Feeding bluebirds helps fend off parasites

If you feed the birds in your backyard, you may be doing more than just making sure they have a source of food: you may be helping baby birds give parasites the boot. New research published in the Journal of Applied Ecology from UConn assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Sarah Knutie shows that feeding bluebirds … Read more Feeding bluebirds helps fend off parasites

How do men and women store fat differently? Ask the fruit fly

When it comes to determining how women and men store fat differently, it turns out fruit flies may hold the key. People and fruit flies are astonishingly alike genetically. In fact, nearly 75 per cent of disease-causing genes in humans can be found in the fly in a similar form. In a new study, recently … Read more How do men and women store fat differently? Ask the fruit fly

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 Beating the heat in the living wings of butterflies

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

Bushfire crisis spells trouble for Aussie insects

Australia’s current bushfire crisis could wipe out some of our rarer insect species, according to a group of experts. Associate Professor Michael Braby from The Australian National University (ANU) says the bushfires will have a huge impact on our native insects, as well as the plants and animals that rely on them. “Insects are critical … Read more Bushfire crisis spells trouble for Aussie insects

UConn Study: Wing genes responsible for tiny treehopper’s extraordinary helmet

They sport some of the most impressive headgear in the insect world, yet they’re no bigger than a kernel of corn. They live all over the world, including in Storrs, mostly found in woods and gardens, but a select few have one of the best views of campus from their cozy mesh tents inside the … Read more UConn Study: Wing genes responsible for tiny treehopper’s extraordinary helmet

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 Climate warming affects European pollinator assemblages

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 Suction cups that don’t fall off

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 Bumblebees exposed to Chernobyl-levels of radiation consume more nectar

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 Fire ants’ raft building skills react as fluid forces change