A buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris
Buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) that have been infected by parasites seek out flowers with nicotine in their nectar, according to a new study by researchers at the Royal Holloway University of London and Queen Mary University of London, UK.
Apparently, the nicotine in the flowers slows the progression of disease in infected bees but has ... Read more »
Baracchi, D., Brown, M., & Chittka, L. (2015) Weak and contradictory effects of self-medication with nectar nicotine by parasitized bumblebees. F1000Research. DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.6262.1
Penis, the primary sexual organ that male and hermaphrodite animals use to inseminate sexually receptive mates (usually females and hermaphrodites respectively) during sex. Almost all species use some variation of the organ to transfer sperm into females' eggs in order to create more offsprings.
However, thanks to evolution, some species have come up with some really remarkable and weird ... Read more »
McCracken, K. (2000) The 20-cm Spiny Penis of the Argentine Lake Duck (Oxyura vittata). The Auk, 117(3), 820. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2000)117[0820:TCSPOT]2.0.CO;2
Sueur, J., Mackie, D., & Windmill, J. (2011) So Small, So Loud: Extremely High Sound Pressure Level from a Pygmy Aquatic Insect (Corixidae, Micronectinae). PLoS ONE, 6(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021089
Yoshizawa, K., Ferreira, R., Kamimura, Y., & Lienhard, C. (2014) Female Penis, Male Vagina, and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect. Current Biology, 24(9), 1006-1010. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.022
Engh, A., Van Horn, R., Szykman, M., Holekamp, K., & Boydston, E. (2007) Courtship and mating in free-living spotted hyenas. Behaviour, 144(7), 815-846. DOI: 10.1163/156853907781476418
Jewel WaspBy Muhammad Mahdi Karim (Own work) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: HymenopteraSuborder: ApocritaSuperfamily: ApoideaFamily: AmpulicidaeGenus: AmpulexSpecies: Ampulex compressaCommon Name(s): Emerald cockroach wasp or jewel waspThe Emerald cockroach wasp is best known for its unusual parasitoid reproductive behavior, which among other includes stinging and injecting a cockroach with mind controlling toxins and using its ........ Read more »
Haspel, G., Rosenberg, L., & Libersat, F. (2003) Direct injection of venom by a predatory wasp into cockroach brain. Journal of Neurobiology, 56(3), 287-292. DOI: 10.1002/neu.10238
Moore EL, Haspel G, Libersat F, & Adams ME. (2006) Parasitoid wasp sting: a cocktail of GABA, taurine, and beta-alanine opens chloride channels for central synaptic block and transient paralysis of a cockroach host. Journal of neurobiology, 66(8), 811-20. PMID: 16673394
Gal, R., & Libersat, F. (2010) A Wasp Manipulates Neuronal Activity in the Sub-Esophageal Ganglion to Decrease the Drive for Walking in Its Cockroach Prey. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010019
Banks, C., & Adams, M. (2012) Biogenic amines in the nervous system of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana following envenomation by the jewel wasp, Ampulex compressa. Toxicon, 59(2), 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.10.011
Cyborg CockroachCredit: Eric Whitmire.Researchers at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) issued a press release today announcing that they have developed "cyborg" cockroaches with electronic circuit boards strapped to their backs. The cyborg cockroaches (or biobots) can be used to pick up sounds with their attached microphones and seek out their source.Hopefully, the technology will one day help emergency personnel to find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of disasters, like earthquak........ Read more »
Tahmid Latif, Eric Whitmire, Tristan Novak, and Alper Bozkurt. (2014) Towards Fenceless Boundaries for Solar Powered Insect Biobots. Aug. 28 at 36th Annual International IEEE EMBS Conference, Chicago, Illinois . info:/
A newly discovered wasp species uses the corpses of dead ants as scarecrows, to protect its nest from predators, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Freiburg. Scientifically described as Deuteragenia ossarium and dubbed as the Bone-house wasp, the species uses the chemical cues from ant corpses to ward off predators, by stuffing them into the crevices of its home. The species was discovered in Jiangxi Province in south east China.Wasps use a wide range of ........ Read more »
Staab, M., Ohl, M., Zhu, C., & Klein, A. (2014) A Unique Nest-Protection Strategy in a New Species of Spider Wasp. PLoS ONE, 9(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101592
The family Nepticulidae hold some of the smallest moths known, ranging from 3-8mm wing-tip to wing-tip. For a comparison I have imaged two moths above: the largest known – Coscinocera hercules that tips the scales at nearly 9 inches, and one of the smallest (yes that tiny little speck below . . . → Read More: The tiniest of moths... Read more »
Labandeira, C. (1994) Ninety-Seven Million Years of Angiosperm-Insect Association: Paleobiological Insights into the Meaning of Coevolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91(25), 12278-12282. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.91.25.12278
PUPLESIS, R., DIŠKUS, A., ROBINSON, G., & ONORE, G. (2002) A review and checklist of the Neotropical Nepticulidae (Lepidoptera). Bulletin of The Natural History Museum. Entomology Series, 71(01). DOI: 10.1017/S0968045402000032
The glasswing butterfly (Greta oto) is a strange species of butterfly occurring in the rainforests of Central America, from Mexico to Panama, and Costa Rica, and as far south as Venezuela. It's best known for its unique transparent wings. Post contains extensive information, images and videos of this magnificent animal.... Read more »
Binetti VR, Schiffman JD, Leaffer OD, Spanier JE, & Schauer CL. (2009) The natural transparency and piezoelectric response of the Greta oto butterfly wing. Integrative biology : quantitative biosciences from nano to macro, 1(4), 324-9. PMID: 20023733
Ed Yong recently reposted his fantastic 2008 post on assassin bug camouflage to keep us entertained while he’s away. I covered the same paper on an old incarnation of my blog, and can’t resist joining in on the reposting fun. Kevin Zelnio of Deep Sea News also has a post about it.
Remember that scene [...]... Read more »
Jackson, R., & Pollard, S. (2007) Bugs with backpacks deter vision-guided predation by jumping spiders. Journal of Zoology, 273(4), 358-363. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2007.00335.x
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