Life sciences writer Susan Milius has been writing about botany, zoology and ecology for Science News since the last millennium. She worked at diverse publications before breaking into science writing and editing. After stints on the staffs of The Scientist, Science, International Wildlife and United Press International, she joined Science News. Three of Susan's articles have been selected to appear in editions of The Best American Science Writing.

All Stories by Susan Milius

  1. A close up photo of a bee sitting on a purple flower with green leaves and stems in the background.

    ‘Polyester bees’ brew beer-scented baby food in plastic cribs

    Ptiloglossa bees’ baby food gets its boozy fragrance from fermentation by mysteriously selected microbes.

  2. a group of bees are photographed from above doing their waggle dance

    Honeybees waggle to communicate. But to do it well, they need dance lessons

    Young honeybees can’t perfect waggling on their own after all. Without older sisters to practice with, youngsters fail to nail distances.

  3. Two orca whales breaching.

    Orca moms baby their adult sons. That favoritism pays off — eventually

    By sharing fish with their adult sons, orca moms may skimp on nutrition, cutting their chances of more offspring but boosting the odds for grandwhales.

  4. A photo of a small hand reaching out with an index finger to touch the long green leaf of a plant near the ground.

    How plant ‘muscles’ fold up a mimosa leaf fast

    A mimosa plant revs up tiny clumps of specially shaped cells that collapse its leaflets, though why isn’t clear.

  5. A photo of Joseph L. Graves Jr., the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology.
    Science & Society

    Meet the first Black American to earn an evolutionary biology Ph.D.

    In ‘A Voice in the Wilderness,’ Joseph L. Graves Jr. discusses his scientific journey, how he debates racists, and more.

  6. This sleeping female glass frog tucks away most of her red blood cells while she sleeps. Her eggs are visible within her transparent ovaries.

    Sleeping glass frogs hide by storing most of their blood in their liver

    Glass frogs snoozing among leaves blend in by hiding almost all their red blood cells in their liver until the tiny animals wake up.

  7. photo of a black and yellow Anterhynchium mason wasp and a green tree frog on a white background

    Long genital spines on male wasps can save their lives

    A male wasp’s genital spines can save his life in an encounter with a scary tree frog, a new study shows.

  8. A male fruit fly with a long skinny red body and long dark eyestalks with red tips, stands on a leaf

    Certain young fruit flies’ eyes literally pop out of their head

    The first published photo sequence of developing Pelmatops flies shows how their eyes rise on gangly stalks in the first hour of adulthood.

  9. two springtails standing on a flat surface against a black backdrop

    Video reveals that springtails are tiny acrobats

    Poppy seed–sized cousins of insects, famed for wild escape leaping, right themselves in mid-falls faster than cats.

  10. a mosquito larva lunging to eat a different mosquito, with tweezers shown to show the tiny size of the insects

    Video captures young mosquitoes launching their heads to eat other mosquitoes

    New high-speed filming gives a first glimpse of mosquito hunting too fast for humans to see.

  11. Two endangered Pahrump poolfish swim in an aquarium. The long-isolated desert fish have lost their fear of some dangers, experiments show.

    After eons of isolation, these desert fish flub social cues

    Pahrump poolfish flunked a fear test, but maybe they’re scared of other things.

  12. portrait of a northern giant hornet specimen

    ‘Murder hornets’ have a new common name: Northern giant hornet

    Anti-Asian hate crimes helped push U.S. entomologists to give a colorful insect initially dubbed the Asian giant hornet a less inflammatory name.