Tick Tock: Fat Reserves in Blacklegged Ticks Provide a Life-Expectancy Clock

ixodes scapularis

The winter of 2011-2012 was a mild one in the New York City area, and the following summer saw the lowest population density of nymphal blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) in the region since the Vector Ecology Laboratory at Fordham University had begun measuring it in 1987. And the ticks that were collected did not survive […]

Collection of 1.25 Million Weevils and Planthoppers Donated to Arizona State University

O'Brien insect collection

One of the largest private insect collections in the world is changing hands, and along with it will go an endowment for continued study of the insects it contains. Yesterday, Arizona State University announced that the massive private entomological collection of Charlie and Lois O’Brien, including more than 1 million weevil specimens and 250,000 planthoppers, […]

Up Close and Personal With Venomous Moths

Lonomia electra larvae

By Bart Coppens “Assassin caterpillar” or, in Spanish, “taturana”—these are the names appointed to caterpillars of the genus Lonomia. It’s a name rightfully deserved: Species of the South American genus Lonomia are of medical significance due to their larval forms that may cause severe envenomation and even death to humans. Lonomia is often considered to […]

Unwanted Webs: Integrated Pest Management for Fall Webworms

fall webworms

By Meredith Swett Walker In late summer and fall, extension agents and pest control professionals across North America get a version of this call: “It looks like a gang of hyperactive spiders have set up a commune in my pecan/Bradford pear/cottonwood tree. There are webs everywhere! How do I get rid of them?” More curious […]

Eat This, Not That: Why Mantids Eat Everything But the Gut of Some Caterpillar Prey

mantid with monarch caterpillar

By Leslie Mertz When a Chinese mantid (Tenodera sinensis) grabs a nice, plump monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus), it not only “bites into the fleshy bits” but also eventually gnaws deeply enough to rip through the lining of the gut, the contents of which are propelled out of the still-alive larva as it writhes, describes biologist […]