Warm Flowers for Beetles

Happiness is a warm flower, if you’re a beetle, according to a report in Nature, vol. 426, p243, 20 November 2003. Roger Seymour of the University of Adelaide, Australia put temperature sensors in the flowers of a tree dwelling philodendron from French Guyana. He found that during the night the flowers generated heat and maintained […]

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Stress Protein Evolved Early

Stress protein evolved early according to a report in Science News 21 May 2005. The “fight or flight” response to stress in vertebrates (including humans) involves a hormone named corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and a protein named CRH binding protein. Mark Huising of Wageningen University and Gert Flick of Radboud University in the Netherlands, have found […]

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Spring Winged Aircraft

Spring winged aircraft described in ScienceNOW, 19 January 2005. Insects use two layers of muscle to flap their wings – as each layer contracts it stretches the other, which then contracts whilst the other layer relaxes and gets stretched ready for the next cycle. This process occurs too quickly to be controlled by nerve impulses, […]

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Spot Theory Spoiled

Spot theory spoiled, according to an article in Nature, vol 453, p 1146, 26 June 2008. Large spots on the wings of butterflies and moths are thought to have evolved to scare predators away. Researchers at Cambridge University tested this theory by placing models of moths in the oak and ash trees around Cambridge. Some […]

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Size Matters for Geckos and Flies

Size matters for geckos’ and flies’ glue pads, as described in New Scientist, 6 September 2003, p22. Geckos, flies and some spiders are able to walk upside down by using tiny flat pads on their feet called spatulae. The spatulae form temporary atomic bonds with what ever surface they are walking on. Biologists were puzzled […]

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Single Chemical Links Orchid and Wasp

Single chemical links orchid and wasp, as described in Science, vol. 302, p437, 17 October 2003. Some orchids are pollinated by male insects that try to mate with the flowers. This bizarre behaviour occurs because the flowers produce chemicals that are the same as chemicals emitted by female insects. Usually a mixture of common chemicals […]

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Secret of Cicada Sound

Secret of cicada sound revealed, according to reports in ScienceDaily 30 May 2013 and ScienceNOW 4 June 2013. Anyone who lives in a region where cicadas emerge en masse in early summer knows what an ear-splitting din they can make. A team of U.S. Naval researchers has been investigating how such a small creature can […]

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Science Copies Beetle Sprayer

Science copies beetle sprayer writes Thomas F. Heinze: “Remember the bombardier beetle, famous for firing hot toxic fluid at its enemies through a squirter in its bottom? Science News informs us that this beetle: “is inspiring designers of engines, drug-delivery devices and fire extinguishers to improve spray technologies. It could also provide a much more […]

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River Blindness End in Sight

River blindness end in sight, according to an article in ScienceNOW 21 July 2009. The number of people suffering a parasitic infection that causes blindness has dramatically decreased over the last 20 years due to effective treatments that kill the parasitic worms. People become infected with the worms when they are bitten by black flies. […]

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Lord Howe Lobsters Older Than Lord Howe

Lord Howe lobsters older than Lord Howe, according to an article in ScienceNOW 17 December 2008. In spite of its name the Lord Howe tree lobster (Dryococelus australis) lives on the ground, and is actually a thickset stick insect that looks like a cross between a grasshopper and a cockroach. It is the world’s rarest […]

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