In deciding on a cover image for this issue, the Science News team had a difficult choice to make: Do we print a picture of a tick that reminds readers how much we all despise these critters? Or, do we go with a closeup view that masks ticks’ revolting character and makes you wonder: “Ooh. What’s that?” We chose to highlight hostilities to match the story headline, “Bulletins from the tick...
Letters to the Editor
Suck it up08/09/2017 - 11:31 Animals, Neuroscience, Physics
Tubelip wrasses’ slimy lips help the fish suck up dinner from coral reefs, Helen Thompson reported in “The better to eat you with, my dear” (SN: 7/8/17 & 7/22/17, p. 44).
“How do wrasses ‘suck’ if they have no lungs?” asked reader John Coventry.
Suction-feeding fish let their mouths do all the work, says marine biologist David Bellwood. “In just the same way that we...
Thanks, Holly Gaff. Soon, anyone straining to tweeze off a mid-back tick can find answers to the obvious question: What if humankind just went after the little bloodsuckers with killer robots?
Gaff, who calls herself a mathematical ecoepidemiologist, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., is one of the few people collecting real field data on the efficacy of tick-slaying robots....
A round belly, stubby feet and a tapering tail made one armored reptile a lousy swimmer. Despite earlier reports, Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi might not have swum at all, scientists now say.
E. dalsassoi was first identified in 2003. Fossils were found near Monte San Giorgio at the Swiss-Italian border alongside the remains of marine reptiles and fish that lived roughly 240 million years...
A string of state-directed, targeted mass killings left a bloody stain on the 20th century. A genocide more recent than the Holocaust is providing new insights into why some people join in such atrocities.
Adolf Hitler’s many accomplices in his campaign to exterminate Jews throughout Europe have justifiably attracted the attention of historians and social scientists. But a 100-day spasm...
Some deep-sea tube worms get long in the tooth ... er, tube. Living several decades longer than its shallow-water relatives, Escarpia laminata has the longest known life span for a tube worm, aging beyond 300 years, researchers report in the August Science of Nature.
E. laminata lives 1,000 to 3,300 meters deep in the Gulf of Mexico, near seafloor vents that seep energy-rich compounds...
A strange property of spider silk helps explain how the arachnids avoid twirling wildly at the end of their ropes.
Researchers from China and England harvested silk from two species of golden orb weaver spiders, Nephila edulis and Nephila pilipes, and tested it with a torsion pendulum. The device has a hanging weight that rotates clockwise or counterclockwise, twisting whatever fiber it...
View the trailer
A species gets only one chance to explore its solar system for the first time.
For humans, that chance began 40 years ago this month, when the twin Voyager spacecraft embarked on their “grand tour” of the solar system. A new PBS documentary airing on August 23, The Farthest: Voyager in Space, chronicles their journey to send home the first close-ups of the giant...
The Science Life
Rowa Mohammed Assayaghi teaches people how to wash their hands. In Yemen, that’s life-saving work.
The Middle Eastern country is facing the world’s largest cholera outbreak, with nearly 409,000 suspected cases and 1,885 deaths from late April to late July, the World Health Organization reports. That tally is higher than 2015’s worldwide reported cholera deaths. A bacterial infection...
News in Brief
The first evidence for an exomoon — a moon orbiting a planet orbiting a distant star — may have been spotted in data from the Kepler space telescope. But surprisingly, exomoons in general may be rare, at least around planets close to their stars.
Alex Teachey and David Kipping of Columbia University analyzed the dips in light from exoplanets passing, or transiting, in front of their...