Insects

1:22pm

Sun July 14, 2013
Author Interviews

Racing Hearts, Fluttering Wings: American 'Butterfly People'

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 4:54 pm

During the mid-19th century, an unexpected craze swept America: butterfly collecting. Eager to move on from the Civil War and driven by Europe's long-standing fascination with the insect, the movement captured the interest of Americans from all ages and walks of life.

In an extensive book, Butterfly People: An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World, William Leach documents this butterfly phenomenon — from its founders and followers, to its eventual fall.

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12:48pm

Fri July 12, 2013
The Two-Way

5 Stars: A Mosquito's Idea Of A Delicious Human

Many criteria — from blood type to body temperature — can play a role in affecting who attracts mosquitoes.
abadonian iStockphoto.com

If mosquitoes used Yelp, they might look for their next meal by searching nearby for a heavy-breathing human with Type O blood, sporting a red shirt and more than a smattering of skin bacteria. Preferably either pregnant or holding a beer.

That's some of what we take away from a post today on the Surprising Science blog from the Smithsonian.

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1:43am

Tue July 9, 2013
Games & Humor

A Zombie Horror Game, Inspired By ... A Nature Documentary?

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 9:20 am

In The Last of Us, a fungus called Cordyceps that commonly infects insects has jumped over to humans, creating a fungal zombie apocalypse.
Naughty Dog

The Last of Us is a new survival horror video game and it features — no big surprise — zombie-like creatures. But these are not the same old zombies that have dominated movie and TV screens in the past few years.

Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, says he wanted a fresh new way to wipe out humanity — and he found it in a BBC documentary series called Planet Earth, which depicts the scary effects of the Cordyceps fungus.

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1:39am

Tue July 9, 2013
The Salt

As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 12:56 pm

Crop consultant Dan Steiner inspects a field of corn near Norfolk, Neb.
Dan Charles NPR

Across the Midwestern corn belt, a familiar battle has resumed, hidden in the soil. On one side are tiny, white larvae of the corn rootworm. On the other side are farmers and the insect-killing arsenal of modern agriculture.

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6:00pm

Wed June 26, 2013
Science

New Bugs In Florida Stymie Researchers, Threaten Crops

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:34 am

The psyllid, discovered eight years ago in Florida citrus groves, has been problematic for researchers and farmers alike.
University of California, Davis AP

With its pleasant climate, Florida has become home to more exotic and invasive species of plants and animals than any other state in the continental U.S. Some invasive species have been brought in deliberately, such as the Burmese python or the Cuban brown snail. But the majority of species are imported inadvertently as cargo.

Amanda Hodges, who heads the biosecurity research lab at the University of Florida, says that until recently, scientists saw about a dozen new bugs arrive in Florida each year.

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