In honor of Halloween, Entomology Today takes a look at zombie ants, cannibalistic termites, and other spooky insect science.
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.