In the News: Leaping Labidocera!

from American Scientist
July-August 2012

When threatened by fish, some marine plankton leap through the air to safety. Researchers studied this previously undocumented behavior in two species of copepods (tiny crustaceans) that swim near the ocean’s surface. Although breaking the surface tension is a drag for such tiny animals, it pays off in low air resistance and long . . . → Read More: In the News: Leaping Labidocera!

In the News: Birth of the Little Ice Age

from American Scientist
May-June 2012

Scientists have been uncertain about the specific timing and causes of Europe’s Little Ice Age (LIA), a chilly period that started sometime during the Renaissance and lasted until the mid-19th century. To better document the LIA’s onset, researchers analyzed 94 samples of ancient moss, previously engulfed by ice caps and recently exposed by . . . → Read More: In the News: Birth of the Little Ice Age

A Fly’s Imperfect Disguise

from ScienceNOW Daily News
March 21, 2012
The fly on the left is a puzzle. In theory, it should have evolved to look just as wasplike as the one on the right, the better to ward off hungry birds. But many members of the family Syrphidae, to which both flies belong, only vaguely resemble stinging insects.

Read . . . → Read More: A Fly’s Imperfect Disguise

Why Butterflies Sleep Together

from ScienceNOW Daily News
March 20, 2012

When it’s time to settle in for the night, red postman butterflies (Heliconius erato) often roost in groups of four or five. To figure out why, researchers hung several thousand fake versions of the insects around the forest in Panama and Costa . . . → Read More: Why Butterflies Sleep Together

The Other Honey

from American Scientist
March-April 2012

In rural Ghana, stingless bees are well known as useful animals. Farmers raid natural hives to collect honey, which they use to treat ailments from eye infections to asthma. Many say the bees improve crop yields, and people refer to different species by their indigenous monikers. (The tifuie, for instance, is named after . . . → Read More: The Other Honey

In the News: Teaching, Not Technology

from American Scientist
March-April 2012

Population growth and devastating droughts have left thousands of Ethiopian pastoralists in poverty and hunger. But community groups that help people learn literacy, business skills and microfinance–rather than new technologies–made participants more resilient and hopeful even after a severe drought. Also in this issue’s news roundup: how humming birds flap, and a gas . . . → Read More: In the News: Teaching, Not Technology

3-D Vision for Tiny Eyes

from ScienceNOW Daily News
January 27, 2012

With their keen vision and deadly-accurate pounce, jumping spiders are the cats of the invertebrate world. For decades, scientists have puzzled over how the spiders’ miniature nervous systems manage such sophisticated perception and hunting behavior. A new study of Adanson’s jumping spider (Hasarius adansoni) fills in one key ingredient: an unusual . . . → Read More: 3-D Vision for Tiny Eyes

Could Climate Change Alter Lizard Learning?

from ScienceNOW Daily News
January 10, 2012

The temperature of a nest can affect a hatchling lizard’s size, speed, and sex. Now, the reptiles can add smarts to the list. Researchers have found that lizards incubated in warmer environments may learn faster than others. The results are preliminary, but they suggest that a hotter climate could give some . . . → Read More: Could Climate Change Alter Lizard Learning?

How a Fungus Boosts a Beetle’s Invasion

Microbial evolution helps explain why a mild-mannered American beetle has become a tree killer in Asia . . . → Read More: How a Fungus Boosts a Beetle’s Invasion

In the News: Olives, Herbs and Juniper

from American Scientist
January-February 2012

Ancient Greek trade ships shuttled millions of amphoras—ceramic, vase-shaped storage jars—around the Mediterranean and Black seas. The containers are generally thought to have carried wine, but a new DNA analysis of nine jars, aged 2,200 to 2,400 years, suggests the freight was more diverse. Also in this issue’s news roundup: the colors of . . . → Read More: In the News: Olives, Herbs and Juniper