Planet discoveries boost LifeSearch 2.0

Planet discoveries boost LifeSearch 2.0
Almost 1,900 planet detections force the question: How to find life? Radio signals have produced nothing. Primitive life could exist deep inside Mars or around a distant star. How can we tell? What does ancient Earth tell us about life in space? More »

Meet the mosquito: Annoying, deadly

Meet the mosquito: Annoying, deadly

Malaria is declining slowly, but skeeters carry other diseases, including dengue and West Nile. How do mosquitoes reproduce? What are the lessons of the anti-malaria campaign? Why not genetically alter mosquitoes so they will kill the malaria parasite by themselves? More »

New complexity at the dawn of modern life

New complexity at the dawn of modern life
Even before the high-speed evolution of the Cambrian explosion, one shelled organisms lived by the thousands in groups that offered shelter against ocean currents and predators, and improved the efficiency of feeding. The “reefs” they left behind give a new insight into ancient ecology. More »

Deceptive bird “lies” to steal food!

Deceptive bird "lies" to steal food!
The drongo bird utters alarms to frighten other birds away from their food, then swoops in to steal dinner. The drongo may run through different alarms — looking for one that works and preventing victims from detecting the scam. More »

Bats on the wing

Bats on the wing
Bat wings are built like a mammal’s arm—and so their flight is fiendishly complex. Scientists have decoded the fluid dynamics of the flight of a fruit bat—and this airborne mammal has some nifty tricks for staying aloft! More »

Dangerous viruses: New weapons against new foes

Dangerous viruses: New weapons against new foes
What would better protection against new viruses look like? Old-style outbreak investigations can take years. Mammals may carry 320,000 viruses. Some can start an epidemic if they “jump” to people. Can ecological knowledge support new prevention strategies to block the “jumpers”? More »

Come hither, says plant

Come hither, says plant

Study finds that bees “read” the electric field of a flower. First-ever detection of electric-field detection by animal not in water makes evolutionary sense, but how come nobody ever saw this before? More »

Mapping evolution

Mapping evolution

Research in salty ponds shows how one species of pupfish becomes three — in a few cases. More important, it shows why this did not happen in thousands of other locations. Does an impenetrable “death valley” isolate viable species? More »

Odder than odd!

Odder than odd!

Dig the dung beetle. Sample the belly button. Tilt your brain — and see what happens. Watch bees cook their enemies. Drive through the cabbie’s brain. Check out pretty pix of pretty chicks. All weird. All here! More »

Counting bugs in Panama

Counting bugs in Panama

Life is biology is species: But how many species live on Earth? About six million arthropods (insects, spiders and crustaceans), says a new study. More »

Final score: Mustard-bomb plant 1, mouse 0

close-up photo of mouse face eating seeds

Plants and animals are in a constant struggle for survival and reproduction. Plant toxins prevent most animals from eating their seeds and destroying them. No kidding: A desert mouse is smart enough to eat edible fruit flesh without triggering the “mustard-oil bomb”! More »

Biology: critters that should not exist!

Biology: critters that should not exist!

Lake Vostok could house ancient bacteria, but we already know that bacteria can live in boiling water or light up a glowing squid. Countless weird-and-weirdest critters live between grains of sand… Curious about biology’s strange shelf? More »

A Story of the Bacterium and the Fly

closeup of fly--yellow and hairy with large red eye

Bacteria can help or harm their hosts. Now we hear how one genus of bacteria can multiply fly reproduction. In this symbiosis, both parties benefit. This bacterium also alters insect immunity, and could lead to new tactics for killing horrific parasites. More »

Biofuel advance

Biofuel advance
Ethanol in gasoline now comes mainly from corn, a food crop. Cellulose, found in crop wastes, wood and switchgrass, could be a great source of ethanol, if only the yeast that makes ethanol could digest cellulose. A new genetic alteration forced yeast to break down cellulose, and then convert it into ethanol. More »