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. Shut up! A thunderstorm’s on the way

    The narrow-leafed gentian, a mountain blossom, is the first flower shown to close when a thunderstorm apporaches.

  2. Tests hint bird tails are misunderstood

    A test of starling's tails in a wind tunnel suggests that the standard practice of extrapolating bird tail aerodynamics from delta-wing aircraft may be a mistake.

  3. Tree pollen exploits surrogate mothers

    An Algerian cypress releases pollen that can develop without fertilization, using another tree species' female organs instead of a mate's.

  4. Animals

    Microbe lets mite dads perform virgin birth

    A gender-bent mite—in which altered males give birth as virgins—turns out to be the first species discovered to live and reproduce with only one set of chromosomes.

  5. Animals

    Fruit flies hear by spinning their noses

    Drosophila have a rotating ear—and odor-sensing—structure that's new to science.

  6. Sitting around? (Chomp!) Back to work!

    An analysis of nestmates biting each other in a wasp colony suggests that the nips and outright chomps help organize work flow in the nest.

  7. Minke whales make Star Wars noises

    Researchers have identified the dwarf minke whales of Australia as the source of an odd sound like the firing of a Stars Wars laser gun.

  8. Earth

    New test traces underground forest carbon

    An unusual method of studying soil respiration by girdling trees may clear up several vital mysteries in the way carbon cycles through forests.

  9. Catfish can track fish wakes in the dark

    Infrared photography has revealed that catfish can stalk their prey by following wakes underwater.

  10. Cardinal girls learn faster than boys

    A female cardinal learns about as many songs as a male but in one-third the time.

  11. Ecosystems

    Parrot survey finds poaching but also hope

    The largest review yet of wild parrot nesting finds poaching worrisomely frequent but also sees cause for hope in the efects of a U.S. protection law.

  12. A Fly Called Iyaiyai

    All that Latin has its light side.