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Romeo-and-Juliet leafhoppers, sleep-deprived honeybees and more in this week’s news

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2:31pm, May 18, 2011

First leaf-to-leaf duet
Grapevine leafhoppers, known to whisper sweet nothings by sending vibrations through plant stems, can also blow kisses to a potential mate on another plant. Even though their leaves sprang from separate cuttings, a Romeo and Juliet of grapevine leafhoppers buzzed a duet across a chasm of 6 centimeters. This feat represents the first experimental result showing that insect vibrations can buzz from plant to plant, researchers in Italy and Slovenia report online May 5 in PLoS ONE. Now researchers want to know how the insects accomplish the duets. —Susan Milius

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