Wild Things

The weird and wonderful in the natural world

  1. two parasite insects flying around mining bee
    Animals

    The bizarre mating ritual of a bee parasite

    Stylops ovinae insects — parasites found in mining bees — have short lives filled with trauma.

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  2. vultures feeding on a dead horse
    Animals

    Vultures are vulnerable to extinction

    Life history makes vultures more vulnerable to extinction than other birds, a new study finds, but humankind’s poisons are helping them to their end.

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  3. crocodile eye
    Animals

    Crocodile eyes are optimized for lurking

    Crocodiles hang out at the water’s surface, waiting for a meal. A new study shows their eyes are optimized for spotting their prey from this position.

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  4. purple starfish, Pisaster ochraceus
    Animals

    Cause of mass starfish die-offs is still a mystery

    Sea stars off the U.S. west coast started dying off en masse in 2013. Scientists are still struggling to figure out the cause.

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  5. bearcat
    Animals

    Chemical behind popcorn’s aroma gives a bearcat its signature scent

    Bearcats smell like popcorn. Now scientists now why: The chemical responsible for popcorn’s alluring scent has been found in bearcat pee.

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  6. skeleton of a long-beaked echidna
    Animals

    How animal poop could be key in solving echidna mystery

    The western long-beaked echidna hasn’t been seen in Australia in 10,000 years. But DNA in scat could reveal its presence.

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  7. crab swarm
    Animals

    Scientists find a crab party deep in the ocean

    A trip to check out the biodiversity off the coast of Panama revealed thousands of crabs swarming on the seafloor.

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  8. tumbleweeds
    Plants

    New species of tumbleweed is just as bad as its parents

    Two species of invasive tumbleweeds hybridized into a third. A new study finds it probably will be invasive, too.

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  9. illustration of the anatomy of a whale head
    Animals

    A sperm whale’s head is built for ramming

    Computer simulations of a sperm whale’s head show that an organ called the junk may help protect the brain when ramming other whales — or ships.

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  10. nestlings begging for food
    Animals

    Mama birds pay attention to more than chicks’ begging

    Whether a mama bird decides to feed her offspring depends on more than just who begs most — her environment is a big factor, a new study finds.

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  11. two clownfish nested in an anemone
    Animals

    In the Coral Triangle, clownfish figured out how to share

    In the Coral Triangle in Southeast Asia, an area of rich biodiversity, clownfish species often share anemones, a new study finds.

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  12. spotted hyenas
    Animals

    Why some male hyenas leave and others are content to stay home

    Having access to enough females, and a mom to help, can keep a male hyena from leaving his clan.

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