Some moths aren’t so easy for bats to detect.
The cabbage tree emperor moth has wings with tiny scales that absorb sound waves sent out by bats searching for food. That absorption reduces the echoes that bounce back to bats, allowing Bunaea alcinoe to avoid being so noticeable to the nocturnal predators, researchers report online November 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of...
Climate change may be flipping good Arctic neighborhoods into killing fields for baby birds.
Every year, shorebirds migrate thousands of kilometers from their southern winter refuges to reach Arctic breeding grounds. But what was once a safer region for birds that nest on the ground now has higher risks from predators than nesting in the tropics, says Vojtěch Kubelka, an evolutionary...
Sea otters restocked in old home
When the [Atomic Energy Commission] first cast its eye on the island of Amchitka as a possible site for the testing of underground nuclear explosions, howls of anguish went up; the island is part of the Aleutians National Wildlife Refuge, created to preserve the colonies of nesting birds and some 2,500 sea otters that live there…— Science News, ...
Reviews & Previews
End of the MegafaunaRoss D.E. MacPhee and Peter Schouten (illustrator)W.W. Norton & Co., $35
Today’s land animals are a bunch of runts compared with creatures from the not-too-distant past. Beasts as big as elephants, gorillas and bears were once much more common around the world. Then, seemingly suddenly, hundreds of big species, including the woolly mammoth, the giant ground...
Vinita Surukan knew the mosquitoes were trouble. They attacked her in swarms, biting through her clothes as she worked to collect rubber tree sap near her village in Sabah, the northern state of Malaysia. The 30-year-old woman described the situation as nearly unbearable. But she needed the job.
There were few alternatives in her village surrounded by fragments of forest reserves and...
Real-life fights against zombie-makers offer plenty of tips for avoiding undeath. Just ask cockroaches, targets of the emerald jewel wasp.
The female wasps (Ampulex compressa) specialize in attacking the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana). If a wasp succeeds, she leads away an unprotesting roach like a dog on a leash just by tugging at a roach antenna. Then she lays an egg on the...
The Science Life
How much salmon would scientists sling if scientists could sling salmon? For one research team, the question isn’t hypothetical, and the answer is … tons.
During 20 years of monitoring salmon populations in one southwest Alaskan stream, ecologists have found and flung a total 267,620 kilograms of dead fish into the forest. Those rotting carcasses leached enough nutrients to speed up tree...
Reviews & Previews
Never Home AloneRob DunnBasic Books, $28
As I write this in my basement office, a sticky trap lies beneath my desk catching whatever insects wander by. Its current haul is pretty typical: a cricket, a spider and some small flies. But as Rob Dunn writes in his intriguing new book, Never Home Alone, I’m missing a lot if I think that’s all that lurks beneath my slippers.
These predatory worms have figured out meal delivery. Called entomopathogenic (for insect-killing) nematodes, they infect and feed on an insect, then multiply within its carcass. While feeding, the nematodes produce smells that attract their next insect feast, reports a study published October 13 at bioRxiv.org.
Farmers worldwide use this nematode to control insect pests, such as the...
News in Brief
For the first time, researchers have quick-frozen coral larvae and then — the tough part — safely thawed them.
Swathing larvae in specks of gold and then heating them with a laser warmed the frozen coral babies in milliseconds. Thawed this way, 43 percent of 2-day-old test larvae recovered well enough to start swimming again, physiologist and cryobiologist Mary Hagedorn and her...