It’s the year of magic. Or, well, the Magicicada septendecim – the 17-year magic cicada.
Have you heard?
They come back every 17 years, black-winged and red-eyed. Eerie. Noisy. Marvelous.
This illustration came from Wikimedia Commons.
Nature reveals how a mosquito-killing gene technique is being used to create better silk more efficiently:
But male silkworms (Bombyx mori) are much more useful for farmers: they are more resistant to disease, eat less and produce better silk, says Luke Alphey, chief scientific officer at Oxitec, a biotechnology company based in Abingdon, UK. At present, separating males from [...]
Wired beholds an eerie arthropod self-portrait… a piece of functional art, a spider, by spider:
In September, [biologist Phil] Torres was leading visitors into a floodplain surrounding Peru’s Tambopata Research Center, located near the western edge of the Amazon. From a distance, they saw what resembled a smallish, dead spider in a web. It looked kind of flaky, [...]
Science Tech Daily says in the parasite world, it’s turtles all the way down. No matter how much of a *parasite* you are… like the brain-eating cordyceps fungus, for example… there’s going to be some kind of fearsome parasite that feeds on you:
Ophiocordyceps fungi depend on ants to reproduce and spread. …Eventually, the ant will clamp down onto [...]
I can’t beat Science Nordic’s headline. They’re talking about some tragically vicious beetle anatomy:
The many spines on the penis are just as nasty, sharp and destructive as they look. And now a Swedish and American study shows that this is all deliberate.
The female beetle has no say in the matter
Armed with a laser, microscope and a penis pump, [...]
French beekeepers, Russia Today tells us, were mystified when their hives started producing rainbow-colored honey – but were even more concerned when they found out the not-so-sweet reason why:
The bees around the town of Ribeauville in the Alsace region have been carrying an unidentified colored substance back to their hives since August. The keepers have done a bit of [...]
Is it cute?
It’s a tardigrade, also known as a water bear. That’s a cute name. And they’re tiny, too, which is part of cuteness, usually. Less than a millimeter long.
But they’re also durable. You can zap them with gamma rays like the Hulk or send them through space like Superman, but they just [...]
It’s a bacterium. It preys on insects. And Scientific American makes me worry that one way or another, they’ll figure out a way to make us eat our own brains too:
As well as passing from females onto their offspring, Wolbachia can also be transmitted horizontally, that is between insects in the same generation. In its normal host the Wolbachia [...]
EurekAlert goes back 230 million years to uncover the most ancient arthropods ever found:
The amber droplets, most between 2-6 millimeters long, were buried in outcrops high in the Dolomite Alps of northeastern Italy and excavated by Eugenio Ragazzi and Guido Roghi of the University of Padova. About 70,000 of the miniscule droplets were screened for inclusions —encased animal [...]