Insects

1:02am

Tue June 5, 2012
Animals

Splish Splat? Why Raindrops Don't Kill Mosquitoes

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 6:53 am

When a raindrop hits a mosquito, the mosquito and drop join together, and the mosquito rides the drop for about a thousandth of a second before its wings, which act like kites, pull it out of the water.
CDC Public Health Image Library

Imagine how tough life would be if raindrops weighed 3 tons apiece as they fell out of the sky at 20 mph. That's how raindrops look to a mosquito, yet a raindrop weighing 50 times more than one can hit the insect and the mosquito will survive.

How?

Put yourself in a mosquito's shoes — or rain boots — for a moment and step outside into a downpour of seemingly gigantic raindrops.

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4:04am

Sun May 6, 2012
Animals

The Dinosaurs' Nemeses: Giant, Jurassic Fleas

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 9:38 am

An illustration of the Chinese Jurassic "pseudo-flea," which lived in the Middle Jurassic in northeastern China.
Wang Cheng Current Biology

Fossil-hunting scientists are coming to grips with a new discovery that could change forever how we think of dinosaurs. What they've found is that dinosaurs may well have been tortured by large, flealike bloodsucking insects.

Yes, it appears that the greatest predators that ever roamed Earth suffered just as we mammals did — and as we still do. Fleas were thought to have evolved along with mammals — they like our soft skins and a diet of warm blood.

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5:27pm

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

'Zombie' Ants And The Fungus That Saves Them

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 5:59 pm

A zombie ant with the brain-manipulating fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.) having been castrated by an hyperparasite fungus (white with yellow material).
David Hughes Penn State University

As you can probably tell, at least one person on this blog's masthead likes ants.

So we've always been bummed that we haven't had the opportunity to tell you about zombie ants, but today we are glad to report there is a new development in the field. Luckily, it's a good-news report about a fungus that limits the fungus that turns ants into zombies.

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6:14am

Wed May 2, 2012

1:18pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Miller Moth Migration

It's Miller Time! Moths Driving Colorado Buggy

Daniel Johnson Creative Commons/Flickr

The mild winter has brought the much-reviled miller moths back to the Front Range earlier than usual. The six- to eight-week annual migration typically doesn’t begin until well into May – but the population has exploded because of the hot, dry spring this year.

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