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. Animals

    Can leeches leap? New video may help answer that debate

    For some, it’s the stuff of nightmares. But a grad student’s serendipitous cell phone video might resolve a long-running debate over leech acrobatics.

  2. Life

    It’s a big year for cicadas. Here’s what to know about this year’s emergence

    Periodical cicadas are an odd marvel of nature. This year, the biggest brood of all is coming out in the U.S. South while another emerges in the Midwest.

  3. Animals

    Want to see butterflies in your backyard? Try doing less yardwork

    Growing out patches of grass can lure adult butterflies and moths with nectar and offer lawn mower–free havens for toddler caterpillars.

  4. Plants

    Plant ‘time bombs’ highlight how sneaky invasive species can be

    Sycamore maples and some other plant invaders lurked for centuries before starting to choke out native ecosystems and species.

  5. Animals

    Big monarch caterpillars don’t avoid toxic milkweed goo. They binge on it

    Instead of nipping milkweed to drain the plants’ defensive sap, older monarch caterpillars may seek the toxic sap. Lab larvae guzzled it from a pipette.

  6. Life

    These snails give live birth, and it’s the babies that may do the labor

    Protecting eggs in mom’s body may have given rough periwinkle snails an advantage over egg-laying cousins, letting them spread to far more coastline.

  7. Animals

    Ant face patterns like swirls and stubble might have practical value

    Reviewing thousands of ant photos hints that facial surface patterns might offer benefits, like structural support or abrasion protection.

  8. Life

    Faking death lets some female frogs slip the mating grip of a male

    Suddenly looking dead, grunting like a guy or vigorously rotating can help female frogs survive mating balls in species with aggressively grabby males.

  9. Microbes

    Watch: Recent microbial discoveries are changing our view of life on Earth

    Videos capture the strange movements and predatory styles of protists — among the closest microbial cousins to multicellular life.

  10. Life

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

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

  11. Life

    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.

  12. Life

    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.