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 »

Fruit fly study finds long-term impact of sleep deprivation

Fruit fly study finds long-term impact of sleep deprivation
Most animals — from flies to people — sleep much more when very young. A new report traces this increased sleep to the brain chemical dopamine. Holy cow! Here’s the ‘so-what’: Later on, the sleep-short flies had less interest in mating! 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 »

Freeloading: Secret of bird flight

Freeloading: Secret of bird flight
By carefully measuring the position of trailing birds, scientists detect a strong preference for the exact spot where their wings are lifted by the whirling air left by the bird in front. More »

The cockroach

The cockroach

An extermination trick that married insecticide with sugar worked for a while — but then suddenly lost its power against roaches. Now science tells us why, as it highlights once again how human actions affect natural selection. More »

Monkey: When in Rome…

Monkey: When in Rome…

If you teach a group of monkeys that blue corn tastes yucky, they switch to pink corn. What happens when a monkey raised to detest pink corn enters the group? You might be surprised! More »

Love life of the firefly

Love life of the firefly

An alluring flash pattern is only the first step in firefly reproduction. Females actually pay more attention to the “nuptial gift” that carries sperm. A new look at these popular creatures shows that the battle of the sexes is more subtle and complex than we thought. More »

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

How do homing pigeons find their way on their amazing migrations? Scientists thought iron-bearing nerve cells in the beak can detect Earth’s magnetic field. But those iron granules are in immune cells. How do they do it? More »

Honeybees getting lost?

Honeybees getting lost?

As colony collapse disorder continues to attack honeybee hives, a new study shows that a common insecticide interferes with their return flights. Although the disorder probably has many causes, agricultural chemicals have long been key suspects, and this study adds to the suspicion! More »

New math mavens = pigeons?

New math mavens = pigeons?

Can pigeons learn an abstract mathematical rule? Apparently, according to a new study, which asked pigeons to place, five blue dots and eight green squares, in ascending order. Now we know birds and primates can both do this, but where and why did this ability originate? More »

Genetics of the body snatchers!

Genetics of the body snatchers!

athogens can change the behavior of their hosts — and now we see that a single viral gene forces a caterpillar to climb a tree before it dies. From that high vantage, the virus can infect more caterpillars. It’s nifty and thrifty, unless you’re a gypsy moth! More »

Amoeba: Secrets of the micro-farm

Amoeba: Secrets of the micro-farm

Found: The smallest farmers in the world! If you’re hungry, and moving to a land without food, the smart money says, “Take some seeds.” And that’s exactly what a common soil amoeba does: It totes along bacteria so it can eat them in its new home. More »

News flash from the firefly!

field alit with firefly lights

Most fireflies flash on their own schedule, but some do it all at once. In most animals, the guys try to stand out from the crowd – but these flies try to make a crowd! What’s the evolutionary advantage? What can we learn about bug-brains from the “all-at-once” display of synchronous fireflies? More »

Fish phishing attack explained!

Fish phishing attack explained!
Cleaner fish remove parasites from other fish. Why do males punish females who eat the wrong food from their host? A clue to the evolution of cooperation? More »

Animal arms race

Animal arms race

The struggle between predator and prey never ends. Bats invented sonar, and now some moths are fighting back. Check out the Why Files acoustic-organic warfare, airborne edition. More »