While previous studies showed elk often move into areas disturbed by fires or timber harvest to take advantage of new plant growth, that isn't happening in Wyoming's Sierra Madre Mountains, where elk strongly avoid beetle-killed areas in the summer.
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on Feb. 14 find that the ants of the acacia tree are tipped off to the presence of herbivores by vibrations that run throughout the trees when an animal gets too close or begins to chew. As a result, the insects begin patrolling the acacia's branches more actively. Remarkably, the researchers show, the ants don't react when the trees' movements are caused only by the wind.
A tiny insect, no bigger than the head of a pin, is threatening to topple the multibillion-dollar citrus industry in the US by infecting millions of acres of orchards with an incurable bacterium called citrus greening disease. The battle to save the citrus industry is pitting crop producers and a team of agriculture researchers -- including agricultural communications professor Taylor K. Ruth of the University of Illinois -- against a formidable brown bug, the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads the disease.
If a structure has a gap or entrance large enough for brown marmorated stink bugs to fit through, they will find it. But a new study shows that slits less than 3 millimeters wide and holes less than 7 millimeters wide should successfully exclude the vast majority of the bugs. A related study examines how overwintering stink bugs react to corpses of their fellow bugs remaining from previous winters.
A new paper in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, coauthored by a KU researcher, describes fossil spiders found in an area of Korean shale called the Lower Cretaceous Jinju Formation.
The anopheline mosquitoes that carry malaria were present 100 million years ago, new research shows, potentially shedding fresh light on the history of a disease that continues to kill more than 400,000 people annually.
Termite construction projects have no architects, engineers or foremen, and yet these centimeter-sized insects build complex, meter-sized structures all over the world. Harvard researchers demonstrate how simple rules linking environmental physics and animal behavior can give rise to these structures. Their research sheds lights on broader questions of swarm intelligence and may serve as inspiration for designing more sustainable human architecture.
Cuckoo spit turns up on plants every spring, but how do the tiny insect nymphs that produce the foam breathe when drenched in it? Are they using air trapped in the foam like an aqualung or snorkeling? Researchers at the University of British Columbia, Canada, have discovered that the bugs are snorkeling. It also turns out that sucking at the sap that produces the foam takes much less energy than had been thought.
When young spotted lanternflies grow they become brightly red. Around this time, they also begin to feed almost exclusively on the tree of heaven, from which they suck bitter juices into their bodies. In this way, they coordinate the moment when they become bright and visible to predators with the time when they become distasteful to predators. Birds learn to avoid bitter prey when the prey are brightly colored.
Harvard researchers have developed a framework that explains how bees use environmental signals to collectively cluster and continuously ventilate the hive.