From KQED Science:
Surface tension is the property of any liquid that describes how its particles stick together. In the case of water, surface tension is especially strong, enough to form a kind of film where it meets the air, whether at the surface or in a bubble...
If you’re a bug the size of a paperclip... surface tension makes a difference. Harnessing it, some aquatic beetles carry the oxygen they need underwater in the form of a temporary bubble, sort of like a natural scuba tank. Others encase themselves in a layer of air and draw oxygen from it their whole lives.
"Nature’s Scuba Divers: How Beetles Breathe Underwater" (Deep Look)
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UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology employ a colony of flesh-eating beetles to clean the meat off the bones of animals whose bones they want to preserve for posterity. (KQED's Deep Look)
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These ants circle an iPhone like it's the Ka'aba in Mecca. Read the rest
These amazing guys look like living snowflakes! Read the rest
"Pleezus more beezus," writes the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist. At his Los Angeles home, he's keeping three hives with 60,000 bees each. Read the rest
YouTuber Eric Nordrum
found a beautiful cecropia moth being attacked by a robin, then used online instructions to repair the moth's damaged wing
before releasing it. Read the rest
Straddling the odd line between science and nature, this amazing new procedural generator pays striking tribute to the dusty, incandescent bodies of moths.
A trailer loaded with millions of bees in 400 hives overturned in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho on Sunday. Read the rest
Reporter Katya Leick, 24, was accosted by cicadas while covering a story for KSNT. Read the rest
UK artist Julie Alice Chapell's Computer Component Bugs sculptures are iridescent, intricate assemblage sculptures made from ewaste.
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North Carolina State University researchers are wiring up Madagascar hissing roaches with remote-control steering, with a long-term goal to use roaches, moths, and other insects as data-gathering vehicles in inaccessible places like disaster sites. Read the rest
A University of Cambridge zoologist analyzed almost 400 videos of juvenile mantises jumping onto a pole for a March 5 study in the journal Current Biology. Malcolm Burrows concluded that the bugs spin their bodies to help them land on target.
The actual video from the study is soundless, but for my money, the footage from New Scientist (that linked above) benefits from its Blue Danube soundtrack. The music lends the sequences an air of a very classy insect pole dance.
"Watch a praying mantis perform acrobatic jumps" [New Scientist] Read the rest
Animator Jilli Rose created this lovely animated short about a group of stick insects stranded for 80 years near Lord Howe Island, on a sea stack with only one shrub for protection. It also tells the story of the scientists who discovered them and raced to save them from extinction. Read the rest
Spanish photographer Carlos Perez Naval, age 8, won the London Natural History Museum's Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 prize for this breathtaking photo of a yellow scorpion. From the photo description:
Carlos had found it basking on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones, northeast Spain – a place he often visits to look for reptiles. The late afternoon Sun was casting such a lovely glow over the scene that Carlos decided to experiment with a double exposure for the first time so he could include it. He started with the background, using a fast speed so as not to overexpose the Sun, and then shot the scorpion using a low flash. But he had to change lenses, using his zoom for the Sun, which is when the scorpion noticed the movement and raised its tail. Carlos then had to wait for it to settle before taking his close-up, with the last of the light illuminating its body.
Carlos Perez Naval's Retazos de Naturaleza
And see all the 2014 winning photos here. Read the rest
Danaus plexippus is in trouble. David Mizejewski raised one to demonstrate its life cycle, and explains what you can do to help them thrive
A small sample of the incredible macro photography of Yudy Sauw, who is based in Indonesia. You can buy prints, via Behance.
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Stanford biologist Deborah M. Gordon's animated explanation of an ant colony, "one of the most complex social organizations in the animal kingdom." Read the rest