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  • News

    How worm blobs behave like a liquid and a solid

    TAMPA, Fla. — Blobs of worms flow like a fluid, plop like a solid and fascinate scientists.

    A worm by itself is as solid as any other living animal. But a mass of aquatic California blackworms tangled together flows through a tube like a liquid. Pouring, heating and otherwise playing with blobs of worms shows that a tangled mass of them has properties of both fluids and solids, Saad...

    01/11/2019 - 13:11 Animals, Biophysics
  • News

    Poison toilet paper reveals how termites help rainforests resist drought

    It took hundreds of teabags and thousands of rolls of toilet paper for tropical ecologist Kate Parr and her colleagues to demonstrate that termites help tropical rainforests resist drought. Forests with more termites show more soil moisture, leaf litter decomposition and seedling survival during a drought than forests with fewer termites, the scientists report January 10 in Science.

    The...

    01/10/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Ecosystems
  • 50 years ago, scientists studied orcas in the wild for the first time

    The astonishing capture [of seven orcas off British Columbia] has made possible the first scientific study of killer whales in their more or less natural environment…. There is little doubt that the animals have a sophisticated language with which they can communicate with each other, but practically nothing is known about the complexity of their speech. — Science News, January 18,...
    01/10/2019 - 08:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    A protein in mosquito eggshells could be the insects’ Achilles’ heel

    Mosquito researchers may have hatched a new plan to control the bloodsuckers: Break their eggshells.

    A protein called eggshell organizing factor 1, or EOF1, is necessary for some mosquito species’ eggs and embryos to develop properly, a new study finds. Genetically disrupting production of that protein in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes caused about 60 percent of their normally dark eggshells...

    01/08/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Genetics, Development
  • News

    Green darner dragonflies migrate a bit like monarch butterflies

    The monarch butterfly isn’t the only insect flying up and down North America in a mind-boggling annual migration. Tests show a big, shimmering dragonfly takes at least three generations to make one year’s migratory loop.

    Ecologist Michael Hallworth and his colleagues pieced together the migration of the common green darner, described December 19 in Biology Letters, using data on forms of...

    01/07/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Chemistry
  • Wild Things

    Poop provides a link in determining penguin diet from space

    The best way to find out what an Adélie penguin is eating is to catch it and make it regurgitate its meal. This is about as pleasant for bird and researcher as you might think. It’s also invasive, time-consuming and expensive to do on a large scale, so scientists need other ways to determine diet. Now they have one; it relies on images taken by Landsat satellites.

    The satellites don’t...

    01/02/2019 - 07:00 Animals
  • News

    Macaques take turns while chattering

    When polite people talk, they take turns speaking and adjust the timing of their responses on the fly. So do wild macaques, a team of Japanese ethologists reports.

    Analysis of 20-minute vocal exchanges involving 15 adult female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) revealed that the monkeys altered their conversational pauses depending on how quickly others answered, the researchers report...

    12/31/2018 - 11:10 Animals
  • Letters to the Editor

    These are the most-read Science News stories of 2018

    More than 11 million people visited the Science News website this year. Check out this recap of the most-read stories of 2018, and the most popular stories published this year on each of our blogs.

    Top 10 stories

    1. Male birth control pill passes a safety testMen who took a prototype once-daily contraceptive pill for about a month saw their testosterone and other reproductive hormones...

    12/28/2018 - 12:03 Astronomy, Animals, Anthropology
  • News

    Invasive asexual midges may upset Antarctica’s delicate moss banks

    Some of the scariest poop in Antarctica comes from an all-female invader species about the size of an ant. Researchers are now fretting about what the waste from these debris-eating midges may do to the continent’s once nutrient-sparse moss banks.

    The midge Eretmoptera murphyi, a kind of tiny fly that can’t actually fly, hitchhiked onto the Antarctic island of Signy probably sometime in...

    12/19/2018 - 15:51 Animals
  • Year in Review

    Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

    For the first time, humans have built a set of pushy, destructive genes that infiltrated small populations of mosquitoes and drove them to extinction.

    But before dancing sleeveless in the streets, let’s be clear. This extermination occurred in a lab in mosquito populations with less of the crazy genetic diversity that an extinction scheme would face in the wild. The new gene drive,...

    12/17/2018 - 08:26 Animals, Genetics, Health