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?
Life is biology is species: But how many species live on Earth? About six million arthropods (insects, spiders and crustaceans), says a new study.
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.
Classroom Activity Page: Four genomes for ants have just been decoded. The genetic information gives us a better picture of why ants are so successful, and helps us understand why leaf-cutter ants live in a close, mutually beneficial relationship (symbiosis) with fungus. Some argue that leaf-cutters are the most industrious farmers on Earth.
Classroom Activity Page: Don’t leave any goodies behind at the crime scene. Collect the bugs. Collect the maggots, and don’t EVER leave a ransom note! Forensic science — it’s better than ever!
Scientists thought wings were the first evidence of flight. But plenty of falling ants can glide back to “their” tree to avoid being devoured on the forest floor. If an ant’s brain and body are able to detect its position and change its flight path, is gliding the first flight?
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.
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!
To most of us, the instinctive response to insects is to swat, spray, scratch and swear. But to biologist Marlene Zuk, insects in all their astonishing diversity are the prime lens for examining biology and evolution. With six legs, tiny brains, chitinous external skeletons and countless adaptations to niches within niches in the environment, you’d think insects would have invented just about every sexual and “child”-raising oddity imaginable
Long ago, nature devised the hinge and ball and socket for appendages like legs and wings. The screw is the latest simple machine to be discovered in nature. Why do weevils, a type of beetle, have a screw? How does it help weevils survive their 3-D world?
Three gross “biotherapies”: Leeches suck blood after surgery. Maggots clear dead tissue from wounds. Parasitic worms fight ulcerative colitis.
Many of the tastiest crops can’t pollinate themselves: melons, cucumbers, strawberries, almonds, cacao. But pollinators — both native and managed — are under threat from diseases and pesticides. They aren’t finding enough to eat. Their colonies are dying. What can we do?
Strong, tough, sticky, elastic and biodegradable, silk may be used for a mesh to support injured tissues, or as a temporary container for drugs, stem cells and growth factors. As scientists divine the secret of how spiders and silkworms make silk, they are finding ways to engineer silk into medical devices.
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?
A recent study published in the journal Nature has revealed that insects are closely related to crustaceans such as crabs, shrimp and lobsters. In this image is a remipede (Speleonectes tulumensis), a rare type of blind, cave-dwelling critter that is believed to be the crustacean most closely related to insects. Insects and crustaceans have long [...]