Five Amino Acid Differences Separate Males from Female Honey Bees


It’s taken nearly 200 years, but scientists in Arizona and Europe have teased out how the molecular switch for sex gradually and adaptively evolved in the honey bee. The first genetic mechanism for sex determination was proposed in the mid-1800s by a Silesian monk named Johann Dzierson, according to the study’s co-author and Arizona State […]

Young Trees with Slippery Bark are More Resistant to Pine Beetles


Trees with smoother bark are better at repelling attacks by mountain pine beetles, which have difficulty gripping the slippery surface, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder. The findings, published online in the journal Functional Ecology, may help land managers make decisions about which trees to cull and which to keep […]

Gallery of Christmas-themed Insect Photos


From green-and-red beetles, to caterpillars that look like snow flakes, this photo collection at features 16 insect photos that will remind you of Christmas. There’s even one that looks like a reindeer. Click here for the photo gallery.

Do Female Praying Mantises Always Eat the Males?


By Richard Levine An urban legend about female praying mantises always eating males during or after mating has circulated for a long time. However, reality is much more complicated. Kyle Hurley, an entomology student from the University of Central Arkansas, spent two years observing praying mantises in the lab and made some startling observations. For […]

Studying Insects can Show how Human Projects Impact Ecosystems


As the largest dam removal in U.S. history brought Pacific salmon back to Washington state’s Elwha River for the first time in nearly a century, scientists were considering the changing ecosystem’s impact on those foundational Elwha Valley dwellers: insects. In the spring, entomology professor Richard Zack brought to Washington State University some millions of specimens […]

CDC Issues Travel Warning to Caribbean due to Chikungunya Virus


According to the Centers for Disease Control’s website, on December 12, the World Health Organization reported 10 cases of chikungunya that have been identified in people who live on the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean. This is the first time that local transmission of chikungunya has been reported in the Americas. Chikungunya is […]

Video Shows U.S. Customs Agents Screening for Invasive Insect Pests


An entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed the discovery of a new pest that was found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents at Baltimore Washington International airport. The insect, Palmaspis sp. (Asterolecaniidae), was found as officers were inspecting a palm leaf hat from Jamaica worn by a traveler in […]

Orb-weaving Spiders use Webs to Trap Pollen in Addition to Insects


It looks like spiders may not be the pure predators we generally believe them to be. Dr Dirk Sanders of the University of Exeter has demonstrated that orb web spiders choose to eat pollen, even when insects are available. His research appears in a PLOS One article called “Herbivory in Spiders: The Importance of Pollen […]

Fungus Spores can Kill Mosquitoes, Save Lives


The findings of a study by a team of academics led by Swansea University could have far-reaching implications for the control of mosquito larvae across the world. The study, recently published by the PLOS One research journal, shows the mechanisms by which a fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae kills mosquito larvae, which could help efforts to […]

Now you can Help Digitize Insect Collections from your own Home


What do you do with a million insect specimens and labels that need to be entered into a database? The Essig Museum of Entomology in California faced that problem and calculated that it would take their current staff about 100 years to digitize the eight major insect collections in the state. Instead, they decided to […]