No Blue Colour in Bluest Berries

The fruits of a shrub named Lantana strigocamara have a distinct blue colour with a metallic sheen.  Scientists at University of Colorado, Boulder, have studied these to find out where the blue colour comes from and found it is not from any blue pigment.  The berry-like fruits have a complex structure of lipid droplets in […]

Read More
Trilobites

Trilobite Eyes Inspire Bifocal Lenses

Researchers from China and the USA have studied the eyes of a trilobite named Dalmanitina socialis.  These creatures had ‘bifocal’ eyes consisting of two lenses that bent light at different angles, enabling them to see both close up and far away objects at the same time. The researchers were “inspired by the optical structure of […]

Read More
Tiny insects flying

How Featherwing Beetles Fly

Featherwing beetles are the world’s smallest beetles – less than 0.4mm long.  They are named featherwing because their wings consist of bristles rather than a solid sheet of tissue as in other flying insects.  The individual bristles have outgrowths giving them a brushlike appearance and their wings are folded under a pair of wing cases, […]

Read More
Socks

Keratin Socks It to Evolution

Keratin socks it to evolution, as our Tasmanian colleague Craig Hawkins exposes Australian sock producer Merino Threads, who proudly proclaims on its sock packaging that Keratin based merino wool is “Nature’s evolution tested renewable performance fibre”, that it will “outperform any synthetic fibre” and that “No synthetic fibre can match the complexity and performance of […]

Read More
Macadamia Nuts

Why Are Nuts Hard to Crack?

Why are nuts hard to crack? This question is answered in reports in Science (AAAS) News, 10 August 2021, Royal Society Open Science 11 August 2021, doi: 10.1098/rsos.210399 and Advanced Materials 20 October 2020, 10.1002/adma.202004519. Over the last few years Notburga Gierlinger, a biophysicist at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and colleagues […]

Read More

Sea Sponge Fluid Dynamics Revealed by Supercomputer

Sea sponge fluid dynamics revealed by supercomputer, as reported in Nature News and Views 21 July 2021, and Nature 21 July 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03658-1. Researchers in Italy have used one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world to study the way sea water flows through and around the sea sponge Euplectella which grows on […]

Read More
Pterosaur at Jurassic Ark

A Pterosaur Neck is Like a Bicycle

A pterosaur neck is like a bicycle reports Cell Press via SciTech Daily and ScienceDaily 14 April 2021, and iScience 14 April 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102338. Azhdarchid pterosaurs were the largest flying animals that ever lived, with a wingspan of up to 10 metres (33ft) and “ridiculously long necks” that could be longer than a giraffe […]

Read More

Hitchhiking Microbes Protect Plants and People

Hitchhiking microbes protect plants and people, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 22 March 2021, and The ISME Journal, 15 March 2021. Doi 10.1038/s41396-021-00952-8.  Soil dwelling bacteria known Streptomyces are known to colonise plant roots and protect plants from damage by other microbes by producing antibiotics.  Many of these antibiotics are also used in […]

Read More
Dragonfly Flying

Alive or dead, they are flipping good at it!

Alive or dead, they are flipping good at it! Dragonfly backflips described in articles in ScienceDaily 9 February 2021, Imperial College London news 10 February 2021, and PNAS 10 February 2021 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2676.  Dragonflies are noted for superb aerial manoeuvres, including flying backwards, but even the most agile flyer can be knocked off balance or […]

Read More
Butterfly

Efficient Butterfly Flight

Efficient butterfly flight reported in BBC News 20 January 2021, ScienceDaily 21 January 2021 and Journal of The Royal Society Interface 20 January 2021 doi: 10.1098/rsif.2020.0854. Two researchers at the Swedish Lund University have studied the fluttery flight of butterflies, which has traditionally been considered ungainly and inefficient.  Per Henningsson and Christoffer Johansson commented in […]

Read More