10 peeks at sex in the wild

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: February 6, 2009   View Article

Birds do it, bees do it. Even female jumping spiders do it — dangerously. Check out ten ways animals get do it in the wild.

Ten scariest animals in nature

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

Boo! Halloween is a time for trickery, treats and fright. Some members of the human species transform themselves into devils, witches and ghouls. But if you’re looking for something completely different, and completely scary, let nature be your guide.

Moths Elude Spiders by Mimicking Them, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 14, 2007   View Article

The arrival of a jumping spider sends most moths into a flutter trying to escape the predator’s lethal pounce.

Not so for metalmark moths in the genus Brenthia. These moths stand their ground with hind wings flared and forewings held above the body at a slight angle.

Tarantulas Spin Silk From Their Feet, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 27, 2006   View Article

Like the comic book hero Spider-Man, who shoots webs from his wrists to swing through the city, real-life tarantulas spin silk from their feet to walk on slippery surfaces, according to a new study.

“To my knowledge, no other animals are using silk for locomotion,” said Stanislav Gorb, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany.

Sexual Prime Peaks When Males “Smell” Mates, Spider Study Shows

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 16, 2006   View Article

For male Australian redback spiders, life is about sex and death. If they are lucky, the former is part of the latter—female redbacks eat their male mates during copulation.

But death comes first for 83 percent of the males, according to research.

Flesh-Eating Caterpillars Discovered in Hawaii

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 21, 2005   View Article

In Hawaiian rain forests, scientists have discovered caterpillars with a taste for escargot: They trap snails on leaves using silk webbing and then eat them alive.

These are the first caterpillars known to eat snails or mollusks of any kind, an evolutionary adaptation likely enabled by the island chain’s isolation. The insects are also the first caterpillars known to use silk to ensnare prey in a spiderlike fashion.

Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 4, 2001   View Article

“Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!” The mere sight of a snake or spider strikes terror in the hearts of millions of people.

A new study suggests that such fear has been shaped by evolution, stretching back to a time when early mammals had to survive and breed in an environment dominated by reptiles, some of which were deadly.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach