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Written By: grant on September 21, 2014 No Comment
Science Art: Sarcoptes scabiei,  from <i>Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon</i>, 1892.

Click to embiggen

They itch. They dig in and they itch.

These are the mites that cause scabies, the tiny tunnelers, burrowing into the skin and digesting as they go. If your German’s good, you can read more about them in Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon yourself.

Or, you can rely on a more modern source.

Either [...]

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Written By: grant on August 20, 2014 No Comment

A prehistoric worm with claws, says Live Science, has rewritten the origin story of crabs, spiders and mosquitos:

According to a new study of the creatures’ odd claws, Hallucigenia sparsa is the ancestor of modern-day velvet worms, which are strange, sluglike creatures with centipede-style legs.

The finding is surprising because it rewrites the evolutionary history of [...]

Written By: grant on June 24, 2014 No Comment

SONG: “Colonies.” [Download] (To download: double right-click & “Save As”)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on “Bees build mental maps to get home”, Nature, 2 Jun 2014, as used in the post “Bees know their way. As in they *know*. They remember.”

ABSTRACT: Bees. I’d been keeping them for the [...]

Written By: grant on June 5, 2014 No Comment

Nature reveals a truth with some odd implications about insects’ inner lives. Memory tests prove that bees are more thoughtful than we realize:

“The surprise comes for many people that such a tiny little brain is able to form such a rich memory described as a cognitive map,” says co-author Randolf Menzel, a neurobiologist [...]

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Written By: grant on May 27, 2014 No Comment

When it comes to finding new information, The Independent reports, those crazy, criss-crossing paths that ants take are more efficient than Google at processing new information:

The joint Chinese-German study, which is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that while individual “scout” ants may seem “chaotic” in their movements, they are [...]

Written By: grant on May 22, 2014 No Comment

Science Daily peeks into the mind of insects with new research that shows that fruit flies think before they act:

In experiments asking fruit flies to distinguish between ever closer concentrations of an odor, the researchers found that the flies don’t act instinctively or impulsively. Instead they appear to accumulate information before committing to [...]

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Written By: grant on May 12, 2014 No Comment

The Guardian (with a little help from Harvard) confirms what folks have suspected for a while – that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is largely due to neonicotinoid pesticides:

In the new Harvard study, published in the Bulletin of Insectology, the scientists studied the health of 18 bee colonies in three locations in central Massachusetts from [...]

Written By: grant on May 5, 2014 No Comment

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), as NPR reports, it only affects crickets. They get infected, then want to have more sex, spreading the virus to more hosts:

Shelley Adamo and her team at Dalhousie University in Halifax have just discovered a virus that seems to have an effect kind of like that … in [...]

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Written By: grant on April 21, 2014 No Comment

Nature has published an article about a cave insect that combines the words “marathon sex session” with “the female’s spiky penis”:

In desolate caves throughout Brazil live insects that copulate for days, the female’s penetrating erectile organ sticking fast in a reluctant male’s genital chamber until he offers a gift of nutritious semen. Neotrogla seems [...]

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