to probe the function of multiple brain regions (i.e., understanding the role of dopamine in electrical brain stimulation reward , or determining the rewarding properties of feeding oriented brain pathways ). The recent development of tools and techniques has opened the door to refine the answer to these same questions with a much higher degree of specificity and accuracy, both in biological and spatial-temporal terms [3,4]. A variety of systems designed to test operant behavior are now commercially available, but have prohibitive costs. Here, we provide a low-cost alternative to a nose poke system for mice. Adapting a freely available sketch for ARDUINO boards, in combination with an in-house built PVC box and inexpensive electronic material we constructed a four-port nose poke system that detects and counts port entries. To verify the applicability and validity of our system we tested the behavior of DAT-CRE transgenic mice injected with an adeno-associated virus to express ChannelRhodopsin 2 in the Ventral tegmental area (VTA) and used the BNC output to drive a blue laser coupled to a fiber implanted above the VTA. Over 6days, mice perform as it has been reported previously  exhibiting a remarkable preference for the port that triggers optogenetic stimulation of VTA dopamine neurons.
Contributors: Simon Hong, Lance M. Optican, Edmond J. FitzGibbon, David S. Zee, Aasef G. Shaikh
... Measurement of eye movements often helps to diagnose ocular motor disorders in the clinic, and is also used as a research tool in ocular motor, vision and vestibular research. Eye movements, however, are usually recorded without simultaneous video recordings, making offline interpretation difficult. We developed a tool that converts the measured eye movement data into a three-dimensional (3D) movie of eye movements. Having useful functions such as slow-play, pause and exaggeration of the movements, this new software provides a research and teaching tool to aid interpretation of the recorded eye movements.