Taxonomy term

insect

Neonicotinoids: Prominent pesticides escape into the environment

Three decades after neonicotinoids, a widely used class of pesticides, were first introduced, a far more complex understanding of their distribution, abundance and persistence in the environment — as well as their effects on nontarget species like bees — is emerging. 
14 Apr 2017

To find a mate, go big or go small, just don't go medium

The showy features of male animals are often advantageous for attracting mates. Yet these same traits can also prove harmful: A peacock’s long, many-eyed feathers — great for enticing females — can get in the way if a predator gives chase, and a red deer’s elaborate antlers can become stuck in branches, potentially trapping the animal. In a new study, researchers report that a distinctive bimodality in male ornamentation occurs in some species, suggesting that when it comes to successfully courting females, it pays for males to either have the flashiest, most elaborate ornaments, or no such parts at all.

06 Apr 2017

Ants developed farming millions of years ago

A new study in Nature suggests that ants may have invented agriculture as much as 3 million years before humans.

20 Feb 2017

Busy as a bee: New species of bee quarries into sandstone

Researchers have discovered five nesting sites of a new species of bee (Anthophora pueblo) that prefers to make its home in sandstone. The newly discovered nests are located in natural formations as well as Ancestral Puebloan sandstone cliff dwellings in the southwestern U.S.

12 Jan 2017

Ant bodies shaped by environment

Ants are ectotherms, which means their metabolisms are controlled by the temperature of their environment. New research shows that the environment also influences their color and size.

30 Dec 2016

Cretaceous amber suggests societal behavior in insects is at least 100 million years old

Many insects are social animals. Some, including ants, form colonies with complex social hierarchies, wherein specific roles like reproduction and colony construction are assigned to specific groups of ants, like queens or workers, for example. This kind of sociality, known as eusociality, is found in many other insects, like beetles, honeybees and termites. When it evolved, however, has remained unclear. Until now, the earliest evidence of eusociality came from 20-million-year-old fossils, even though the insect lineages were known to be much older. But two new fossil discoveries have pushed the first known appearance of eusociality back by 80 million years.

04 Jul 2016

Underground ants can't take the heat

Army ants, which move in swarms and show their prey little mercy, are some of the most ferocious insects in the animal kingdom, but a recent study reveals a weakness in some underground species: warm temperatures.

24 Mar 2016

Bark beetles not to blame for big fires?

Since the mid-1990s, outbreaks of voracious bark beetles have devastated more than 71,000 square kilometers of forests in the Rocky Mountain West. Contrary to popular belief, however, the huge swaths of standing dead trees left behind don’t necessarily pose an increased fire hazard, according to a new study. The finding calls into question the efficacy of recently enacted policies entailing the thinning of beetle-killed forests.
 
08 Aug 2015

Crumbly amber holds dinosaur secrets

In the movie “Jurassic Park,” dinosaurs were resurrected from DNA in blood harvested from Mesozoic mosquitoes preserved in amber. The plot was pure science fiction, but a new study has found another use for the biological material trapped in fossilized tree resin. By studying microscopic inclusions of plant material, pollen and feathers preserved in bits of amber recovered alongside dinosaur fossils, paleontologist Ryan McKellar of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada is recreating a more complete picture of the Mesozoic landscape.

 
12 Feb 2015