It's Alive

  1. cacao flowers
    Plants

    The flowers that give us chocolate are ridiculously hard to pollinate

    Cacao trees are really fussy about pollination.

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  2. Animals

    Robot fish shows how the deepest vertebrate in the sea takes the pressure

    Tests with a robot snailfish reveal why the deep-sea fish has mysterious goo in its body.

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  3. saddleback tortoise
    Animals

    Studying giant tortoise flips without tipping the animals over is a delicate business

    Giant tortoise shells go domed or saddlebacked, but which is better when navigating treacherous ground?

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  4. fan from water strider leg
    Animals

    Here’s why some water striders have fans on their legs

    A fan of tiny, elegant plumes on their legs helps certain water striders dash across flowing water without getting wet.

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  5. aardvark
    Climate

    Rising temperatures threaten heat-tolerant aardvarks

    Aardvarks may get a roundabout hit from climate change — less food.

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  6. morpho dragonfly
    Animals

    The blue wings of this dragonfly may be surprisingly alive

    The wings of adult morpho dragonflies show tiny respiratory channels that may support a complex of nanostructures that shine blue.

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  7. Meiacanthus grammistes
    Animals

    Blennies have a lot of fang for such little fishes

    Unlike snakes, blennies evolved fangs before venom, through probably not because of any need to hunt big prey.

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  8. polka dot frog
    Animals

    First fluorescent frogs might see each others’ glow

    A polka dot frog, the first known fluorescent amphibian, may get a visibility boost in twilight and moonlight.

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  9. Euderus set wasp
    Animals

    How one enslaving wasp eats through another

    A wasp that forces oaks to grow a gall gets tricked into digging an escape tunnel for its killers.

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  10. Birgus latro
    Animals

    Coconut crab pinches like a lion, eats like a dumpster diver

    Coconut crabs use their surprisingly powerful claw for more than cracking coconuts.

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  11. California pitcher plant
    Plants

    Meat-eating pitcher plants raise deathtraps to an art

    The carnivorous California pitcher plant ensnares its dinner using a medley of techniques.

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  12. short-beaked echidna
    Animals

    An echidna’s to-do list: Sleep. Eat. Dig up Australia.

    Short-beaked echidna’s to-do list looks good for a continent losing other digging mammals.

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