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Category: Amazing Insects

Amazing insect stories, insects in pop culture, and answers to common bug questions

Study Details Mechanics of Flea Beetles’ Big Jumps

The tribe of leaf beetles known for their incredible jumping strength use a powerful catapult-like mechanism to spring away from looming predators. A team of Chinese and U.S. scientists illustrate the biomechanics of these beetles' jumps in a new study and say the findings could hold lessons for bio-inspired robotics.

Schistocerca cancellata locust - gregarious phase

Swarm Shift: How Locusts Switch Phases When Numbers Swell

After swarms of the South American locust Schistocerca cancellata reappeared in 2015 for the first time in 60 years, a study on what drives their swarm behavior finds the insects' population density acts as a trigger for a slew of biological and behavioral changes at the individual level.

European paper wasp - Polistes dominula

You Can Thank Insects for Many Human Inventions

Even in this digital age, we continue to extract ideas and materials from insects and their relatives. However, the challenge of today may be to avoid a strictly utilitarian view of other organisms, whereby a species is expendable if it cannot demonstrate economic value that can be measured in dollars.

honey bee and stewart platform

How a Honey Bee’s Waggle is Inspiring Aerospace Design

Engineers may recognize the internal muscle structure of a honey bee abdomen for its resemblance to a Stewart platform, a mechanical device that enables six degrees of freedom in movement. Researchers who have found its natural equivalent in bees say the discovery is already informing their work in designing articulating nose cones for rockets.

yellowjacket - Vespula squamosa

Yellowjackets: A Look at Opportunistic Raiders of Honey Bee Hives

Yellowjackets are nuisance predators of honey bees, preying on them and pillaging their honey. But bees fight back, and healthy hives are rarely at risk. Learn more about yellowjackets, their interactions with bees, and what sets yellowjackets apart from hornets and other fellow wasps.

Toxorhynchites rutilus mosquito larva feeding

Meet the Mosquito With a Big Appetite—for Other Mosquitoes

The mosquito species Toxorhynchites rutilus is harmless to humans but is a voracious predator of other mosquitoes. Researchers in Houston, Texas, are hoping the "mosquito assassin" could be put into action as a tool for controlling mosquitoes that carry human pathogens—if they can find an efficient way to raise the predator mosquitoes in the lab.

Pacific cicada killer - Sphecius convallis

When Cicada-Killer Wasps Become Cicada-Stealer Wasps

Hunting cicadas and lugging them back to a nest is hard work for a cicada-killer wasp. But sometimes all that hard work goes to waste, when a fellow wasp swoops in and lays her egg on the other wasp's prey. And that's if the cicada isn't stolen by a bird first.

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