Gooyera orchids

Orchid Species Blurred Without Bumblebees

An orchid named Goodyera henryi is found in mainland Japan where it is exclusively pollinated by bumblebees, which have long tongues and reach deep into the flowers.  Researchers from Kobe University were surprised to find this orchid on Kozu Island a remote island where there are no bumblebees. Another orchid named Goodyera similis lives on […]

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Cicada

Cicada Wings Clean Up Bacteria. 

Cicada and dragonfly wings are known to have a surface layer that kills bacteria by tearing them apart and then removing the dead bacteria.  Getting rid of dead bacteria is an important property as it prevents other bacteria from colonising the surface and feeding on the debris of the shredded bacteria.  It was thought that […]

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Katydid

Fossil Insect Blows Scientist Away.

Scientists at the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, have studied an extremely well preserved fossil insect found in the Green River Formation in Colorado, a rock layer consisting of many layers of fine grained shales, dated as 50 million years old.  The fossil is a katydid – an insect with long slender legs […]

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Butterfly Wing Pattern

Butterfly Wing Patterns from “Junk” DNA

A century ago biologists suggested that butterfly wing patterns were formed from variations in a basic ground plan that was somehow manipulated to produce the distinct patterns in different butterfly species. Scientists at Cornell University and The George Washington University have now carried out a study that “explains how DNA that sits between genes – […]

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White Egret Orchid

Fascinating Fertility Fringe for Orchid

A beautiful white orchid known as the white egret orchid Habenaria radiata has distinctive petals with long fringes on each side of the flower.  These were thought to simply act as visual signals to attract their main pollinators, two species of nocturnal hawkmoths.  Scientists in Japan have studied the interaction between moths and orchids and […]

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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, […]

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Trigona bee

Vulture Bees Lost and Gained Microbes

Almost all bees get their nutrients from flowers. Pollen provides protein and nectar provides carbohydrates. A group of scientists have found three closely related bees of the genus Trigona that feed off dead flesh, rather than flowers. These “vulture bees” get their protein by chewing pieces of flesh from dead animals and gain additional carbohydrates […]

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Clearwing Butterfly

All Revealed in See-Through Butterflies

All revealed in see through butterflies in SciTech Daily 17 June 2021, Science (AAAS) News 21 June 2021 and Journal of Experimental Biology 28 May 2021, doi:10.1242/jeb.237917. Clearwing, or glass wing butterflies have large transparent regions in their wings that are distinct from other transparent insect wings in that they are also very non-reflective, with […]

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Verroa Mites on Bee

Scientists “Evolve a Fungus” to Kill More Mites

Scientists “evolve a fungus” claims Science (AAAS) News 4 June 2021, and Scientific Reports 19 May 2021 doi:10.1038/s41598-021-89811-2. Researchers looking for a method of biological control of the Verroa mite, which has devastated honeybee colonies, have found a fungus that attacks and kills the mites. However, the fungus grows poorly in the warm temperatures of […]

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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 […]

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