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Researchers recently studied the reaction of aphids when a parasitic wasp with genetic variation laid eggs in them and found that different genotypes of the wasp affected where the aphids went to die, including whether they left the plant host entirely. The team also found an example of the emergence of a shared phenotype that was partly wasp and partly aphid.

A traditional Balkan bedbug remedy has been shown stab and trap the biting insects, according to a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Just in time, too. Bedbugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S. in recent years, infesting everything from homes and hotels to schools, movie theaters and hospitals. Although not known to transmit disease, their bites can cause burning, itching, swelling and psychological distress. It helps to catch infestations early, but the nocturnal parasites' ability to hide almost anywhere, breed rapidly and "hitchhike" from place to place makes detection difficult. They can survive as long as a year without a blood meal.

Male and female birds often show differences in body size, with males typically being larger. Some birds, like many ratites – large, flightless species such as emus and cassowaries – are the opposite, with the females towering over the males. 

But some extinct ratites, among the largest female birds in the world, were almost twice as big as their male mates. A new paper says that the size difference in giant moa was not due to any specific environmental factors but instead evolved as a result of scaling-up of smaller differences in male and female body size shown by their smaller-bodied ancestors.

New research has questioned the reliability of neuroscience studies, concluding that most had an average power of around 20 percent – a finding which means the chance of the average study discovering the effect being investigated is only one in five. 

The conclusions neuroscience papers drew could be wrong due to small sample sizes, the authors say.

Many factors can push a wild animal population to the brink of collapse and ecologists have long sought ways to measure the risk of such a collapse.

Last year, MIT physicists demonstrated that they could numerically predict a population's risk of collapse by monitoring how fast it recovers from small disturbances, such as a food shortage or overcrowding. However, this strategy would likely require many years of data collection.

The same research team writing in Nature now describes a new way to predict the risk of collapse, based on variations in population density in neighboring regions. Such information is easier to obtain than data on population fluctuations over time, making it potentially more useful, according to the researchers.

Violent crime is undercounted or overcounted, depending on who you ask. Some statistics count gun violence twice, for example, as a criminal getting shot and a police officer doing the shooting.

On the other side, in a paper published in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Wayne State University Ph.D. student Zavin Nazaretian and David M. Merolla, assistant professor of sociology, say that "capping" — which only allows survey respondents to represent a maximum of three incidents per crime type regardless of how many incidents they report — is undercounting violent crime by 87 percent and household crime by 36 percent.