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E.g., 11/23/2017
E.g., 11/23/2017
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  • For Daily Use

    Step away from the cookie dough. E. coli outbreaks traced to raw flour

    Eggs, long condemned for making raw cookie dough a forbidden pleasure, can stop taking all the blame. There’s another reason to resist the sweet uncooked temptation: flour.

    The seemingly innocuous pantry staple can harbor strains of E. coli bacteria that make people sick. And, while not a particularly common source of foodborne illness, flour has been implicated in two E. coli outbreaks...

    11/22/2017 - 17:00 Health, Microbes
  • News

    Seeds coated in a common pesticide might affect birds’ migration

    MINNEAPOLIS — Pesticides that kill insects can also have short-term effects on seed-eating birds. Ingesting even small amounts of imidacloprid, a common neonicotinoid pesticide, can disorient migratory white-crowned sparrows, researchers report.

    Neonicotinoid pesticides were designed to be safer than traditional pesticides: toxic to insects, but comparatively harmless to other animals....

    11/22/2017 - 10:30 Animals, Pollution
  • News

    The dietary habits of the emerald ash borer beetle are complicated

    DENVER — An invasive beetle has unexpected — and potentially troublesome — tastes in trees. Now two new studies are clarifying the insects’ dining habits, researchers reported at the annual Entomological Society of America meeting.

    Metallic-green Asian beetles called emerald ash borers (Agrilus planipennis) have devastated wide swaths of forest in North America. For years, researchers...

    11/21/2017 - 11:00 Plants, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Even a tiny oil spill spells bad news for birds

    MINNEAPOLIS — Birds don’t need to be drenched in crude oil to be harmed by spills and leaks.

    Ingesting even small amounts of oil can interfere with the animals’ normal behavior, researchers reported November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America. Birds can take in these smaller doses by preening slightly greasy feathers or eating...

    11/21/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Pollution
  • News in Brief

    The key to breaking down plastic may be in caterpillars’ guts

    MINNEAPOLIS — To destroy plastic, caterpillars go with their gut bacteria.

    Caterpillars that nibble through polyethylene plastic cultivate a diverse community of digestive bacteria that process the plastic, researchers reported November 13 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America. Dousing old plastic in a similar mix of bacteria might...

    11/17/2017 - 13:12 Animals, Pollution
  • Science Visualized

    Fluorescence could help diagnose sick corals

    Sickness makes some corals lose their glow.

    Disease reduces a coral’s overall fluorescence even before any sign of the infection is visible to the naked eye, a new study finds. An imaging technique that illuminates the change could help with efforts to better monitor coral health, researchers report November 6 in Scientific Reports.

    Many corals naturally produce fluorescent...

    11/17/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Technology, Conservation
  • News

    Current CRISPR gene drives are too strong for outdoor use, studies warn

    Gene-editing tools heralded as hope for fighting invader rats, malarial mosquitoes and other scourges may be too powerful to use in their current form, two new papers warn.

    Standard forms of CRISPR gene drives, as the tools are called, can make tweaked DNA race through a population so easily that a small number of stray animals or plants could spread it to new territory, predicts a...

    11/16/2017 - 15:00 Genetics, Conservation
  • Wild Things

    Coconut crabs are a bird’s worst nightmare

    Imagine you’re a red-footed booby napping on a not-quite-high-enough branch of a tree. It’s nighttime on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and you can’t see much of what’s around you. Then, out of the darkness comes a monster. Its claw grabs you, breaking bones and dragging you to the ground. You don’t realize it yet, but you’re doomed. The creature breaks more of your bones. You...

    11/15/2017 - 07:00 Animals
  • News

    These spiders may have the world’s fastest body clocks

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — If it takes you a while to recover from a few lost hours of sleep, be grateful you aren’t an orb weaver. 

    Three orb-weaving spiders — Allocyclosa bifurca, Cyclosa turbinata and Gasteracantha cancriformis — may have the shortest natural circadian rhythms discovered in an animal thus far, researchers reported November 12 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting...

    11/14/2017 - 16:00 Animals, Evolution, Development
  • Introducing

    The Lord Howe stick insect is officially back from the dead

    It’s a rare triumph when a species comes back from the dead. A new genetic analysis has officially established what many entomologists and conservation biologists hoped was true: The Lord Howe stick insect (Dryococelus australis) lives.

    Nicknamed “tree lobsters,” the dark-brown crawlers are nocturnal, flightless creatures that can grow up to 15 centimeters long. They feed on tea trees,...

    11/13/2017 - 12:30 Animals, Conservation, Evolution