Ecology & Zoology

Bowhead whales can live to be over 200 years and show little evidence of the age-related disease that are apparent in humans in our senior years.

There may soon by answers why, thanks to a complete bowhead whale genome and identify key differences compared to other mammals. Alterations in bowhead genes related to cell division, DNA repair, cancer, and aging may have helped increase its longevity and cancer resistance. 


In 2006,  Dr. J. E. McPherson, professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University, was working with colleagues on a key to the nymphs of three midwestern species of assassin bug in the genus Sinea (i.e., S. complexa, S. diadema, and S. spinipes).

To test their key for accuracy, they asked several others to check it by comparing it with insects in their collections or laboratories.

All of them found the key to be satisfactory, except for one - Dr. Scott Bundy from New Mexico State University, who found discrepancies in specimens that had been collected in New Mexico and identified as S. complexa.


A new species of frog,
Limnonectes larvaepartus, from the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, does what no other frog does: It gives birth to live tadpoles instead of laying eggs.

A member of the Asian group of fanged frogs, the new species was discovered a few decades ago by Indonesian researcher Djoko Iskandar and was thought to give direct birth to tadpoles, but the frog's mating and an actual birth had never been observed before. 


A pleasant or disgusting odor is not always just a preference, in some cases an organism's survival depends on it.

Odors can provide important information about food sources, oviposition sites or suitable mates and can also be signs of lethal hazards.  


There is a disease killing honeybee populations around the world but you won't be surprised to find that environmental groups never mention it.

It's called American foulbrood disease and it doesn't get much attention because groups can't use it in fundraising campaigns due to it being completely natural. Science is setting out to cure it just the same, and researchers have found a toxin released by the pathogen that causes American foulbrood disease -- Paenibacillus larvae (P. larvae) -- and developed a lead-based inhibitor against it.


10 percent of the world's ants are close relatives, belong to just one genus out of 323. That genus is  called Pheidole. Pheidole fill niches in ecosystems ranging from rainforests to deserts.  


Cockroaches are most often though of as infecting human homes but a new species and a new subspecies discovered in China prefer to live a hermit life, drilling logs far away from crowds and houses. 



Butterflies aren't the only ones with snazzy stripes. Ben Sale, CC BY

By Callum Macgregor, University of Hull

Ask people to describe what they associate with butterflies, and you will probably get an image of a sunny summer’s day, with a beautiful peacock drifting gently on the cooling breeze.

A carnivorous plant is a delight for people because everyone knows plant don't catch and eat animals - except some do. Like us, they need animals for nutrition.

Do carnivorous plants also sometimes shake off nature and become vegetarians? 

It seems so. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, eats little animals but also mixes it up by consuming algae and pollen grains in aquatic habitats where prey animals are rare, and that leads to increased evolutionary fitness if the animals and algae are caught in a well-balanced diet. 



How many kangaroos is too many? David Jenkins/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

By Brett Howland, Australian National University; David Lindenmayer, Australian National University, and Iain Gordon, James Hutton Institute