The common ladybug is easily recognized by its signature red and black spotted shell. But when researchers at the University of Tokyo used a creative trick to make its carapace transparent, it revealed insect wing secrets that could impact development of robotics, satellite antennas, and microscopic medical…
Based on the popular Disney film The Lion King, I assume identifying lion royalty is fairly easy. After all, an elder baboon, Rafiki presented the young lion prince Simba to the entirety of the animal kingdom from atop Pride Rock during some ceremony yet-to-be-observed by humans. But how do the ants know who’s going…
Do you have hobbies? Maybe cycling or carpentry or something low key? Well, this guy has a cooler hobby than you.
You might not know this, but we’re in the midst of an insect shape-studying renaissance. MicroCT technology—basically a lab version of the CAT scanners found at hospitals—is increasingly allowing scientists to produce detailed three-dimensional images without destroying samples. So naturally, if we’re scanning…
A tick sucks some monkey blood. A monkey’s grooming partner picks the tick off. The tick lands in some sap. The whole thing fossilizes. Scientists discover the cells inside the tick in the amber. They turn the blood cells into monkey clones and you’ve essentially got some sort of Jurassic Park in real life.
It’s no secret that bees have been having a really rough time: Just yesterday, the rusty-patched bumble became the first bee in the continental United States officially listed under the Endangered Species Act. But that’s the tip of the iceberg for our buzzy little friends, who unlike their asshole cousins—wasps—only…
Scientists in China have discovered male damselflies caught in the act of trying to court females inside a piece of 100-million-year old amber. It’s an extremely rare find, providing a glimpse of insectoid peacocking behavior during the age of dinosaurs.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have found a secondary set of odor sensors on female malarial mosquitoes that appear to be specifically tuned to sniff out humans. While admittedly disturbing, the discovery could lead to new ways of combating malarial mosquitoes and the dreaded disease they carry.
Like death and taxes, drone crashes are basically inevitable. Even experienced pilots aren’t immune to hardware failures or software problems. But instead of building drones stronger, or wrapping them in awkward safety cages, Swiss researchers have designed a flexible quadcopter that squishes when it crashes,…
A popular approach to designing robots that can navigate a world built for living creatures is to simply copy Mother Nature’s designs. But while trying to improve how a six-legged robot walks, researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne actually found a faster way for six-legged creatures to get around.
Today in science that turns out to be totally bunk: Citronella candles warding off mosquitoes. At least, the natural “repellant” doesn’t seem to have any effect on one of the most notorious disease-spreading blood suckers on Earth.
Given their size and limited brain power, ants have an uncanny ability to find their way home after lengthy foraging excursions. To figure out how they do it, scientists from Germany have developed an innovative, but surprisingly simple spherical ant treadmill made from styrofoam.
Say hello to Aethiocarenus burmanicus, an ancient insect so strange—and so god awfully ugly—its discoverers had to create an entirely new scientific classification to catalogue it.
Scientists have discovered a parasitic insect with a reproductive strategy straight out of an Alien movie. Dubbed the “crypt-keeper wasp,” it infects a rival species with its young, which, after hatching, proceed to chew their way out through the victim’s head.
Most wasps do not have ant heads for butts. So, if you were a researcher digging through a museum collection and found a wasp with an ant head for a butt, you might be surprised. The researchers describing this wasp shouted “ay, caramba,” apparently.
Do not be alarmed, but the menfolk of two newly-identified species of desert bees look an awful lot like ants, and scientists have no idea why.
When people mash their mouths together, it’s usually to display attraction (or it’s an unconvincing attempt at looking human). When ants do it, however, it’s a different story.
Insects aren’t the first thing that come to mind when we think of Antarctica, but as the discovery of a rare Antarctic beetle shows, this frozen continent was quite different millions of years ago.