After 60 years, man returns library book that clearly influenced his life


Larry Murdock just returned a library book that he checked out from the Linton, Indiana Public Library in 1956, when he was just 8 years old. The book is "Moths of the Limberlost." Murdock is now a Purdue University professor of entomology who specializes in the study of moths. He said the book turned up in a box.

"(Returning) it was the right thing to do," he said. "Maybe after all those years there are kids out there who might get some benefit" from the book.

Murdock paid a $436.44 fine.

(AP) Read the rest

Delicious Madagascar hissing cockroach cake


Artist and baker Katherine Dey made this creepy-as-hell but probably delicious cake that looks like a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Its innards oozes with Boston cream filling. Dey made a video how-to, below. Just make sure you clean up the crumbs or else the real roaches will come and then who knows what could happen if they realize what you just ate.

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Bees can sense a flower's electric field


New research shows that bees can recognize flowers by the plants' tiny electric field that differs between species. The electric field bends the tiny hairs on a bee's body, firing neurons located at the base of the hair. From the journal Science:

Such fields—which form from the imbalance of charge between the ground and the atmosphere—are unique to each species, based on the plant’s distance from the ground and shape. Flowers use them as an additional way to advertise themselves to pollinators...

Electric fields can only be sensed from a distance of 10 cm or so, so they’re not very useful for large animals like ourselves. But for small insects, this distance represents several body lengths, a relatively long distance.

"How bees sense a flower’s electric field" (Science)

"Mechanosensory hairs in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) detect weak electric fields" (PNAS)

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Among a Thousand Fireflies: children's book shows the sweet, alien love stories unfolding in our own backyards

Rick Lieder -- painter, illustrator, photographer, husband of the brilliant novelist/playwright Kathe Koja -- waits ever-so-patiently in his suburban Detroit back-yard with his camera, capturing candid, lively photos of bees, birds, bugs, and now, in a new book of photos with a beautiful accompanying poem by Helen Frost, fireflies.

Pasta made from insects selling well in France!


Atelier a Pates, a small artisanal pasta shop in Thiefosse, France, has a booming business in radiatori, fusilli, spaghetti and penne made from seven percent pulverized crickets and grasshoppers. From CTV News:

Four years on with the addition of insect flour to the mix, "it's working so well that we will soon be able to hire a second person," (proprietor Stephanie) Richard says, proud of her weekly production now at some 400 kilos (880 pounds).

And she does not plan to stop there: she is working on a new recipe using Maroilles cheese from northern France, and plans to start making stuffed pastas.

At a little over six euros ($6.60) for a 250 gramme (about half a pound) package, insect flour pastas are more expensive than standard kinds, but Richard notes that they can replace meat for vegetarians -- or for people who prefer crickets.

"People with iron or magnesium deficiencies will also eat these products," she says.

"French pasta-maker struggling to keep up with demand for insect noodles" (CTV News) Read the rest

Toy demands that kids catch crickets and stuff them into an electronic car


The Bug Racer is Mattel's $50 electronic "science" car toy that requires that you fill a sensor cavity with up to six crickets; the toy measures the crickets' movement in the cavity and uses them to guide the car's movements (though the car will reverse when it hits an obstacle, regardless of the crickets' movement). Read the rest

How beetles breathe under water

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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Watch these busy beetles devour delicious flesh


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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Watch ants weirdly circle an iPhone when it rings


These ants circle an iPhone like it's the Ka'aba in Mecca. Read the rest

Planthopper nymphs

These amazing guys look like living snowflakes! Read the rest

Flea loves bees


"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

WATCH: Emergency moth surgery

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

Procedurally-generated moths are wonderfully haunting, plausible

Straddling the odd line between science and nature, this amazing new procedural generator pays striking tribute to the dusty, incandescent bodies of moths.

Crashed truck releases millions of bees on highway


A trailer loaded with millions of bees in 400 hives overturned in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho on Sunday. Read the rest

Journalist displeases the insects

Reporter Katya Leick, 24, was accosted by cicadas while covering a story for KSNT. Read the rest

Iridescent insect sculptures from ewaste

UK artist Julie Alice Chapell's Computer Component Bugs sculptures are iridescent, intricate assemblage sculptures made from ewaste. Read the rest

WATCH: BioBots, remote-controlled iBionic insects


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

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