When humans experience stress, their inner turmoil may not be apparent to an outside observer. But many animals deal with stressful circumstances -- overcrowded conditions, not enough food -- by completely remodeling their bodies. These stress-induced forms, whether they offer a protective covering or more camouflaged coloration, can better withstand the challenge and help the animal survive until conditions improve.
Since the arrival of the Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in North America was first reported in New Jersey in early 2018, it has been found in eight other states in the US And, by the looks of a new study comparing North American habitat with the invasive tick's native territory, it shouldn't be a surprise if it shows up in many more.
Physicists are now exploring laser-based technology traditionally used for studying conditions in the atmosphere -- such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) -- to shine a light on the subtlest of features of mosquito activity and better track populations that may carry a viral threat.
Using long-term data from the "Butterfly Monitoring Germany" citizens' research project, scientists have now investigated the matter using butterflies as an example. According to the research, there are more butterfly species in Natura 2000 areas than elsewhere. However, the same decline in the numbers of species regardless whether the communities are located within or outside the protected areas.
A recent study of textbooks aimed at introductory biology courses finds that they devote less than one percent of their text to discussing insects, which make up more than 60 percent of animal species. The study authors argue that this provides a poor foundation for understanding ecosystems, biodiversity, and other core aspects of biological research.
Regulators worldwide currently use honeybees as the sole model species failing to account for potential threats posed by agrochemicals to the full diversity of bee species from bumblebees to solitary bees, which are probably more important for pollination of food crops than managed honeybees. They are potentially more vulnerable to pesticides given they nest in the ground and bumblebee queens have different life cycles that could increase exposure.
Move over, trap-jaw ants and mantis shrimp: There's a faster appendage in town. According to a new study, the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae, can snap its mandibles at speeds of up to 90 meters per second (more than 200 mph), making it the fastest animal movement on record.
Spider silk belongs to the toughest fibres in nature and has astounding properties. Scientists from the University of Würzburg discovered new molecular details of self-assembly of a spider silk fibre protein.
The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is quite possibly the most studied organism on the planet. Fruit flies are also quite familiar residents in many of our kitchens, attracted as they are to the fruit bowl. But how do the flies live in the wild? Surprisingly little is known.
More than two centuries before initiatives to increase the number of women in STEM fields, Maria Sibylla Merian was a professional artist and naturalist whose close observations and illustrations were the first to accurately portray the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths and emphasize the intimate relationship between insects and their host plants. Now, a new Central American butterfly species has been named in her honor.