Flowery diets help predatory insects help farmers keep pests in check

Syrphids on Chamomile. Credit: University of Copenhagen – Faculty of Science Predatory insects have been shown to live longer when they have access to nectar and pollen, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. Thus, flowers don’t just benefit insects, they help farmers farm sustainably. Predatory insects are skilled pest […]

Amber-encased fossil shines light on evolution of bioluminescent insects

Artistic reconstruction of Cretophengodes azari male and female in the undergrowth of a Cretaceous rainforest. Credit: Dinghua Yang Trapped in amber for ~100 million years, an exceptionally well-preserved, light-producing beetle sheds light on the diversification of bioluminescent beetles in the Cretaceous period and provides the missing fossil link between fireflies’ living relatives. With over 3,500 […]

How insects activate muscles to adapt to limbs removed

IMAGE: Intact cricket walking (top) and walking after both middle leg amputation (bottom). The left panels show the patterns of leg movements. The right panels show muscle activation patterns. After leg… view more  Credit: Dai Owaki and Hitoshi Aonuma Adaptability explains why insects spread so widely and why they are the most abundant animal group on […]

Scientists decry death by 1,000 cuts for world’s insects

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The world’s vital insect kingdom is undergoing “death by a thousand cuts,” the world’s top bug experts said. Climate change, insecticides, herbicides, light pollution, invasive species and changes in agriculture and land use are causing Earth to lose probably 1% to 2% of its insects each year, said University of Connecticut […]

Charles Darwin was right about why insects are losing the ability to fly

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain Most insects can fly. Yet scores of species have lost that extraordinary ability, particularly on islands. On the small islands that lie halfway between Antarctica and continents like Australia, almost all the insects have done so. Flies walk, moths crawl. “Of course, Charles Darwin knew about this wing loss habit of […]

Scary insects for Halloween: the bloodthirsty calyptra

The Calyptra pseudobicolor Bänziger is an opportunistic feeder that has fed on the blood of agricultural animals, and even humans. Credit: United States Department of Agriculture Sometimes insects show signs of monster behavior. It’s nothing personal to us humans and let me assure you that this behavior has nothing to do with full moons or […]

Ogre-faced spiders catch insects out of the air using sound

Some spiders wait for prey to come and tickle their web. But the ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) uses its sense of hearing to take its web to the prey. Hanging upside down, the spider weaves a rectangular web between its legs. When an insect flies behind the dangling arachnid, the spider swings backward, casting the […]

The ur-Iris likely had purple flowers, pollinated by insects for nectar

IMAGE: Selected Iris species. (A) I. atropurpurea; (B) I. bismarckiana; (C) I. fulva; (D) I. historio; (E) I. loretti; (F) I. lutescens; (G) I. mesopotamica; (H) I. petrana; (I) I. pumila; (J)… view more  Credit: The authors The genus Iris of flowering plants — named after the Greek rainbow goddess because of the variation in flower […]