Beating the heat in the living wings of butterflies

A new study from Columbia Engineering and Harvard identified the critical physiological importance of suitable temperatures for butterfly wings to function properly, and discovered that the insects exquisitely regulate their wing temperatures through both structural and behavioral adaptations. Contrary to common belief that butterfly wings consist primarily of lifeless membranes, the new study demonstrated that they contain a network … Read more

Global study finds predators are most likely to be lost when habitats are converted for human use

A first of its kind, global study on the impacts of human land-use on different groups of animals has found that predators, especially small invertebrates like spiders and ladybirds, are the most likely to be lost when natural habitats are converted to agricultural land or towns and cities. The findings are published in the British … Read more

Climate warming affects European pollinator assemblages

Using the largest database of pollinating insects ever compiled from various sources, including the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), a mixed team of French researchers, notably from the Centre d’Écologie et des Sciences de la Conservation (MNHN – CNRS – SU) and European researchers, studied changes in the flight period of … Read more

Suction cups that don’t fall off

The aquatic larvae of the net-winged midge have the unique ability to move around at ease on rocks in torrential rivers using super-strong suction organs. Powerful modern imaging techniques have now revealed the structure of these organs in intricate detail, providing an insight into how they work so reliably. The findings, reported in the journal BMC … Read more

Bumblebees exposed to Chernobyl-levels of radiation consume more nectar

The study simulated Chernobyl-levels of radiation exposure in a laboratory to investigate the impacts it may be having on insects inhabiting the exclusion zone. Although it has been previously found that bumblebees are sensitive to radiation, few studies have investigated the effects on their fitness. The dose rates of radiation in which negative effects occur … Read more

Fire ants’ raft building skills react as fluid forces change

Fire ants build living rafts to survive floods and rainy seasons. Georgia Tech scientists are studying if a fire ant colony’s ability to respond to changes in their environment during a flood is an instinctual behavior and how fluid forces make them respond. Hungtang Ko and David Hu will present the science behind this insect behavior, focusing … Read more