Jake Buehler

Jake Buehler is a freelance science writer, covering natural history, wildlife conservation and Earth's splendid biodiversity, from salamanders to sequoias. He has a master's degree in zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

All Stories by Jake Buehler

  1. image of the mesh skeleton on a modern bath sponge

    If confirmed, tubes in 890-million-year-old rock may be the oldest animal fossils

    Newly described wormlike fossils may be ancient sea sponges. If confirmed, the fossils would reveal a remarkably early start to animal life.

  2. a Xerces blue butterfly against a black background

    This butterfly is the first U.S. insect known to go extinct because of people

    A 93-year-old Xerces blue specimen’s DNA shows that the butterfly is a distinct species, making it the first U.S. insect humans drove to extinction.

  3. Twelve-spotted skimmer dragonfly on branch

    Climate change may rob male dragonfly wings of their dark spots

    Less colorful, cooler wings may be advantageous to dragonflies in a warmer world. But the change could mess with the insects’ mating.

  4. a water scavenger beetle

    These beetles walk on water, upside down, underneath the surface

    Many insects can skate atop the water’s surface thanks to water tension, but one beetle can apparently tread along the underside of this boundary.

  5. a woman spots a humpback whale tail

    ‘Fathom’ seeks to unravel humpback whales’ soulful songs

    The film ‘Fathom’ on Apple TV+ follows the quest of researchers on the ocean’s surface to decipher the eerie symphony of humpback whale calls below.

  6. fern colony on a tree trunk

    These ferns may be the first plants known to share work like ants

    Staghorn ferns grow in massive colonies where individual plants contribute different jobs. This may make them “eusocial,” like ants or termites.

  7. photo of a red/pink sea star

    Urchin mobs team up to butcher sea stars that prey on them

    Urchins are important herbivores in nearshore ecosystems, but are not strict vegetarians, with hunger that extends even to munching predatory nemeses.

  8. a mantis hanging from a leaf

    This praying mantis inflates a strange pheromone gland to lure mates

    Researchers stumbled across a first among mantises: an inflatable organ that spreads pheromones, helping mates find each other in the dark rainforest.

  9. lion yawning

    Yawning helps lions synchronize their groups’ movements

    A lion yawn is contagious, and when lions start yawning together, they start moving together. Synchronization may be key for group hunters like lions.

  10. male fairy wrasse fish

    Flamboyant fishes evolved an explosion of color as seas rose and fell

    Fluctuations in sea level due to cycling ice ages may have powered an engine in tropical seas that pumped out gaudy fish species.

  11. female mason bee on hole in plant stem

    Bee larvae drum with their butts, which may confuse predatory wasps

    Dual percussion instruments — one on the head, the other on the rear — give mason bee larvae a peculiar musical gift that may be a tool for survival.

  12. male superb lyrebird with feathers spread

    A single male lyrebird can mimic the sound of an entire flock

    The Australian birds, already famous for their impressive song-copying skills, appear to be replicating the sounds of a “mobbing flock” of birds.