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...
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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...
The cradle of vertebrate evolution was limited to a zone of shallow coastal waters, no more than 60 meters deep.
In those waters, fish — the first vertebrates — appeared roughly 480 million years ago, a study finds. For nearly 100 million years, those creatures rarely strayed from that habitat, where they diversified into a dizzying array of new forms, scientists report in the Oct. 26...
Studying the diet of snakes isn’t easy. The animals are elusive, and they don’t feed all that often. It probably doesn’t help that some of them can be deadly to humans. So perhaps it’s not much of a surprise that scientists hadn’t realized how common one category of snack is for southern African cobras: each other. But once researchers started looking, they realized that cannibalism among...
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ALBUQUERQUE — Tyrannosaurus rex had a special way of crunching bones.
A lethal combination of a powerful bite, strong teeth and repeated crunching allowed these giant predators to pulverize the bones of their prey, researchers reported October 20 at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting.
Bones have a nutritious inner cavity containing marrow and phosphate salts....
Growing up inside a dead mouse could really stink, but not for some burying beetles. Their parents’ gut microbes keep the cadaver fresh, creating a nursery where the larvae can thrive.
What burying beetle parents can do with a small dead animal is remarkable, says coauthor Shantanu Shukla of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. “It looks different. It smells...
Flying forward is hard enough, but flying nowhere, just hovering, is so much harder. Most bats and birds can manage the feat for only a few frantic seconds.
Hovering means losing a useful aerodynamic shortcut, says aerospace engineer and biologist David Lentink of Stanford University. As a bat or bird flies forward, its body movement sends air flowing around the wings and providing some...
To help self-driving cars drive safely, scientists are looking to an unlikely place: the sea.
A new type of camera inspired by the eyes of mantis shrimps could help autonomous vehicles better gauge their surroundings, researchers report October 11 in Optica. The camera — which detects polarized light, or light waves vibrating on a single plane — has roughly half a million sensors that...
A new microscope is giving researchers an unprecedented view of how mammals are built, cell by cell.
Light sheet microscopes use ultrathin laser beams to illuminate sections of a specimen while cameras record those lit-up sections. Previous iterations of the device have captured detailed portraits of living zebra fish and fruit fly embryos as they develop. Kate McDole, a developmental...
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When the 2017 Great American Eclipse hit totality and the sky went dark, bees noticed.
Microphones in flower patches at 11 sites in the path of the eclipse picked up the buzzing sounds of bees flying among blooms before and after totality. But those sounds were noticeably absent during the full solar blackout, a new study finds.
Dimming light and some summer cooling during the...