Bees force plants to flower early by cutting holes in their leaves

By Alice Klein Hungry bumblebees can coax plants into flowering and making pollen up to a month earlier than usual by punching holes in their leaves. Bees normally come out of hibernation in early spring to feast on the pollen of newly blooming flowers. However, they sometimes emerge too early and find that plants areContinue reading “Bees force plants to flower early by cutting holes in their leaves”

Forest Fungi Ride Out Wildfires by Hiding Inside Plants

by Annie Greene After the Chimney Tops 2 Wildfire charred 11,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the North Carolina–Tennessee state line in November 2016, rangers closed affected trails to visitors. Mycologists Andy N. Miller and Karen Hughes and their teams were an exception. Toting hard hats and sample collection kits, theseContinue reading “Forest Fungi Ride Out Wildfires by Hiding Inside Plants”

Hitchhiking red-billed oxpeckers warn endangered rhinos when people are nearby

The black rhino was once the most populous rhino species on Earth, with an estimated 850,000 individuals roaming Africa. But poaching has devastated the species. The red-billed oxpecker serves as an alarm bell for black rhinos, signaling nearby danger. The birds often eat pests like ticks from the backs of rhinos and other mammals, includingContinue reading “Hitchhiking red-billed oxpeckers warn endangered rhinos when people are nearby”

20 minutes in nature a day is your ticket to feeling better

Nature soothes our stressed-out souls. We instinctively know nature is the best prescription, but research is revealing how little time we need to set aside to reap the benefits. In one study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tried to identify the most effective “dose” of nature within the context of normal dailyContinue reading “20 minutes in nature a day is your ticket to feeling better”

Ecuadorian Cactus Absorbs Ultrasound, Enticing Bats to Flowers

by EMILY MAKOWSKI Plants pollinated by nectar-drinking bats often have flowers that reflect ultrasonic waves, making it easier for the animals to locate flowers through echolocation. But one cactus does the opposite—it absorbs more ultrasound in the area surrounding its flowers, making them stand out against a “quieter” background, according to a preprint published onContinue reading “Ecuadorian Cactus Absorbs Ultrasound, Enticing Bats to Flowers”

Bounding and Galloping crocodiles

Even on land, crocodiles are no fish out of water. While these reptiles might look lazy and slow sunning on the bank, they can easily pick up speed when necessary, and a scary number can gallop or bound like a horse or a dog. Bounding is when an animal’s forelimbs hit the ground at theContinue reading “Bounding and Galloping crocodiles”

Predators may make prey get smart and grow more brain cells

By Chelsea Whyte Sometimes stress can be good for a fish. When there are more predators around, killifish in Trinidad grow more brain cells than those that face no predators, and they do so even into adulthood. “I was surprised to find this because in previous studies, we found that predators inhibit the production ofContinue reading “Predators may make prey get smart and grow more brain cells”

Pig-Monkey Hybrid Engineered in China

This piglet had some cells from a monkey but died within a week of birth Tang Hai By Michael Le Page Pig-primate chimeras have been born live for the first time but died within a week. The two piglets, created by a team in China, looked normal although a small proportion of their cells wereContinue reading “Pig-Monkey Hybrid Engineered in China”

This Brainless, Single-Celled Blob Can Make Complex ‘Decisions’

S. roeselii is shown here contracting down to where it’s holding onto a surface. By Yasemin Saplakoglu Tiny, brainless blobs might be able to make decisions: A single-celled organism can “change its mind” to avoid going near an irritating substance, according to new findings. Over a century ago, American zoologist Herbert Spencer Jennings conducted anContinue reading “This Brainless, Single-Celled Blob Can Make Complex ‘Decisions’”

Fascinating Study Finds That Stressed Out Baby Worms Tend to Live Longer

by David Nield Scientists researching a key aspect of biochemistry in living creatures have been taking a very close look at the tiny Caenorhabditis elegans roundworm. Their latest results show that when these nematodes get put under more biochemical stress early in their lives, they somehow tend to live longer. This type of stress, calledContinue reading “Fascinating Study Finds That Stressed Out Baby Worms Tend to Live Longer”