Insects

Masters of disguise

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: April 28, 2008   View Article

Blend in or be eaten is the name of the game for many of Earth’s creatures. Some trick predators into thinking they’re toxic and thus are best avoided. Others don a cloak of camouflage to hide from hungry eyes. Meanwhile, the predators themselves match up with their surroundings in hopes of getting closer to their unsuspecting prey. All are evolutionary adaptations intended to help the creatures survive another day. Learn about ten of these masters of disguise.

Ancient Global Warming Gave Bugs the Munchies

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 11, 2008   View Article

A temperature spike about 55 million years ago gave bugs the munchies, according to a new study.

If modern temperatures continue to rise as anticipated in the coming years, researchers add, the planet could see a similar increase in insect damage to crops and other plants.

Mummies With Lice Offer New Clues to Human Migration

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 8, 2008   View Article

A common type of head lice picked from thousand-year-old Peruvian mummies suggests the pesky parasitic insects accompanied modern humans on their first migration out of Africa, according to a new study.

Researchers had thought Europeans brought the widespread louse species to the Americas about 500 years ago, said David Reed, who studies the parasites at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

Cicadas as Food: Summer’s Low-Fat Snack?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 22, 2007   View Article

High-protein, low-carb dieters take note: The billions of cicadas emerging from the ground this month in the midwestern U.S. are a healthy alternative to that bacon double-cheeseburger without the bun.

“They’re high in protein, low in fat, no carbs,” said Gene Kritsky, a biologist and cicada expert at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, speaking to National Geographic News during the last major cicada outbreak, in 2004.

Fruit Flies Aerial Stunts Inspire Brain Study

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 20, 2006   View Article

Budding engineers often take apart common devices, such as toasters, and put them back together again to learn how the parts make up a working system.

But budding biologists have a harder time using this approach—once a living organism is taken apart it usually can’t be made to function again.

Now, using modern genetic engineering techniques, researchers are able to turn biological components on and off, in effect removing parts to see how each one affects the whole system.

Big Testes or Big Horns? It’s One or the Other for Male Beetles

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 16, 2007   View Article

Big horns or big testes? It’s one or the other for maturing male dung beetles looking to ensure reproductive success, a new study suggests.

The finding confirms a theory that beetles have evolved in response to trade-offs between the two traits.

Males of most species either get weapons to guard their access to females or a greater shot at successful insemination when they mate.

Buzz Kill: Wild Bees and Flowers Disappearing, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 21, 2006   View Article

Parents may soon be telling their kids about the birds and the … birds.

Bees—and the flowers they pollinate—are disappearing, according to a new study of bee diversity. The results raise concerns about food crops and plant communities that rely on animal pollinators to reproduce.

Scientists compared a million records on bees from hundreds of sites in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands before and after 1980.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach