Bacterial Diversity in Butterflies Changes Drastically During Metamorphosis


For the first time ever, a team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has sequenced the internal bacterial makeup of the three major life stages of a butterfly species, a project that showed some surprising events occur during metamorphosis. The team, led by CU-Boulder doctoral student Tobin Hammer, used powerful DNA sequencing methods to […]

Novel Genes Determine Different Castes in Ant Colonies


An ant colony generally consists of a queen and workers that perform different tasks, such as brood care, foraging, or nest defense. This behavioral specialization may be accompanied by morphological and physiological differences — ants from the same colony may look very different from each other, dependent on their caste, despite having similar genetic backgrounds. […]

Single Gene Determines Worker Bees’ Ability to Carry Pollen


Scientists from Michigan State University and Wayne State University have identified how a single gene in honey bees separates the queens from the workers. The scientists unraveled the gene’s inner workings and published the results in the current issue of Biology Letters. The gene, which is responsible for leg and wing development, plays a crucial […]

Panama Considers Sterilizing Mosquitoes to Combat Dengue

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Weeks after Panama’s Health Minister, Javier Diaz, declared that the country was experiencing a “dengue epidemic,” Panama approved the evaluation of a novel tool to combat the dengue mosquito. It involves mass-rearing large numbers of male mosquitoes that are genetically modified so that their offspring cannot reproduce, which reduces the population. Panama is collaborating with […]

425-million-year-old Arthropod Found in England


Palaeobiologists at Oxford University have discovered a new fossil arthropod, christened Enalikter aphson, in 425-million-year-old rocks in Herefordshire, England. It belongs to an extinct group of marine-dwelling “short-great-appendage” arthropods, Megacheira, defined by their claw-like front limbs. The discovery and analysis of Enalikter aphson has given support to the notion that Megacheira came before the last […]

What if We Fit Thousands of Mosquitoes with Tiny Sensors?


A post from last week called “Australia Fits Thousands of Bees with Sensors to Monitor the Environment” described a project where as many as 5,000 bees were being fitted with mini-sensors in order to track their movement and their relationship to the environment. Now Dr. Cameron Webb, a blogger and medical entomologist at the University […]

New Beetle Genus Discovered in London Museum


A visit to the Natural History Museum in London yielded an unexpected surprise for Dr. Joseph Parker, a UK biologist based in New York at Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History. Among the 22,000 drawers of specimens in the beetle collection was a new rove beetle genus collected during the 1990s in […]

Virginia Entomologists Use Mexican Wasps to Help Indian Farmers


This could be the perfect, real-life representation of the theme for the next International Congress of Entomology — “Entomology without Borders.” Entomologists from Virginian Tech University discovered a devastating plant pest in India and devised a way to combat it naturally, saving Indian farmers up to $309 million the first year and more than $1 […]

How I Discovered a South American Slingshot Spider


By Lary Reeves One muggy night in May 2013 near the Los Amigos Biological Station, I was slogging through a swamp with Geoff Gallice, a fellow graduate student at the University of Florida, and artist Lindsay Whelan, trying to get my hands on a couple of juvenile spectacled caimans and dodging bullet ants on the […]

Add Tobacco Ringspot Virus to Possible Causes of Colony Collapse Disorder


In 2006 a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) emerged. Beekeepers and scientists noticed that large numbers of adult honey bees were leaving their hives and failing to return, which had large implications for farmers and growers who use honey bees as pollinators. Today the exact cause of the CCD is still unknown, but scientists […]