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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Famous for their flashy colors, peacock spiders also emit vibrational signals during their mating dance. But why both kinds of courtship cues? And which kind matters more? Researchers have been studying peacock spiders to find out.
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.
The fat lower legs that dangle below flying wasps in the family Gasteruptiidae turn out to be filled with insect fat body, and they may play key roles in flight dynamics, detecting vibrations from prey, and even detoxification.
An opal discovered in Indonesia exhibits a rare inclusion: a preserved insect embedded within.
Tiny beetles once known as tea shot hole borers are actually a group of four distinct species that appear almost exactly the same to even the trained eye. In a new study, researchers combine both physical measurements and molecular genetics to better define the members of the Euwallacea fornicatus cryptic species complex.
Some insects look like science-fiction stars precisely because the creative minds behind popular entertainment look to insects to spark their imagination.
Several emerging mosquito-management methods require the transport of mosquitoes to precise locations. There, lab-reared mosquitoes—for instance, sterilized males—mix with wild mosquitoes and hinder the population's ability to reproduce or transmit disease. But, getting mosquitoes from lab to wild presents logistical challenges. A team led by researchers at New Mexico State University are tackling this problem and have made a surprising discovery about just how tightly live mosquitoes can be packed up.
Despite headlines to the contrary in British tabloids this fall, harlequin ladybird beetles are not killing off native species by giving them a sexually transmitted fungal infection. "There have been stories mixing up various research findings into quite sensational headlines, which is a shame because these fungi and the ladybirds are fascinating in their own right," says ecological entomologist Helen Roy, Ph.D., of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Wallingford, England.
Learning how cuckoo bumble bees cheat the eusocial system can tell scientists a lot about how insect sociality evolves and how hosts and parasites coevolve. But, as other bees face declines, cuckoo bees will only get more difficult to study.
Advances in microscopic imaging techniques are revealing, in unprecedented detail, the structure of mycangia—the internal organs that ambrosia beetles use to store and transport the symbiotic fungi they farm.
A study conducted during the 2017 total solar eclipse in North America found that bees remained active during partial-eclipse phases, but they essentially ceased flying during totality.