Ecology & Zoology

Locusts decide the most nutritious plant to eat based on ambient temperature - they choose their food and then where they digest it according to how hot it is.  


Many humans can't remember what they had for dinner last night. Nor can many other creatures. Some have exceptionally short memories. Defying popular convention, a new study finds that fish, believed to have a memory span of only 30 seconds, can actually remember context and associations up to twelve days later. 


It's commonly believed that plant growth can be influenced by sound and that plants respond to wind and touch.

Researchers at the University of Missouri took it a step farther than playing classical music for  ivy. They conducted a chemical and audio analysis and determined that plants respond to the sounds that caterpillars make when eating plants and that the plants respond with more defenses.


Cave beetles are one of the most iconic species found in subterranean habitats. They were historically the first living organisms described by science that are adapted to the conditions of hypogean - subterranean - life.

Now, the unusual habitat of the Krubera cave, 2,140 meters deep. in the Western Caucasus has revealed a new species of beetle, named Duvalius abyssimus. Ana Sofía Reboleira, researcher from the Universities of Aveiro and La Laguna, and Vicente M. Ortuño, from the University of Alcalá, named it in Zootaxa


A small, drab and highly inconspicuous moth has been flitting nameless about its special niche among the middle elevations of one of the world's oldest mountain ranges, the southern Appalachian Mountains in North America. A team of American scientists has now identified this new to science species as Cherokeea attakullakulla.

It was frequenting these haunts for tens of millions of years before the first humans set foot on this continent, all the while not caring in the least that it had no name or particular significance, but it will probably still get listed as endangered. 


Due to the president making bee colonies a national priority, there is a lot of talk from environmentalists about banning neonicotinoid pesticides but they may be blaming out of convenience rather than evidence. 

Car and truck exhaust fumes can be bad for humans and for pollinators too. In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, University of Washington and University of Arizona researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers.


Cloudina were tiny, filter-feeding creatures that lived on the seabed during the Ediacaran Period, which ended 541 million years ago. Fossil evidence indicates that animals had soft bodies until the emergence of Cloudina. Now they are involved in a new study which sheds light on how one of Earth's oldest reefs was formed.  

Researchers have discovered that one of these reefs – now located on dry land in Namibia – was built almost 550 million years ago, by these first animals to have hard shells. Scientists say it was at this point that tiny aquatic creatures developed the ability to construct hard protective coats and build reefs to shelter and protect them in an increasingly dangerous world.  


A new paper in Science identifies the regulatory molecules involved in the genetic and developmental pathways that electric fish have used to convert a simple muscle into an organ capable of generating a potent electrical field.

The work establishes the genetic basis for the electric organ, an anatomical feature found only in fish.

The most shocking part to non-biologists? It evolved independently half a dozen times in environments ranging from the flooded forests of the Amazon to murky marine environments.


For people from eastern states like New York or Boston, California is a dream. People feel like they could just take over and declare themselves King and no one would try to stop them because it would hurt their feelings. It's like Canada, except the women are all in Daisy Duke shorts and bikini tops.

But that passive demeanor isn't good when nature wants to kill you. And she does. Watersnakes, commonly seen in the lakes, rivers and streams of the eastern United States, are invading California waterways and may wipe out native species, according to a new study. 


Field surveys are so 20th century. Satellites are the wave of the future when studying remote penguin populations. Like with space travel, we may someday wonder why we wouldn't send robots or satellites to do a man's work.