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. Caterpillars die rather than switch

    A newly identified compound in tomatoes and other plants of the nightshade family turns hornworms into addicts that often starve rather than eat another food.

  2. To save gardens, ants rush to whack weeds

    Ants can grow gardens, too, and the first detailed study of their weeding techniques shows that whether a gardener has two legs or six, the chore looks much the same.

  3. Lyme ticks lurk on golf course edges

    At least half the ticks collected along woodsy edges of five golf courses in Rhode Island carry the baterium that causes Lyme disease.

  4. How spiny lobsters make scary noises

    Spiny lobsters make alarm and protest sounds by drawing their leathery plectra—protrusions at the base of each anntenna—across scaley ridges below their eyes, much like a violin bow pulling across a string.

  5. Outcry saves National Zoo’s research site

    In the final hours, Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small withdrew his proposal to close the National Zoo's research center in Front Royal, Virginia.

  6. For some birds, Mr. Wrong can be alright

    What looks like the ultimate bad choice in romance—a mate from a different species—in some conditions may not be so dumb after all.

  7. Senior bees up all night caring for larvae

    Honeybees turn out to be the first insect known to change circadian rhythms just because of a social cue, a crisis in the nursery.

  8. When parents let kids go hungry

    Researchers comparing Northern and Southern birds have confirmed a prediction about parents protecting themselves at their offsprings' expense.

  9. Weather cycles may drive toad decline

    For the first time, scientists have linked a global climate pattern to a specific mechanism of amphibian decline.

  10. Friend or Foe? Old Elephants Know

    Older female elephants are far better at telling friends from strangers than are younger matriarchs.

  11. Isn’t It a Bloomin’ Crime?

    Darwin called them felons, those creatures that take nectar without pollinating anything, but some modern scientists are reopening the case.

  12. Lifestyles of the bright and toxic overlap

    The first study of home life for Madagascar's poison frogs in the wild finds a striking resemblance to a group that's not closely related, the poison-dart frogs in the Americas.